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18th Annual Chicago Underground Film Festival 6/2-6/9

June 2, 2011 | By | Add a Comment

The 18th Chicago Underground Film Festival
June 2-9th, 2011

TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE at the Gene Siskel Film Center Box Office- 164 N. State St. and online through Ticketmaster or find the link through the GSFC website.

2011 poster designed by Erin Page

Founded in 1993, The Chicago Underground Film Festival (CUFF) is a year-round organization dedicated to the work of film and video makers with defiantly independent visions. Unlike many other “independent” film events CUFF’s goal is not to imitate old guard, market-driven events such as Sundance but instead to focus on the artistc, aesthetic and fun side of independent filmmaking. CUFF promotes works that dissent radically in form, content and technique from both the tired conventions of Hollywood and the increasingly stagnant IndieWood mainstream.

This year’s festival at the Gene Siskel Film Center will offer a complementary mix of independent features, shorts, documentaries and experimental films augmented by nightly parties and concerts. Their programming ranges from the lowbrow entertainment of John Waters, Doris Wishman and Coffin Joe to fine art films/videos of the current avant-garde.

Much more than film festival, CUFF has gained a reputation as one of Chicago’s most anticipated cross-cultural events of the summer. Every day of screening is followed by a great night of parties, events and concerts. Live music events have always been an important part of the festival as well, with past performances by the Demolition Doll Rods, Califone, Big Chief, Bobby Conn, The Wesley Willis Fiasco, Maureen Tucker, Ken Vandermark, The Gaza Stripper and DJs Terre Thaemlitz and Tommy Sunshine to name just a few.


The Chicago Underground Film Festival was founded in 1993 by Jay Bliznick, a Columbia College film student who was fed up with the exclusivity of the existing film festival circuit. He enlisted partner Bryan Wendorf to work with him and create a festival for the kind of films they wanted to see, primarily films that the established film festival circuit – increasingly dominated by distributor product – refused to show. Their first three-day event was an undeniable success with both audiences and attending filmmakers, receiving much positive press coverage. Now in its 17th year, festival attendance and press coverage continue to grow at an exponential rate, making CUFF a major stop on the international festival circuit.

When the festival was established, most film festivals catered to an older, elitist crowd. The festival was founded to open up the film festival experience to a younger, hipper audience of film-lovers and filmmakers. They have grown into one of Chicago’s major film events, a destination of choice for cutting-edge filmmakers and established the festival as an important date in Chicago’s cultural scene.


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