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Fall 2011 Screenings at Chicago Filmmakers

September 28, 2011 | By | Add a Comment

Chicago Filmmakers | Our fall films are full of colorful characters: misanthropes (Zielinski), serial killers (Cold Fish), and true romantics (Mad Love: Great Shorts 2011). Real life conspiracies draw deep shadows on recent US history (Cointelpro 101), and old technologies are dusted off by a new generation for a sweet comeback (Chicago 8: Small Gauge Film Festival). Local filmmakers will share the glories of their mediums: the ghost images of video (Artifacts and Videoscapes by Jake Barningham) and the warmth of 16mm film (Eleanore & the Timekeeper, a documentary by Danièle Wilmouth). And finally Reeling: the Chicago Lesbian & Gay International Film Festival celebrates 30 years of providing the biggest splash of the season for independent lesbian and gay film from around the world. You can almost smell the burning leaves from here.


-Friday, October 7-

COINTELPRO 101 | 8pm

Co-presented by the National Lawyer’s Guild
Claude Marks, Director of the Freedom Archives In Person!

Produced by The Freedom Archives in San Francisco, Cointelpro 101 is a searing introduction to the notorious U.S. counterinsurgency program responsible for repressing popular political movements from the 1950s through the 1970s. Interviews with former activists from the Black Panthers, Chicano liberation, and American Indian movements, plus former FBI officials themselves describe the systematic attacks mounted against progressive movements by local, state and federal agencies. Amazing historical footage and parallels to the current war on terror make this an incredibly urgent civics lesson. (2010, 58 min.) Claude Marks, Director of the Freedom Archives, will discuss the film after the screening.
-Friday, October 14-


Chicago’s Own Filmmaker in Person!

Heavily influenced by the avant-garde (Stan Brakhage and Chris Welsby most specifically) Jake Barningham envisions video as a medium struggling to exist. Barningham’s work is concerned first and foremost with the textures, rhythms and colors possible in video. Largely using re-appropriated footage from amateur meteorologists across the country, the videos in this program re-envision landscapes not as majestic natural sculptures but as things, like video, that are struggling to exist: colors and shapes snap, gesticulate and then dissolve in a membrane of pixels. Trees and clouds shift restlessly against ill-defined spaces and tremble at the hand of invisible forces. Appropriately, Barmingham compares working in video to “sculpting with smoke.” His work has been shown at The Onion City Film Festival, as well as the Wisconsin International, Arkansas Underground, and Milwaukee Underground Film Festivals. Many of the 18 shorts featured in this program are Chicago premieres. (2011, 75 min.)
-October 21 – 23-


Chicago Filmmakers is pleased to host the first annual Chicago 8 Festival, dedicated to exhibiting works by small gauge filmmakers as they were intended to be seen: on film.

Opening night will take place at Cinema Borealis (1550 N. Milwaukee Ave.) and the remaining shows will take place at Chicago Filmmakers. The festival will feature group shows, retrospectives, and commissioned work by local and international filmmakers. Featured artists include Jaap Pieters, Janis Crystal Lipzin, Rick Bahto, Steve Polta, Brian Frye, Julie Murray, and Chris Kennedy, among many others. The program will close with Bride of Super 8, where 20 accomplished local filmmakers have been invited to shoot a roll specifically for the festival. The full schedule will be announced in early October. For more information, visit

-Friday, October 28-


“With his impulse to sensationalize, Japanese filmmaker Sion Sono (Love Exposure) broadcasts the internal minutiae of his characters as something bolder, transforming Cold Fish from an exploration of jealousy, desire, pride, ego, and personal disappointment into a perversely comic Grand Guignol. The owner of a struggling fish store is unexpectedly taken under the wing of a much more successful proprietor and soon learns that shopkeeper’s shady techniques in business, life, love, and murder. The film’s gory high-body-count climax is by turns terrifying and sickening, queasily funny, and, finally, impishly insolent. As the maniacal killer, the actor Denden brings a loopy charisma and offbeat intensity, scary and goofy at the same time. His unlikely student, Mitsuru Fukikoshi, remains shy and ambivalent, a helpless bystander in his own life even as his hands become increasingly bloody.” – Mark Olsen, Village Voice (2010, 144 min., Japanese with English subtitles)


November 3 – 12

REELING: The 30th Chicago Lesbian & Gay International Film Festival

This year Reeling celebrates 30 years of bringing the best LGBT independent film from around the world to Chicago. This year’s festival will be less about looking back than it is about moving forward with new films that continue to push boundaries and illuminate the many groups that comprise the queer community. Festival venues include The Music Box Theatre, Landmark’s Century Centre Cinema, Instituto Cervantes, The Portage Theater, Block Cinema, and Chicago Filmmakers. The full schedule will be announced in early October.
-Friday, November 18-


Chicago’s Own Director In Person!

The complexities of a mother’s sacrifice are discovered when Eleanore, at age 91, moves her developmentally disabled son Ronnie into a group home, after 64 years of devoted companionship and daily ritual in their modest Pennsylvania farmhouse. Eleanore & the Timekeeper chronicles the lives of Eleanore and Ronnie Hickman, the Director’s grandmother and uncle. Shot on 16mm, the film is a quiet love story between a mother and son, which records the inevitable transformation in their relationship, and shifting definitions of home over a seven-year span. (Daniele Wilmouth, 2010, 76 min.)


-Friday, December 2-


“Both a profile and a provocation, Zielinski is also a dream match of style and subject, blending the low-budget, crazy-quilt filmmaking of Chase Thompson and Ryan Walker with conspiracy-theorist extraordinaire John M. Zielinski, whose portrait seems perfectly framed by the pic’s fractured assembly. Thompson and Walker take no clear stand on Zielinski’s allegations of CIA-sanctioned drug running and pedophilia, resulting in the disappearances of hundreds of thousands of children in the United States yearly. The clear suggestion is that the door to Zielinski Land is off its hinges. But there’s more to Zielinski than the eerie calm with which he delivers pronouncements of unspeakable horror. At one time, he was a journalist and world-class photographer whose pictures appeared in books, Life Magazine and the New York Times. No one attempts any amateur psychoanalysis of the subject, but Zielinski is not a raving lunatic. At the same time, he has no evident proof for anything he claims. The result is a movie about cognitive dissonance, and it’s contagious.” – John Anderson, Variety (2011, 66 min.)

Also Showing: The D Train – Jay Rosenblatt (2011, 5 min.) An elderly commuter watches life flash before his eyes.

-Friday, December 9-


Relationships are tough. The couples in these shorts are facing the realities of attachment, and finding it decidedly less than bliss. As 2011 comes to a close, Chicago Filmmakers presents a program about love, heartbreak, ennui, jealousy, stasis, and sabotage – a near perfect sample of modern romance. Many of the films were drawn from major festivals over the last year, including Sundance, SXSW, Palm Springs, Aspen, and Tribeca.

Program to include:

After You Left – Jef Taylor (2010, 21 min.) A man re-evaluates his life after a breakup.

Cheat – Joe Derosa (2011, 15 min.) A husband’s elaborate plot for a tryst goes awry.

Ex-Sex – Michael Mohan, (2011, 9 min.) Is this ever a good idea?

Henley – Craig Macneil (2011, 11 min.) A young boy at a rural motel waits for guests.

Howling At The Moon – Jason Tippet and Elizabeth Mims (2011, 8 min.) Before a concert, Matt takes his friends on a detour to his grandparents’ house.

We’re Leaving – Zachary Treitz (2010, 13 min.) Evicted from their mobile home, a couple decides the fate of their pet alligator.
-Friday, December 16-



It’s that time again! Our popular Open Screenings feature whatever walks in the door – it could be anything: insane comedies, touching dramas, high-energy music videos, odd animation, hot topic documentaries, neighborhood portraits, or who knows what.  Join us to showcase your work or just come to watch. Maximum length per person is 20 minutes, and we will screen at least one work from everyone who brings something up to that time length. Accepted formats: 16mm, BetaSP, Mini-DV, DVD, and VHS. Nothing X-rated-sorry!

Unless otherwise indicated, admission is $8 suggested donation.


For more information about the screenings or to schedule previews, contact Todd Lillethun at Chicago Filmmakers: email, phone 773-293-1447.

5243 N. Clark St. in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood, accessible by CTA bus routes 22 Clark, 92 Foster, 50 Damen (at Ashland) and six blocks west of the Berwyn Red Line stop.

About Chicago Filmmakers

Chicago Filmmakers is a not-for-profit media arts organization that has been offering film production classes, filmmaker services and screenings to the public since 1973. Our mission is to provide an opportunity for artists and audiences to experience filmmaking outside the mainstream marketplace.


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