I drove in from Michigan to Chicago with pouring rain, construction, traffic jams, and pickups with bad exhausts and Ted Nugent bumper stickers. This normally wouldn’t bother me except that it was my first time going to Chicago alone and I’m well known for being the guy snoring in the backseat. The only thing keeping me going (besides the No-Doz and Jolt) was my anticipation for the Chicago Underground Film Festival.
Not knowing what to expect, I arrived at the Biograph Theatre and thought I had stumbled into an Elvis Costello Look-A-Like Competition. All the young men had the wet black hair look, the black framed glasses, and the interesting apparel. The young ladies looked like crosses of Rose McGowan and Linda McCartney circa 1966. But the look was only skin deep, everybody was talking their own talk and having a great time chatting on what they wanted to see and who they know. Past the front gates and the look a likes and into the lobby I found the filmmakers, the press, and most importantly, the open bar. I was home.
I met up with Bryan Wendorf, the festival’s director, and he was very excited to see the return of Film Threat to the festival. “Without the support of Film Threat in the early years, we probably wouldn’t be here today.” Truth be told, once Bryan had introduced me to some of the featured filmmakers, there was less brown-nosing than expected and more inquiries about our editor-in-chief. “Who really is Chris Gore? I hear there are people that want him dead.” I did my best to tell more absurd lies about him; his raging homosexuality, his hatred of children, and how he loves to lick bacon grease off the bare asses of illegal immigrants.
The opening party was a held at the Elbo Room (if you’re ever in Chicago and you like rockin’ music, this is the place) and I had a chance to get to know the filmmakers more. Still no ass kissing, just good talks about the Heavy Metal movie and how Ivan Reitman sold out. I’d have pictures, but my damn Flashpath software isn’t kicking in (fucking technology). So far I think the hot bar babe I met last night has said it best, “This is an important festival. There really isn’t enough out there supporting this kind of talent and this kind of medium. Where else are we going to see films like these? I am a huge supporter in Cuff and it’s just going to get bigger year after year. Chicago needs this festival and we need it. ” Drunk, but well said.
Check out FILMTHREAT.com’s FILM FESTIVAL ARCHIVES for more fest news!
Posted on August 21, 2001 in Festivals by Kevin Park
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