Twenty features and more than 130 shorts will fill the 12th annual Chicago Underground Film Festival beginning Thursday, August 18 at the Music Box Theatre through August 25. Opening the event is the Midwest debut of Steve Balderson's "Firecracker," set against the "stark beauty" of the Middle West. Starring Mike Patton (Faith No More) and Oscar-nominee Karen Black, the film is about a boy who is driven from his abusive family and travels with a sideshow carnival and later encounters a woman, who together, confronts their mutual darkness.
CUFF will screen three world premiere films, including doc "Late Breaking News" by Jon Knoll about Chicago news reporter Ken Herzlich and his associates as well as "Grandpa" by Giuseppe Andrews ("Independence Day," "Cabin Fever"). Emir Eralp's "The Whole World is Watching" chronicles the story of protesters at last year's Republican National Convention and their interaction with the media.
U.S. premiere "Sigma" by Jesse Heffring is described as a "dazzling cyberpunk techno-thriller that begins as a simple abduction-bribery scenario but soon reveals a larger conspiracy involving nanotechnology and, quite possibly, the end of the human race." Sam Douglas and Paul Lovelace's American debut film, "Bound to Lose," meanwhile focuses on the "bad boys of folk," the Holy Modal Rounders as they struggle to play their music and, hopefully, make it to their 40th anniversary show.
Midwestern debuts include "Code 33" by David Belinson, Michael Galinsky, Suki Hawley and Zachary M. Werner. The doc follows two Cuban-American detectives in their quest for the notorious Miami serial rapist in 2003. Also a Midwest debut is Canaan Brumley's insider look at the boot camp rituals of Marines in "Ears, Open. Eyeballs, Click," which screened at the Los Angeles Film Festival in June.
First-time director John Roecker's "Live Freaky! Die Freaky!" will close the festival, making its Midwest debut. The film is described as an "ultra-twisted, two-years-in-the-making, pornographic, stop-motion animation musical comedy retelling of the Manson crimes" with commentary by a host of punk rock personalities such as Billy Joe Armstrong (Green Day) who plays Charles Manson.
[ For the full line up, please visit the festival website.]