By MCN Editor

Chicago Underground Sets Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Celebration


Still Alive at 25: Special Events, Special Screenings, Art Exhibits and Celebrity Guests of Honor Kick off the 25th Anniversary Celebration of the Longest Running Underground Film Festival in the World.

In 1994 a gallon of gas was $1.09, a loaf of bread was $1.39 and a movie ticket cost $4.08. But that is not all… Michael Jordan came out of retirement, Forrest Gump was the top grossing film of the year, Justin Bieber was born, Kurt Cobain was found dead in his apartment and the Chicago Underground Film Festival (CUFF) was created by co-founders Bryan Wendorf and Jay Bliznick. Twenty-five years later, CUFF will be hosting a year-long celebration of special events and other festivities to celebrate its 25th Anniversary, and today is announcing its call for submissions for filmmakers who would like to the opportunity to be a part of this milestone.

“It’s hard to believe 25 years have passed since Jay and I founded CUFF,’ said Bryan Wendorf, CUFF Artistic Director and Festival Programmer. “We are really excited about this year’s festivities that will be taking place in honor of the 25th Anniversary. There will be many surprises and unique, celebratory events – we look forward to having a lot of fun,” he said.

Filmmakers who miss the Earlybird deadline have a chance to make the Regular deadline on December 1, 2017 and the Final deadline on January 6, 2018. The entry fees increase with each deadline so all filmmakers are urged to submit entries as soon as possible.

  • ●  Earlybird Deadline: Oct. 2, 2017 – Entry Fee: Features $35 (Students $25); Shorts $30 (Students $20)
  • ●  Regular Deadline: Dec. 1, 2017– Entry Fee: Features $45 (Students $35); Shorts $35 (Student $25)
  • ●  Final Deadline: Jan. 5, 2018 – Entry Fee: Features $55 (Students $45); Shorts $40 (Student $30)This year CUFF will host special screenings of vintage CUFF films, host Q & A sessions with a celebrity guests of honor, sponsor a festival art exhibit, unveil 25 special moments from CUFF and announce surprise media spectacles and a bevy of special events. Filmmakers from each of the past 25 years are expected to attend and there will be a special unveiling of the 25th Anniversary CUFF poster art by renowned artist Amy Davis. Amy, the wife, lead actress and muse of legendary underground filmmaker Jon Moritsugu, has created many ads and packaging for HARD CANDY and URBAN DECAY as well as NINE WEST. Her editorials have run from SEVENTEEN to PAPER, mainstream to avant garde. Ten years ago she created a streetwear collaboration with Cosmic of the Emily the Strange line. For more about Amy visit

    For more information about CUFF and submitting entries, please visit .

    Now in its twenty-fifth year, the Chicago Underground Film Festival, presented by IFP Chicago, is dedicated to the work of film and video makers with defiantly independent visions. Widely recognized as a world-class event, the festival showcases the best in new American and international cinema and provides the movie-loving public with access to some of the most critically acclaimed filmmakers and emerging talent from around the world. Our mission is to promote films and videos that dissent radically in form, technique, or content from the “indie” mainstream and to present adventurous works that challenge and transcend commercial and audience expectations. To learn more about the festival visit , on Facebook at ChicagoUndergroundFilmFestival and Twitter @CUFF_Chicago

    Founded in 1987, IFP/Chicago is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization committed to the idea that independent film is an important art form and a powerful voice in our society. We provide community, education, professional development and exhibition opportunities for independent filmmakers, industry professionals and independent film enthusiasts. This program is funded in part by the Illinois Arts Council.

    Visit Find IFP Chicago on Facebook and Twitter.

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“Ten years ago at Telluride, I said on a panel that theatrical distribution was dying. It seemed obvious to me. I was surprised how many in the audience violently objected: ‘People will always want to go to the movies!’ That’s true, but it’s also true that theatrical cinema as we once knew it has died. Theatrical cinema is now Event Cinema, just as theatrical plays and musical performances are Events. No one just goes to a movie. It’s a planned occasion. Four types of Event Cinema remain.
1. Spectacle (IMAX-style blockbusters)
2. Family (cartoon like features)
3. Horror (teen-driven), and
4. Film Club (formerly arthouse but now anything serious).

There are isolated pockets like black cinema, romcom, girl’s-night-out, seniors, teen gross-outs, but it’s primarily those four. Everything else is TV. Now I have to go back to episode five of ‘Looming Tower.'”
~ Paul Schrader

“Because of my relative candor on Twitter regarding why I quit my day job, my DMs have overflowed with similar stories from colleagues around the globe. These peeks behind the curtains of film festivals, venues, distributors and funding bodies weren’t pretty. Certain dismal patterns recurred (and resonated): Boards who don’t engage with or even understand their organization’s artistic mission and are insensitive to the diverse neighborhood in which their organization’s venue is located; incompetent founders and/or presidents who create only obstacles, never solutions; unduly empowered, Trumpian bean counters who chip away at the taste and experiences that make organizations’ cultural offerings special; expensive PR teams that don’t bring to the table a bare-minimum familiarity with the rich subcultural art form they’re half-heartedly peddling as “product”; nonprofit arts organizations for whom art now ranks as a distant-second goal behind profit.”
~ Eric Allen Hatch