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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“TIFF doesn’t make attendance numbers for its Lightbox screenings publicly available, so it’s difficult to gauge exactly how many filmgoers the Lightbox is attracting (or how much money it’s bringing in). But the King Street West venue hasn’t become a significant draw for film enthusiasts. The Lightbox’s attendance has plunged – 49,000 fewer visitors last year, a drop of 27 per cent, according to figures recently reported in the Toronto Star. Its gallery space – designed to showcase the visions of cinema’s most iconic filmmakers – saw most of its exhibitions staff quietly axed this past fall. And its marketing barely escapes the Lightbox’s walls. Unless you are a TIFF member or one of the city’s most avid filmgoers, you could walk by the Lightbox and remain blissfully unaware of a single thing that goes on inside. TIFF “still has a world-class brand,” said Barry Avrich, a filmmaker and former board member, “but it’s going to take some fresh vision from retail, consumer programming and marketing experts, given how the lines have become intensely blurred when it comes to how people watch film. They will have to experiment with programming to find the right blend of function and relevance.”
~ Globe & Mail Epic On State of Toronto Int’l (paywalled)

“I’m 87 years old… I only eat so I can smoke and stay alive… The only fear I have is how long consciousness is gonna hang on after my body goes. I just hope there’s nothing. Like there was before I was born. I’m not really into religion, they’re all macrocosms of the ego. When man began to think he was a separate person with a separate soul, it created a violent situation.

“The void, the concept of nothingness, is terrifying to most people on the planet. And I get anxiety attacks myself. I know the fear of that void. You have to learn to die before you die. You give up, surrender to the void, to nothingness.

“Anybody else you’ve interviewed bring these things up? Hang on, I gotta take this call… Hey, brother. That’s great, man. Yeah, I’m being interviewed… We’re talking about nothing. I’ve got him well-steeped in nothing right now. He’s stopped asking questions.”
~ Harry Dean Stanton