The 21st annual Chicago Underground Film Festival is returning to Logan Theatre (@TheLoganTheatre, 2646 N. Milwaukee Ave.) April 2 to April 6. The late Roger Ebert once wrote, “What you get for your money [at the CUFF] is not just admission to the films but admission to a subculture,” and this year’s set is expected to follow suit.
CUFF has become one of the largest underground film festivals in the country. Viewers can screen 11 films and 10 series of shorts. Selections include off-the-radar independent feature films, documentaries and experimental films. The 2014 festival program kicks off with the film “What I Love About Concrete” and is set to close with “American Arab.”
CUFF films will be judged by a small team of judges: Brian Chankin, owner of Odd Obsession Movies; Alison Cuddy, arts and culture reporter at WBEZ 91.5 FM Chicago Public Media; Mike Everleth, an editor for the American Film Institute’s Online Catalog of Feature Films; and Therese Grisham, who teaches cinema studies and humanities at Oakton Community College following a Fulbright Fellowship. Their selections are said to be an eclectic mix of films and shorts ranging from the low-brow to the avant garde.
Each day of the festival ends with neighborhood parties geared to get movie goers dancing after sitting in the theater. The opening night party will be hosted by Chances Dances, a Chicago queer community organization, at the Hairpin Arts Center (2800 N. Milwaukee Ave.) a few blocks from the theater. The festival parties swirl with booze, bands and filmmakers and include the Logan Square community. All parties are held in Logan Square, bouncing around popular neighborhood haunts such as the Owl (2521 N Milwaukee Ave.), Township (@yourtownship, 2200 N. California Ave.) and the Burlington (@burlingtonbar, 3425 W. Fullerton Ave.). The Hairpin Arts Center also is set to host the closing ceremony.
You can purchase tickets to the films at Logan Theatre or through Ticketfly. Each screening is set to cost $8, but festival passes are available for $60.
Editor’s note: Films were selected by festival programmers Bryan Wendorf and Josh Mabe with the help of a 10-person committee.