MINNEAPOLIS — Now in it’s 7th year, the Minneapolis Underground Film Festival has announced it’s official program which includes everything from local independent short films to internationally recognized documentaries. This year there’s something for everyone to enjoy at independent cinema’s most provocative festival. Check our website for the online program and to view trailers.
Wednesday, Oct, 1,
1 p.m., Short Films
An opening selection of short films the whole family can enjoy. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you will leave inspired.
• Tinker — Director: Lou Ward * USA * 4 min. A story of a boy who’s passionate and strong sense of desire drives him to dedicate his life to his grandfather’s legacy.
• Binary, Director: Andre Silva * USA * 1 min, A digital brain attempts to understand the two primal opposites from a survey of human opinion.
• Darwin’s Theory, Director: Michelle Kelly * USA * 2 min. Three nugget creatures have to resort to their ability to change colors in order to avoid a large knuckle-dragging predator; the only problem is that one nugget is a little… unique.
• Amygdala, Director: Jeannette Louie * USA * 10 min. ‘Amygdala’, the experimental video, combines the lyrical tradition of the fairy tale with the vernacular nature of presenting scientific fact to illustrate how the perception of fear operates.
• Mr. Chavan, Director: Edward Shieh * USA * 6 min. A young dedicated home-care aide to an isolated elder man is burdened with an unexpected and lonely responsibility.
• Poupée, Director: Timo von Gunten * Switzerland * 10 min. ‘Doll’ is an artistic short film about the life of a doll in the display window in Paris. The doll tries to escape from its life behind the window of fashion into the world where it hopes to find more recognition. But in fact, the doll is just a projection of a person in real life.
• Kibuki: Spirits in Zanzibar, Director: Elizabeth Brooks * Tanzania * 24 min. Kibuki: spirits in Zanzibar is a short documentary that explores trance-based spirit possession and medicinal healing practices through a cross-cultural lens.
2:15 p.m. – MN Made with Q&A. An opening selection of local short films that will leave you asking for more.
• Girl Who Lives In A Tree, Director: Simone LeClaire * MN * 18 min. A cynical reporter, William Chatsworth, covers a story about a girl who has been living in a tree for seventeen months. Instead, he finds himself helping her on a surreal treasure hunt that just might change the way he thinks about truth, reality, and life itself.
• By Other Means, Director: Katrina Filek * MN * 7 min. Lily endeavors to save a young boy in a war-torn world; her non violent convictions threaten to make her the last of a dying breed.
• Tall & Little, Director: Joseph Knox-Carr * MN * 21 min. Tall & Little is the lighthearted story of two daddies meandering through an apocalyptic wasteland to find the world’s last radio station.
• Wild Card, Director: Nick Bain * MN * 7 min. Ethan, a young hipster can’t get over his ex-boyfriend and so his friend convinces him to join a blind dating service. He begrudgingly agrees and ends up going on a series of the worst dates of all time.
• Joy Kevin, Director: Caleb Johnson * USA * 62 min. A dancer (Tallie Medel, ‘The Unspeakable Act’) and her struggling-comedian husband find co-habitation at odds with their art. JOY KEVIN is the often funny and sometimes dark exploration of whether true love is more likely to make a house into a home or a bonfire.
• 5 p.m.
• Tiki War with Q&A, Director: John Ervin * MN * 50 min. “Mad Men” meets “Breaking Bad” in this feature film set in a tiki bar in 1961 Chicago. Over one busy, bloody hour, three nightclub owners and two luckless entertainers battle over honor, territory, heroin and Cuba’s most potent rum, shot on location at Red Dragon. Incoming President John F. Kennedy, Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley Sr, Fidel Castro, Ed Sullivan, Liberace and Gidget get name-checked amid period costumes, sets and jazz music.
• A Method with Q&A, Director: Paul Von Stoetzel * MN * 62 min. A Method follows Nina, a professional documentarian, and her crew as they chronicle the risky acting process of Andrea in her first major film role as she is encouraged to delve deeper into the dark reality of her character and the line between what is real and what is performance is dangerously blurred.
Short films screen before “A Method”:
• Here’s to Old Friends, Director: Paul Von Stoetzel * Producer: Sean Skinner * MN * 7 min. A comedic short film about old friends who are caught in a difficult decision whether they are going to screw over another sweet, old friend or if they’re . . . well, yeah.
• Pet Peeve, Director: Paul Von Stoetzel * MN * 7 min. A short horror/comedy film focusing on a filmmakers aggravation with film contests and their constraints to subject matter.
• Science, Sex & The Ladies with Q&A, Directors: Trisha Borowicz, Charles Borowicz, Barnaby Aaron * USA * 98 min. A frank, irreverent documentary with a simple yet far reaching argument about the female orgasm. Through witty looks at anatomy, history, and culture, the film discusses how we got this way and why we need to change. Science, Sex, and the Ladies is a visual essay about the real inequality between the sex lives of men and women.
Thursday, Oct. 2
• Kept, Director: Maki Mizui * Japan * 71 min. A dark drama about a young woman, who is abducted. Based on the life experiences of first-time director Maki Mizui, who got her start working behind-the-scenes for directors like Sion Sono and Yoshihiro Nishimura.
• Freeload, Director: Daniel T. Skaggs * USA * 66 min. Director Daniel Skaggs spent a year and a half documenting the people riding America’s freight trains in the 21st century. What he brings to the screen is FREELOAD, a story of adventure, class disparity and the survival of youth.
• Tamara W, Director: Marko Vuorinen * Finland/USA * 53 min. Tamara W. is an honest, stripped-down look into the world of voguing, escort business, ecstasy addiction, sexual abuse, and being a transgender girl. The documentary film is a compassionate portrait of Tamara Williams, a 23-year-old Bronx girl with fire in her heart, and too much life experience on her shoulders.
• Short film screens before Tamara W: Trans Lives Matter! Justice for Islan Nettles!, Director: Seyi Adebanjo * USA * 6 min. A powerful and intensely moving document of a community vigil for Islan Nettles a transgender Womyn of Color, concerning her spirit and life. Islan’s murder was a hate crime.
• MN Connection with Q&A. A delightful selection of short films made by Minnesota born filmmakers who currently live outside the state.
• No One Told Us, Director: Troy Deutsch * USA * 18 min. A delivery boy brings food to a lonely actress’ apartment and she pulls him inside. They barricade themselves in, eating cheap Chinese, and falling in love, as the world literally falls down around them.
• Sunfish Lake, Andy Hopper * USA * 20 min. A slice of post-apocalyptic life about a man who, after discovering an abandoned house, meets a mysterious stranger who forces him to confront his past and face the unknown territory that is his future.
• …And A Bag of Chips, Director: Sabyn Mayfield * USA * 24 min . “…and a bag of chips!” follows Abigail, a recovering addict, who finds herself back in her childhood home after a stint in rehab. With the help of family and friends, Abigail begins her journey to heal from wounds past and present, and learns that healing begins from the inside out, not the outside in.
• Let Be, Director: Matt Boatright-Simon * USA * 16 min. Dying is scary. It’s lonely. It’s terrible. But what if it weren’t? What if it were… beautiful.
• Money Shot, Director: Jackie! Zhou * USA * 10 min. In 1993, a high school boy pursues his lifelong dream of creating a pornographic film in spite of AV Club opposition.
• NaS: Time is Illmatic, Director: One9 * USA * 78 min. Time Is Illmatic is a feature length documentary film that delves deep into the making of Nas’ 1994 debut album, Illmatic, and the social conditions that influenced its creation.
• Music Video screens before NaS: Time is Illmatic: Don Dishes
• Butter and Toast, Director: John Cockrill * USA * 3 min. An experimental music video for Seattle hip-hop artist, Don Dishes exploring analog and digital technologies.
• Late Night Short Films. A selection of late night shorts for adults, with cult films, experimental, spaghetti westerns, gore and horror.
• The Brain Hack, Director: Joseph White * UK * 19 min. A metaphysical thriller. Two film students create a short-cut to induce hallucinogenic visions of God, but soon find themselves hunted by a deadly religious sect.
• Home Invasion, Director: Trevor Smith * Australia * 12 min. Two hardened criminals from Eastern Europe, execute a terrifying armed robbery on a suburban family home. An intense and claustrophobic drama about aggravated burglary on an occupied residence.
• Curio Shop: A Post Apocalyptic Acid Western, Director: Eric S. Anderson * DP: David Stump A.S.C * USA * 18 min. What starts as a rather whimsical and Mad Hatter-esque story about a watch maker who has no concept of time, slowly grows darker and more disturbing with each scene, descending through the looking glass to a place where characters transform and harden.
• The Lost Boy, Director: John McSween * USA * 20 min. A father takes his family on vacation in the woods where they stumble into an ancient ritual for eternal youth.
• True Will, Director: Jim Hickcox * USA * 9 min. Several twenty-somethings head out into the woods to drink, smoke, and make out. What they don’t realize is that one of them is ready to push them all as far as it takes to discover their true will.
• Screw, Director: Angus Ware * Australia * 8 min. A young man, determined to recreate a catalog of the perfect apartment, turns to prostitution for the cash. But there’s more to the photo than he knows. What would you do for the perfect apartment?
• Heels, Director: Jeremy Jantz * USA * 13 min. Theo, a shoe repairman, has a new customer – stripper Felicia. Obsessed with her cherry red pumps, Theo steals the shoes, and strangles Felicia. In no time, Theo moves on to a new target…
• Looking Seeing Window, Director: Ryan Betschart * USA * 3 min. Music video for American Studio artist Blood & Thunder. A lo-fi pop song is met with video-graphic images as a glitch world is created through a propelling sense of space-time.
• The Silent Movie, Director Slawomir J Milewski * Poland/UK * 2 min., 78 seconds of noiseless journey.
Friday, Oct. 3
• Mad Marc Rude: Blood, Ink & Needles, Director: Carl H. Schneider * USA * 104 min. Primarily known for the artwork he did for bands like; The Misfits, Battalion Of Saints, and Tex and the Horseheads, etc. or from doing fanzines, shows, managing bands, acting in television and film. People have always talked about him passionately, he was either one of the greatest people alive or he was the biggest asshole they’d ever met, there was never an in-between.
• March of The Gods. Director: Raffaele Mosca * Botswana/UK/Italy * 87 min. March of the Gods: Botswana Metal heads is a documentary on Botswana’s heavy metal scene and the struggle of a local band called Wrust. The vibrant local music scene brings together bands, cowboys and bikers in an emerging subculture struggling to find its place into society.
Beck DeRobertis Presents:
Super Freak: Short Films starring Beck DeRobertis
Various Directors * USA * 75 min * MN. A “magical” selection of short films starring MPLS cult hero Beck DeRobertis, the liquor store clerk, comedian, and “weirdo legend” (-NoBudge.com) behind hits like Wingman, Red Lobster, and Bring Moss Back. Includes the local premiere of Stephen Gurewitz’ Life In Between, co-starring Alex Karpovsky.
• Dysfunction, Family Style with Q&A. A great selection of short films that deal with dark family issues, in meaning and sometimes, funny ways. Coming of age stories, family tragedy and prodigal children coming back home.
• Ulla, Director: Colin Garcia * USA * 7 min. A young widow falls prey to relentless torment from a wraith she encounters deep in the forest.
• Excess Baggage, Director: Chantal Massuh-Fox * USA * 26 min. Rhen, an adopted teen misfit, lives in a small town trailer park community with her crazy adopted family. Alongside her confused brother Ned, they struggle with the daily hardships and hurdles of being social outcasts.
• Princess & Grace, Director: Tyler Wirtanen * Producer: Katherine Clark * USA * 10 min. A film about choice and consideration. All the pieces of one story, told through the eyes of various characters, stir up various feelings from love and pure happiness, to that of despair and anguish.
• Happy Hour, Director: Gretl Claggett * USA * 14 min. When a woman meets her boyfriend for a romantic night out, a martini triggers childhood memories that threaten her ability to trust and love. Based on a poem; narrated by Julianne Moore.
• Claire, Director: Cate Smierciak * Germany * 14 min. Alone on her first night in Berlin, a young woman gathers the courage to go out on her own, but after meeting a few locals at the corner bar, she is faced with more adventure than she bargained for.
• Goodbye Casey Trade, Director: Amanda Brennan * Producer: Hugo Kenzo * Co-Producer: Lisa Kelly * USA * 14 min. Tired of her self-involved parents and continuous bullying at school, fourteen-year-old oddball Casey Trade decides to carry out a fantasy with help from a fellow outcast.
• Doomsdays, Director: Eddie Mullins * USA * 90 min. A pre-apocalyptic comedy, DOOMSDAYS follows the misadventures of Dirty Fred (Justin Rice) and Bruho (Leo Fitzpatrick), a pair of freewheeling squatters with a taste for unoccupied vacation homes in the Catskills. Their commitment to the lifestyle is challenged, however, when a runaway teen and an aimless young woman join their ranks.
Bag Boy Lover Boy, Director: Andres Torres * Producer: Ziyad Saadi * 77 min. A bizarre-looking hotdog vendor is thrust out of his suffocating cart into the world of kinky photography when an enigmatic NYC photographer exploitatively turns him into his latest muse, resulting in some shockingly disturbing acts both on-camera and off.
Short film screens before Doomsdays:
• Extreme Pinocchio, Director: Pascal Chind* France * 23 min. A dwarf junkie dresses up as Pinocchio to steal money from a schizophrenic psychopath who thinks he’s Geppetto…
Saturday, Oct. 4
• When, Where, How?, Director: Messiah Amaran * USA * 105 min. On the day of their high school graduation 6 unlikely friends seek a graduation party at a fabled abandoned playground, after the police foils their first attempts at a party. On their journey the friends encounter some colorful and dangerous characters.
MN Made with Q&A, A selection of dazzling local short films from sci-fi/fantasy, horror, experimental, action, and that pushes the boundaries.
• End Land, Director: Jason P. Schumacher & Nathan Graves * MN * 9 min. A dentist wakes up to find himself in a room with no exit. The room is empty, except for a strange man who provides little answers to who he is, where they are, and how to get out.
• Small Steps, Director: John Gigrich * MN * 8 min. When Dylan goes looking for his brother he makes some assumptions that will have serious consequences.
• Born Again, Director: Nicki Andert * MN * 10 min. Imagine seeing the person you love every day in life. And in death. What would you do to make that happen?
• Run, Director: Josh Mruz * MN * 8 min. Olivia is getting chased by her past, hurdling through new obstacles, and recollecting the fragmented elements of her situation.
• Masked, Director: Jared Wiedmeyer * MN * 5 min. A confused woman finds herself trapped in a world where all the inhabitants wear masks.
• The Yanam Parable, Director: Sean Skinner * MN * 8 min. Former hit man Jack Mason had it all, a loving family and a great life. But when his former Boss took all he held dear away, Mason seeks revenge using the principles of the ‘Yanam’ people. Jack serves as judge, jury, &…
• I Won’t Fit in a Killing Jar. Director: Felicity Flesher & Hannah White * MN * 8 min. In this creepy-crawly short by Carleton College graduates, Felicity Flesher and Hannah White, a women is haunted by her insect-loving husband’s death.
• Yield, Director: Caleb Wood * MN * 2 min. In this film road kill deaths are documented and animated collectively.
• Home Near Water, Director: Christopher Lange * MN * 14 min. Brad attempts to preserve love within his dying marriage, which coincides with his gradual transformation into a creature. Filmed in a painterly style, this experimental drama flows with visual and musical vigor, reflecting the existential and spiritual transformation of its main character.
• Domina, Director: Justin Staggs * MN * 10 min.Domina is an intergalactic bounty huntress on the trail of a fugitive SlaveBot. After the two enemies crash down on an uncharted desert planet, an unexpected relationship blossoms between the two beings. Domina’s heart is put to the test when her band of violent Bounty Hunters finally arrive to rescue her…and collect their bounty, dead or alive!
5:45 p.m., Ayiti Toma – The Land of the Living, Director: Joseph Hillel * HAITI * 82 min. Beyond the country that overcame slavery to become the first Black Republic, beyond the country that has survived numerous natural disasters lies Ayiti Toma, ‘the country that is ours.’ The documentary bearing this name aspires to present this lesser known, more inclusive Ayiti as it is told by the Ayitians themselves be they intellectuals or practitioners of voodoo. With the additional input of anthropologists, historians and aid workers (including Sean Penn), this documentary illustrates that the extraordinary culture of this ‘magical people’ must be taken into account if Ayiti Toma, the land of the living, is to come into being.
The Hip-Hop Fellows, Director: Kenneth Price * USA * 78 min. The Hip-Hop Fellow follows Grammy Award winning producer, 9th Wonder’s tenure at Harvard University, as he teaches ‘The Standards of Hip-Hop’ course, conducts research for his thesis, lectures at Duke University and explores hip-hop’s history, culture and role in an academic setting. The film centers on the emerging significance of incorporating hip-hop music studies into academia and highlights the scholars at the forefront of preserving 40 years of hip-hop culture. Featured interviewees include Kendrick Lamar, Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Ab-Soul, Phonte, Young Guru, Dr. Mark Anthony Neal, Rapper Big Pooh, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Dr. Marcyliena Morgan and DJ Premier.
9:30pm – TBA
Short film screens before TBA feature with Q&A:
Flesh Computer, Director: Ethan Shaftel * Producer: Dain Ingebretson * USA * 14 min. A weary handyman does his best to maintain a decaying building in a ruined city, but when scavengers attack his cybernetic pet project, the line between human and machine becomes blurred.
Sunday, Oct. 5
1 p.m., MN MADE with Q&A, A selection of local music, poetry, humor, drama and documentary shorts created to keep you guessing until the very end.
• Wart_2010, Director: Benjamin Jarman * MN * 2 min. The origin story of a wizard.
• Stashbox, Director: Simon Lansberg-Rodriguez * MN * 13 min., Two friends comb the Badlands in search of a mystery cache.
• Fight Me, Director: Sean Skinner * MN * 3 min.Office politics aren’t for everyone.
• Kinetic, Director: D.R. Tibbits * MN * 12 min.When a man has a recurring dream for over 200 days, he begins to think there’s something to it. So he tests it. First, he has to trust his frenetic notes to get him to the buried money, and then he has to trust that they don’t.
• Someone, Somewhere, Director: Spencer Knott * MN * 3 min. Shot entirely in the Twin Cities, Minnesota native Mario Stokes delivers his powerful poem “Someone, Somewhere.” The poem touches on current issues in society, and acts as a call to action towards those desiring change.
• Overpass Light Bridge, Director: Dusan Harminc & Matt Mullins * MN * 6 min Overpass Light Brigade’ is a short film that tells the story behind Wisconsin’s Holders of the Lights using innovative time-lapse photography and interviews with founding members and other activists.
• Treefort, Director: Dan Dorland * MN * 4 min. A boy makes an old tree fort his own by cleaning it out, and denies the use of it to anyone else.
• Former Best Friends Forever, Director: Peter Nelson * MN * 11 min. ‘Former Best Friends Forever,’ features the recorded audio of the artist’s childhood friends. In costume and with various states of facial hair, Nelson lip-syncs the words of each friend, embodying both himself and his ‘best friends’ simultaneously.
• Stars, Director: Bernadette Pollard * MN * 4 min.Black & white music video, featuring local singer/songwriter Sophia Shorai.
• One Lungers: The Andy Englund Story, Director: Matthew Adams & Keith Adams * MN * 11 min.Each winter the Long Lake Vintage Snowmobile Racing Association hosts a series of vintage snowmobile races using one-cylinder sleds or “One-Lungers”. Each vintage sled has a story to tell: each racer does too. This is Andy’s.
• The Man in the Booth, Director: Justin Christopher Ayd * MN * 9 min., A documentary about former Willow Creek Theatre Head Projectionist Dave Hilsgen reflecting on his beginnings in the film industry as movie theatres across the nation convert from 35mm projection to digital cinema.
• 3:30 p.m.
Relationship Exchange with Q&A, A selection of short films that deal with various degrees of relationships, from bad boyfriends, grief, love, and finding your mate.
• Une Balade à La Mer, Director: Damien Stein * France * 3 min. A ride towards the sea is the odyssey of a small animated character who decides to go out to face the city and the nature to free his goldfish. But the cadence of his own will reserve for him numerous surprises: every person, every element of the city that he will cross could be violent to him.
• Just a Place, Director: Amir George * USA * 2 min. Just A Place is a glimpse into Hoodoe, land of the Hoodonians. A nomadic civilization exiled from one planet to the next based on their appearance. The Hoodonians live to protect themselves and their home. Just A Place is part of a three channel video installation entitled The Hood We Live In.
• Pint, Director: Nic Barker * Australia * 10 min. Nobody at the wedding likes Jackson. So he probably shouldn’t drink too much…
• Sheltered Love, Alex Italics * USA * 10 min.In blissful 1950s suburbia, a love-struck bobbysoxer and her no-good-nik boyfriend seek refuge from her overprotective and hotheaded father.
• The Girlfriend Experience, Director: Mark Kunerth * USA * 7 min. A broken-hearted guy, recently dumped by his girlfriend, resorts to the internet for comfort. But is the real Girlfriend Experience he seeks a bit too real?
• North, Director: Alec Schwandt * USA * 17 min. After a young man’s father passes away, he takes a road trip north.
• Neighborhoods, Director: Marcus Castillo * MN * 10 min. In the Somali neighborhood of Minneapolis, Akbar and Aisha pick up their one time friend Sharif from jail; but he only wants to meet up with the same people that got him arrested.
• Indigo, Director: Paul Jerndal * Sweden * 20 min. Two young, lost souls in New York City share a common struggle; they are stuck in lives they do not feel they belong. She is an adored actress and he, a bike messenger. On the outside they seem like each other’s opposite, but on the inside they are the same. Dehumanized by an internal loneliness that alienates them from feeling alive.
• Dead Hearts, Director: Stephen W. Martin * Canada * 17 min. A young mortician learns that not even death can stand in the way of true love. A whimsical, gothic bedtime story filled with love, loss, taxidermy, Kung Fu, and biker werewolves.
Know How, Director: Juan Carlos Pineiro Escoriaza * Executive Producer/Producer Paul Griffin * USA * 106 min. A film written and acted by foster care youth ripped from the stories of their lives. Five youth’s worlds interweave as they confront loss, heartbreak, and come of age in this tale about transience and perseverance.
• This is Not Happening, Director: Ewan Thomas * United Kingdom * 87 min. It is the story of Chris (23) who after traveling for almost 5 years runs out of money in Morocco. Desperate and alone he calls older brother Andrew and asks for money. Andrew instead pays for Chris’ flight home and offers him a place to stay with wife Emily. Chris’ drunken behavior and constant lying initially cause him problems as he re-adjusts to family life. However Chris’ arrival soon causes all three to confront issues they have been in denial of. MplsUndergroundFilmFest.com