Wednesday, May 28, 2008

15th Annual Chicago Underground Film Festival

In the Spotlight this week is the 15th Annual CHICAGO UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL (CUFF), one of Chicago's leading film events, and a must-attend festival for cutting-edge filmmakers with defiantly independent visions.

CUFF stands out on the festival circuit for having a unique programming niche, and garnering a following among hipsters, media, and industry alike. Each year, CUFF presents an accessible, savvy program of pics exploring the many definitions and interpretations of the "underground" concept. Selected films often ignore limitations of genre, and are made with passion and drive; alternative music films, political agitprop, formal experimentation, and high camp are not uncommon elements of the Festival program.

Past CUFF films, producers, and filmmakers have received honors and offers as a direct result of exposure gained and connections made at the Festival. Programming highlights from years past include premieres of NICE BOMBS, DANIELSON: A FAMILY MOVIE, Oscar-nominated documentary THE WEATHER UNDERGROUND, MONKS - THE TRANSATLANTIC FEEDBACK, and BLOOD CAR. Additionally, numerous CUFF films have gone on to receive theatrical distribution.

June 16, 2008 - Regular Deadline

The Chicago Underground Film Festival exists to showcase the defiantly independent filmmaker, and to promote films and videos that dissent from the mainstream.

CUFF is a great time for attendees, filmmakers, and industry. Daily screenings are followed by a great night of parties, events and concerts. In Roger Ebert's words, "What you get for your money is not just admission to the films but admission to a subculture."

Now in partnership with IFP/Chicago, CUFF will take place in tandem with the Midwest Filmmakers Summit, a gathering of the region's filmmaking community. The Summit will present networking opportunities, discussions, workshops and case studies of Festival films featuring various festival filmamkers and industry insiders. Past speakers have included Bob Berney, Richard Linklater, Neil LaBute, Rose Troche, Harold Ramis, Tod Lending, Bill Seigel, John McNaughton, Steve James, Anthony Kaufman, Ray Pride, Laurel Ward and many others.

CUFF organizers advise filmmakers that "if you suspect your film is 'underground,' it probably is." Submit to Chicago Underground Film Festival today!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Interesting American Studies Elective for Summer Session II: AMST-A201 Cultural Paranoia and the Contemporary Hollywood Misdirection Film

AMST-A201 | 11537 | U.S. Movements and Institutions | TOPIC : Cultural Paranoia and the Contemporary Hollywood Misdirection Film | 3 cr. | A & H | TWRF, 2:30-3:20 | Film screenings: M, 1:25-3:20 | Seth Friedman

Since the early 1990s, there has been a spate of Hollywood films such as The Sixth Sense (1999), The Usual Suspects (1995), and Fight Club (1999), which are renowned for their surprise endings. All these films possess a similar narrative structure; they each contain a revelation that encourages spectators to reinterpret retrospectively all that has come before. Although these films can be identified as belonging to other pre-existing industrially recognized genres, this class will take the approach that they are more appropriately categorized as constituents of the “misdirection” genre. This is because the narrative revelation is the most consistently referenced feature whenever people speak or write about these films, regardless of the ways that the studios package them.

This class will investigate the reasons why this long-standing narrative mode has proliferated in the U.S. over the past two decades. It is significant that some U.S. audiences have been drawn to films that demand greater interpretive work than what is typically needed to decipher the standard Hollywood fare. To address this apparent paradox, we will examine the socio-cultural and industrial conditions that have made misdirection films attractive to both Hollywood producers and some U.S. audiences over approximately the past twenty years. We will attempt to determine why an audience for these films has recently formed. Specifically, we will address why films containing narratives that suggest that the “truth” is being concealed from view have become so appealing to a significant segment of U.S. spectators. We will focus on questions such as the following: What relationship do films and other forms of media have to the culture in which they are produced and consumed? What can the popularity of contemporary misdirection films tell us about the acceptability of different modes of interpretation in the U.S. since the early 1990s? How do communities form from specific interpretive practices? What can these films tell us about contemporary racial and gender politics in the U.S.? What connection do these films have to the development of new home-viewing technologies, the rise of the Internet, and other recent changes impacting the U.S. media industries? To help us respond to these questions, we will read selections from a variety of disciplines such as Anthropology, Film and Media Studies, History, Literary Studies, and Political Science.

Films will likely include the following: Arlington Road (1999), Fight Club (1999), Jacob’s Ladder (1990), Magnolia (1999), Memento (2000), Mulholland Drive (2001), Psycho (1960), The Shining (1980), The Sixth Sense (1999), Unbreakable (2000), and The Usual Suspects (1995).

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Interesting Summer Session II Course: NELC-N 305 Political Islam from Revelation to Revolution

NELC-N 305 Political Islam from Revelation to Revolution
Instructor: Hassan Lachheb Summer II 2008

Office Hours: Mondays 1:30-2:30 (or by appointment)

Course Description:

“Political Islam” is a striking phenomenon that is not only creating a severe tension within Islamdom, but is also shaping the relations between the Muslim world and the rest of the world.

This course will focus on the religious principles that contemporary political Islam is based upon. The questions that outline this course are: What is the religious literature that makes the foundations of the Islamic movement? How is it interpreted? What is the religious reasoning behind the positions of political Islam from Democracy, pluralism, women’s rights, suicide bombings, etc…?

This course will provide an opportunity to survey some of the leading literature on the subject of political Islam and to look closely at the religious aspects of some of the major Islamic movements.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

UD Needs Student Assistants for the Summer Orientation Program

From University Division:

If you know of students who are looking for work in Bloomington this summer, University Division is looking for student workers to help us with the summer orientation program in Teter. Those of you who have worked with us in past summers know how important these student workers are in setting the tone when new students arrive for advising.

The primary responsibility of our summer assistants is to greet new students when they arrive in Teter and to help them complete preparations before meeting with an advisor. The position will run from Wednesday, June 11 through Thursday, July 17, with a training session on the afternoon of Tuesday, June 17. The hours are 8:15 a.m. until approximately 3:15 p.m., weekdays (the actual end time may vary depending on student traffic). Qualifications include excellent communication skills, a positive attitude, reliability, and a genuine enthusiasm for IUB and interest in working with new students. The salary will be $7.00 per hour.

Interested students should send a letter of interest along with their resume to Mark Hurley ( as soon as possible. We hope to begin interviewing applicants next week.

Monday, May 5, 2008

WIUX 99.1FM Summer Call-Out

IU's Student Radio Station, WIUX 99.1FM, is looking for new volunteers for the summer! If your students are still in Bloomington, please let them know that we are looking for new on-air talent as well as individuals to help with production and other off-air activities as well.

The informational call-out meeting is taking place Thursday, May 8 at 8pm in Fine Arts room 015.

We are an independent student-operated station staffed entirely by student volunteers. WIUX focuses on music that you won't hear on other stations in Bloomington as well as local news and sports programming.

All students are welcome and class standing, major, or concentration will not prevent students from getting involved.

Any questions should be directed to me:
Craig Shank