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Montreal Underground Film Festival ready to unspool

The 2nd edition of the Montreal Underground Film Festival (MUFF) will unspool at a frenetic pace over a three-day period from May 17 to 19, 2007. With over 300 submissions hailing from over a dozen countries, MUFF had the daunting task of selecting the 80 finest and most innovative shorts and feature-length offerings from local and international artists. Friperie Pote:tr (6029 Du Parc) will once again play host to three nights of cinematic chaos under the banner “Get Rocked”, with each film night to be followed by performances from local musicians and DJs.

MUFF 101
MUFF is a festival that celebrates low-budget filmmaking and promotes those who challenge the boundaries of mainstream Hollywood. Zoë Brown and Karina Mariano, co-founders and leading ladies of the MUFF, wanted to leave the conventional film aesthetic attitude on the cutting room floor when concocting the fest’s lineup. Mariano, a programmer for the Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois (RVCQ) and Brown, an independent filmmaker with many projects under her belt, sought out edgy films bustling with creative freedom, energy and experimentation. Films in any way affiliated with a major motion picture studio were ineligible.


MUFF Programming
The MUFF lineup is a trail mix of ex-para-mental goodies. Audiences will be able to indulge in Warholian eye candy (‘’Lust’’ by Glenn Gear of Volatile Works, ‘’Doll-like’’), rabble-rousing non-fiction (Italy’s frightening neo-fascist bent is explored via wine bottles in ‘’Drink to Forget’’), hypnotic and gooey installation work (‘’Colonnes dans la mer’’, ‘’The Naked Snail’’), allegorical fairy tales (‘’Mr. Consumption’’), campy fare indebted to John Waters, ominous mood pieces (“Mur”, “Time Based Corrector”), gruesome gore by the MUFF-load (‘’Purgatory’’), poetic meditations on the everyday (‘’Eaten’’) and post-pornographic burlesque (‘’Condoms’’) to name just a few. MUFF attendees will once again be made privy to a number of world (‘’Grandma and the cockroach’’, ‘’The Pit and the Pendulum’’), Canadian (‘’5 1/2 Roofs’’, ‘’Pandrogeny Manifesto’’ starring Genesis P-ORRIDGE) and Montreal (‘’The Bird, the mouse and the sausage’’, ‘’Nouvel Ordre’’) premieres, along with a hefty film serving courtesy of Canadian staples Volatile Works, EyeSteelFilm, Vidéographe and Winnipeg Film Group – including a Guy Maddin ‘’Workbooks’’ collection. This will solidify the MUFF foundation and help it carve out a niche as the reference point for Canada’s censor-phobic, alternative filmmakers.


Opening night – May 17, 2007
Mariano & Brown, who also dish it out on circuit tracks as roller girls for the Montreal Roller Derby League, promise to spice up the opening night festivities with rollercking good times! Gals on wheels will command Pote:tr’s opening cocktail (8:00pm) by selling raffle tickets and providing any eager patrons with a bad-natured spanking. The Pink Program (9:00pm) is set to kick off the reeling mayhem, with an unnerving snorting session involving the Queen of Mattel (‘’Doll-like’’), Dandi Wind as a chick breaking through her golden coating in John Londoño’s ‘’The Yolke of the Golden Egg’’, and a short by Christian ‘’KinoGod’’ Laurence developed in harmony with his ‘’do well with nothing’’ motto, in the bathroom of a Normandie hotel! (‘’L’éducation nautique’’)

These aesthetic treats will be followed by the much more fright-filled Pink and Very Black Program, to screen in the Friperie’s Lavorama room. If hidden monsters aren’t your thing, you might as well find something to keep you busy for an hour. The Opening Night Party officially begins once the crowd has taken in just the right amount of dead sardines (‘’Fish’’), cupcake lovemaking (‘’Strip Show’’) and Guy Maddin rooster quirks (‘’Workbooks: Rooster’’).


Friday, May 18, 2007
 Cocktail & World Premiere Screening – ‘’Spectacles d’autres mondes’’ (6pm)
The 52-minute documentary ‘’Spectacles d’autres mondes’’ (Valérian Mazataud / France) follows two spirited young artists on a road trip with the world as their backdrop. They pedal over 21 000 kilometres on their bikes, through 28 countries and 5 continents, to offer free clown shows in hospitals, orphanages, schools and retirement homes. The world premiere of this adventurous doc, an ‘’Un oeil sur le monde’’ production inspired by the NGO Clown Without Borders, will be preceded by a cocktail at 6pm.

 Teen angst never looked so angsty: Pascal Robitaille and Floria Sigismondi (8pm)
Step back Sixteen Candles and Breakfast Club: a new generation of artists have a lot to get off their chests, and it’s neither diluted in digestible fluff nor packaged in broad stereotypes for mass appeal.

 ‘’Postmortem Bliss’’ (Floria Sigismondi / Canada) is the first short by acclaimed fashion photographer and music video director Sigismondi. In homage to Rebel Without A Cause, Sigismondi recasts Nicholas Ray’s portrayal of the turbulence and pain of adolescence in a modern light. Postmortem Bliss is a film about the over-medicated, addicted, and misdiagnosed generation of today.

 An alumni of INIS and a prolific emerging filmmaker with many shorts and prizes under his belt, Pascal Robitaille will present the world premiere of his mind-bending tape ‘’Le Goût du Néant’’. While his parents are away, teenage Julien decides to self-destruct. Over the course of two days, he throws away all his goods and possessions, then retires from current life. With a small digital camera, an intimate friend records fragments of this process before he lets himself sink into nothingness with him. An inspired work from a young talent to look out for.

 MUFF pulls a ROCKY HORROR with its THROW RICE AT THE POSERS event! (10pm)
Hosted by Éric “Roach” Denis and Random Killing’s own Drew Kiteley, this anarcho-punk tag team will introduce the Canadian premiere of Julie and Kenneth Van Schooten’s documentary ‘’King of Punk’’ (U.S.A.) Has punk been commodified into a cute little subculture of poseurs, or do young bands like Louisiana’s OBGYN do justice to the punk icons of yesteryear? MUFFgoers will have the final say as they’ll be encouraged to get all hot and bothered by throwing rice at the screen to voice their discontent. Expect interview snippets with members of legendary punk bands like The Ramones, The Adicts, Exploited, Avengers, Stiff Little Fingers, DOA and Dead Boys.


 The screening will be followed by ‘’Punk Le Vote: Roach en Élection’’, Roach’s in-your-face primer on how the squeegee kid on your windshield could one day be your prime minister.


Saturday, May 19, 2007
 Homeless Nation Special Presentation (7:45pm)
Some of the most stellar and powerful work to come out of Canada’s only website created by and for homeless Canadians will be screened in a special program hosted by Gadget, Montreal’s Outreach Coordinator. This will be preceded by ‘’Chloé et ses amis de la rue’’, a touching debut short from 9 year-old Chloé Turcotte, who takes us to the streets with a smile.

 Closing Party: Crimson Program (midnight)
After the more experimental and melancholy White Program and the absolutely demented Virgin Blue Program featuring works by many loose screws, the Crimson Program will cap off a drunken weekend of underground celebration with some of the most terrifying flicks of the bunch. For this special night only, Montreal cult classic ‘’Bad Blood for the Vampyr’’ (Lisan Tibodo, 1984) will be resurrected from the German video vault. Suburban housewives beware: the communist zombies in ‘’Red Men Rising’’ (Cindy Murdoch, Canada) only eat the brains of the rich! Bestiality meets necrophilia in ‘’Pig Heart’’ (Jesika Joy, Canada), which explores the relationship between intimacy and violence, desire and disgust. Count on the night to end with a bang, or at the very least a pig thrust.

 Some of MUFF’s highlights are listed on the accompanying table d’hôte.

MUFF Access
Tickets can be purchased at Friperie Pote:tr before the screenings. A single “Lonely Heart” ticket goes for $5. A $20 Silver MUFF pass grants access to 5 screenings, as well as one raffle ticket to win one of our very muffular prizes. A $35 Golden MUFF pass grants access to all screenings, and includes a MUFF t-shirt, raffle ticket and other special treats.

MUFF Dates: May 17-18-19, 2007
MUFF Times: Thursday at 8 pm, Friday at 6pm, Saturday at 7pm
MUFF Locations: Friperie Pote:tr (6029 Du Parc)
MUFF Costs: $5 per screening; $20 for 5 screenings; $35 for unlimited access


Full details and lineup available as of Friday, May 11 at: http://www.montrealundergroundfilmfestival.com




MUFF Evening Table d’hôte
Head chefs: Zoë Brown and Karina Mariano



Appetizers
Fresh Cream of Plasma (Bad Blood for the Vampyr / Lisan Thibodo / Germany)
This hemo-deprived 1984 Berlin treasure tells the story of the lonely Vampyr and his search for mortality.

Canapé of Death (Mr. Consumption / M. Margulies and N. Masuda / USA)
A visually stark allegorical fairy tale about ‘’the guy who ate everything,’’ created using cut-out animation.

Small Ball Salad (Mur / Benjamin D’Aoust / Belgium)
A lonely child is entranced by the constant rhythm of his small ball against an imposing wall. Until a distant echo breaks the monotony…


Main Course
Squatter Stir Fry (5 1/2 Roofs / Sepp. R. Brudermann / UK)
An empathetic portrait of six different London squats and their inhabitants.

Apocalyptic Cockroach Stew (Nouvel Ordre / J.-D. Scheider, G. Bindschedler and A. de Sousa / Switzerland)
This Locarno winner has six people waiting for the imminent end of the world in a strange, squalid house.

Self-mutilation Soufflé (Purgatory / Éric Falardeau / Canada)
An infernal, atmospheric descent into nothingness. The creepiest, most disturbing short you’ll see all year.


Desserts
Chef’s note: These installation sweets will play in an endless loop for the duration of the festival.

Snail Sorbet (The Naked Snail / Sam Hopkins / Kenya/UK)
A black slug moves over the surface of a young man’s face, exploring its many contours and textures.

Seabreeze Tiramisu (Colonnes dans la mer / Nancy Baric and Nicolas Renaud / Canada)
A hypnotic visual experience that lets the spectator in on the mechanical and optical processes involved in filmmaking.


Complete menu available as of Friday, May 11 at: http://www.montrealundergroundfilmfestival.com

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