Undershorts Film Festival

The short films on this program–a dizzying variety–point neither straight to Hollywood nor straight to video. Among the many powerful offerings are Dean Rank’s Flex, a disquieting abstract depiction of an audition; Laura Heit’s Moat, an elegant symbolist dream drama; Tom Brierton’s No Exit?, a dryly humorous yet chilling parable; Masahiro Sugano’s Doghunter, a sobering spiritual narrative that’s not without comedy; Todd Voigt’s Bad Mommy, Bad Daddy, a painful-childhood drama whose surrealist tropes only make it more universal; Kirsten Stoltmann’s punchy Christina Ricci; Leif Goldberg’s Air Control, animated line drawings of deceptive simplicity; Jim Finn’s Sharambaba, which archly depicts a heterosexual ritual without losing a sense of romance; Usama Alshaibi’s Muffin, an eerily stylized deconstruction of exploitation and violence in life and cinema; and Rusty Nails’s vibrant action comedy Santiago vs. Wigface and Cannibal Teenage Riot, a campy, gory revel that’s simultaneously a trailer and a movie. Passion is evident behind each contribution, making the lineup inspirational for filmmakers as well as filmgoers. On the same program, Gallery 37 videos, shorts by David “the Rock” Nelson, Stoltmann’s My Friend Oona, puppetry by Kate Sheehy and Sierra Mitchell, and live appearances by Chic-a-Go-Go, the band Star Vehicle, and vocalist Lisa Brandt. Music Box, Thursday, February 17, 7:00. For more information call the Undershorts Film Festival at 312-409-3890.

–Lisa Alspector