Chicago Underground Film Festival celebrates 27th year with virtual and Drive-In screenings, November 9 through November 22


The longest running underground film festival in the world, in-person screenings will be November 12-13 at ChiTown Drive-In and live CUFF 27 Minecraft Concert will stream via YouTube on November 17

The 27th Annual Chicago Underground Film Festival (CUFF), the world’s longest-running underground film festival and called “the festival you wouldn’t take home to mom,” returns this year with virtual screenings for the festival’s duration, November 9-22 with in-person screenings on November 12-13 only at the ChiTown Drive-In, 2343 S. Throop St. in Chicago.

CUFF 27 highlights include the opening film “Ghost of the Golden Groves” (virtual; narrative feature), in which an urban survey officer representing machinery and industrialization, visits a forest to develop roads, meeting a sudden death; “Flannery” (Drive-In opening film; documentary feature), Chicago-based Elizabeth Coffman’s portrait of the multifaceted author; “Sleeze Lake: VanLife At Its Lowest” (Drive-In closing film; documentary feature), a look at young people in the post-Vietnam-War era hitting the open road in shag-carpeted custom vans creating a counterculture cocktail of irreverence and hedonism; Chicago filmmaker Danielle Beverly’s documentary “Dusty Groove: The Sound Of Transition” (virtual; documentary feature), a portrait of the iconic Chicago record store and owner Rick Wocjik on his buying trips in the homes of complete strangers, all of whom are facing some kind of life transition; and the surrealist, non-linear satire “Paper Shadows” (experimental feature) concerning the creative and emotional angst shared by an elderly Black man and a young white female art student.

Taila Howe, Producer of CUFF said: “One of the coolest things about CUFF is the melting pot of creativity that comes from the underground community kicking it during the festival. It would be misleading if I said we’re going to replicate that exact same vibe online. But, because we’ve been forced to pivot, we have been able to tap into the expansiveness and accessibility of the Internet, which has grown our community of counter-culture experimentalists. I think the Minecraft concert we’re throwing this year, plus our Drive-In screenings, will bring together a new wave of misfits and the O.G. CUFF-goers. And maybe when CUFF 28 happens in real life, it will be an intergenerational homecoming for all the outcasts of the film world.”

While the majority of films in this year’s CUFF are from the United States, underground filmmaking is a global movement, so a wide array of feature-length and short documentaries and narrative and experimental features from Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Asia will also be presented.

The majority of the films in CUFF27 are documentary, experimental, and narrative shorts in 14 programs plus two dedicated solely to Chicago filmmakers, Chicago Shorts #1 and Chicago Shorts #2 (packaged as Chicago Shorts for the Drive-In screenings only but presented in other programs throughout the festival).

Entries not to miss this year include Mike Hoolbloom’s “27 Thoughts About My Father” (experimental short), the filmmaker’s memories of his father featuring photos and found footage in a series of 27 vignettes and Shelly Silver’s “A Tiny Place That Is Hard To Touch” (experimental short), concerning an American researcher, a Japanese translator, and a Tokyo river transporting wildlife, garbage, and death, among others.

As in years past, this year’s festival showcases the work of filmmakers with strong Chicago connections and those who have previously lived in Chicago.

Tickets to this year’s virtual screenings are $15/single ticket and $15/all-access.

Drive-In screenings are $40/single ticket for carload and $70/all-access. Full festival pass: (full access to all virtual films and all four Drive-In screenings are $120).

CUFF 27 Minecraft Concert virtual After Party (November 17): free admission.

Films in CUFF 27 can be streamed anywhere in the world. To look at the entire festival program, to purchase tickets and learn more about Drive-In specifics, and stream films, visit

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