Chicago’s “DIY scene” is often lauded for being vibrant, diverse and loaded with incredible talent. Part of what makes this strangely interwoven community unique is that it isn’t focused solely around music. The basements, warehouses and loft spaces of the city are the stomping grounds of remarkable artists, writers, filmmakers and comedians who bounce ideas off one another, collaborate on insane projects and chug cheap booze together. A handful of Chicago’s most exciting young auteurs will be showcasing their work as a part of Dollhouse Screening Pt. 1, a DIY celebration of female filmmakers.
Originally set for the evening of Saturday, January 30th, interest in the screenings has been high enough to warrant the addition of a second showing the following night. The promoters at the Dollhouse have done a remarkable job of bringing together some truly talented filmmakers whose work covers a wide variety of subjects.
Writer/director Angelica Malerba will be showing her film Never, an intimate exploration of the words we use to express ourselves in a relationship, told through one couple’s unraveling. This won’t be the first time Malerba has looked at power dynamics in dysfunctional relationships, though Never’s protagonists Jack and Hazel appear to be struggling with language as much as with each other. Malerba brings us into the couple’s bedroom during a critical exchange, and the resulting interactions are as raw as they are real.
Regardless of how we navigate it with language, “life” doesn’t ever really pause for us to figure out our interpersonal shit. Enter Serena Fath, whose confrontational, punk aesthetic is often applied to studies of gender roles and inequalities. In her new film Catalyst, the director takes aim at student debt, suicide, activism and love. They’re lofty subjects, but tackled with Fath’s usual combination of blunt honesty, wry humor and great music, they’re made to seem not only easily approachable, but potentially solvable. Despite the complexity and severity of the issues being addressed, the trailer for Catalyst hums with the suggestion of hope- with the possibility of a way out that involves choosing life over death, and choosing love over isolation.
For fans of The Warriors who’ve always wanted a movie starring The Lizzies, Revenge of the Flower Gang might be just what you’ve been waiting for. Writer/director Amanda Kang describes her latest project as “a campy homage to lesbian girl gang sexploitation films that casts its central femme fatales as heroes rather than villains.” From the look of the trailer there’ll be plenty of sex, violence and rock n’ roll.
Also among the participants is Midwest Action favorite Emily Esperanza, who was behind last year’s haunting video for the song “Chapels” by local experimental outfit Crown Larks. Her contribution to the showcase is a film called Day/Night that finds her collaborating with About Yesterday Media’s Abby Young, with whom she also worked on last month’s Sex, Death, & Visions From the Underground at Chicago Filmmakers. Whether or not they continue to explore the same themes this month, the duo is likely to present something that’ll be visually striking and unlike anything you’ll see the rest of the evening.
Twelve films will be shown during the screening, each accompanied by a Q & A with its creator. Half of the donations collected will be awarded to the winner of an “audience selection prize,” with the remaining half going to support the Wretched Nobles DIY film grant. Get ready for the showcase with a few trailers, and find details on the event below.
Dollhouse Screening Pt. 1 takes place on Saturday, January 30th and Sunday, January 31st at The Dollhouse (7 PM, $5). RSVP on Facebook