By Morgan Cairns
CUFF loves docs. They love them so much, in fact, that they put on a second festival every November devoted exclusively to documentaires. And while there will be more on the menu than just docs for this years full-fledged fest, we all know that CUFF’s affinity for documentaries is ever present, and you can expect some real gems on this year’s program.
Kusama-Infinity You may recognize Yayoi Kusama’s work as the polka-dot infused infinity rooms all over your instagram feed, but this world-renowned artist has been making waves since the 1960’s. The feature length debut from documentarian Heather Lenz, Infinity delves into world of Kusama as she faces industry sexism, a rivalry with Andy Warhol, and lifelong battle with mental health, all while creating some of the most recognizable and jubilant art of her time.
Freaks and Geeks: The Documentary. While the show may have only lasted one season, it’s impact has lasted a lifetime in souls of former (and current) angsty teenagers everywhere. Comprised of interviews from the beloved show’s cast and crew, whether you identified as a freak or a geek, get ready for that familiar flood of early 80’s nostalgia (whether you lived it or not.)
Jack of All Trades. If you ever think ‘Why don’t we collect baseball cards anymore?’ (hey, it could happen) then this is the doc for you. Exploring the rise and fall of America’s (former) favorite past-time, Jack of all Trades follows former child actor Stu Stone as he tries and figures out where it all went wrong-with baseball cards, that is-and discovers that maybe the card’s true value lies in the memories, not the money.
Slave to the Grind. What is grindcore? I’m not sure, but this documentary is going to tell you. “Harder than hardcore, faster than thrash, and heavier than just about anything you can imagine,” self-describes the films synopsis, this gritty doc mixes live footage, band interviews, and even a little animation thrown in for good measure to probe one of music’s most extreme genres. Gearing up for its world premiere at CUFF, Slave to the Grind even features Calgary’s own grindcore heavyweights, Wake.
To Hell and Back: The Kane Hodder Story. You may not recognize his name, or even his face, but stick a hockey mask on him and you know him as Friday the 13th’s infamous machete wielding mad-man, Jason Voorhees. Getting to know the man behind the mask, this doc touches on Hodder’s tumultuous past, and how he overcame the odds to become America’s favourite murderer next door.
Roller Dreams. Roller skating is synonymous with Venice Beach circa 1984, and you can expect to see a lot of neon spandex, big hair, and slick moves. But Roller Dreams goes beyond the tricks and the tans, and touches on the racism and gentrification that encapsulates the film’s tagline: The dream didn’t fade, it was taken.
The Calgary Underground Film Festival runs April 16-22 at The Globe Cinema. Visit calgaryundergroundfilm.org for full schedule and lineup.CUFF, Docs