MUFF returns to Minneapolis

by Chance Wellnitz

Tonight, the Minneapolis Underground Film Festival (MUFF) returns to the St. Anthony Main for another round of fun and subversive films.


MUFF doesnt seek out of the independent Oscar bait of other festivals. Many of the films that bill themselves as independent still have big studio dollars backing them up and will come to Minneapolis in a month or two.


I like to bring films that will never be screened in Minneapolis, senior programmer and executive director Mark Hanson told A&E. These are the types of films that will have short runs in New York and LA then appear on video-on-demand services a year later.


Documentary Remake Remix Rip-Off, which screens Friday afternoon, chronicles the booming Turkish film industry (and lax copyright laws) in the 1960s and 70s. Turkish filmmakers would lift scenes and soundtracks from big-budget Hollywood movies like Star Wars,” “Rambo, and The Wizard of Oz then write and produce their own low-budget films around them. The doc features interviews with several of the actors in these films, with many starring in 300 or more.


Another film screening at MUFF is called the Dickumentary, in which the filmmakers traveled around the world and discovered different cultures takes on a certain male organ. Its as the festival brochure bills it — “everything you've always wanted to know about the penis, but were afraid to find out.


In addition to the features, MUFF also screens blocks of short films around half of which are Minnesota-made.


Pablo Jones, who came of age in the Twin Cities theatre scene, is screening his debut short film The Mountain at the festival. The short was inspired by three poems Jones wrote that capture the feelings present in the beginning, the middle and end of a relationship. However, The Mountain adds an extra meta layer: the actors portraying the films two main characters are in love in real life.


[The Mountain] blurs lines of where the actor ends and character begins, actor Greg Hernandez said.


However, Jones assures us his film isnt as heavy as it sounds. In fact, its frequently funny.


Hernandez met Jones when they were both performing at the Southern Theater. Hernandez performed standup and Jones sang between sets.


[Jones] could tell a story without trying too hard, Hernandez said. Between songs he was always funnier than any of the comedians including myself.


[MUFF] is about getting back to the time when cinema was just really fun, Hanson said. Youre going to laugh [and] youre going to have a good time.


The festival runs October 7th through the 11th. Individual film tickets are $5 for members, $6 for students, seniors and children and $8.50 general admission. An all access pass is also available for $120.