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Wilco Debuts New Film In CIMM City

By Lizz Kannenberg in Arts & Entertainment on Feb 19, 2009 7:20PM

2009_02_19_wilco.jpg Remember what a bummer it was when Wilco had to scrap plans for a DVD of their May 2005 four-night stand at the Vic? Sure, we got the Kicking Television live disc out of it, but we were expecting the first official visual record of a Wilco performance, and anything less was disappointing.

Now we can finally watch what we've been listening to. Wilco will debut Ashes of American Flags, filmed during the Southern U.S. portion of their winter 2008 tour and directed by Fugazi drummer-cum-filmmaker Brendan Canty, during the first Chicago International Movies and Music (CIMM) Festival next month. If the three (out of five) shows we took in during the band's residency at the Riv last February are any indication, Ashes will be a testament to just how comfortable the band is in its own skin and how enduring the entire Wilco catalog will be for years to come.

2009_02_19_cimm.jpg As exciting as the Ashes debut is for Chicagoans, the entire weekend of CIMM events has that can't-miss vibe to it. Founded by Bulgarian filmmaker Ilko Davidov and M's frontman Josh Chicoine, the festival focuses solely on films about music - a testament to the creative freedom Davidov has found since moving to the U.S. from his home country, where the Secret Police can arrest you for owning a copy of London Calling.

After sifting through more than 300 submissions for the festival, Davidov and Chicoine were able to craft four days of inspired (and inspiring) cinematic artwork. We're especially looking forward to director Lech Kowalski's Unfinished, a collection of never-before-seen footage of the New York Dolls' iconic guitarist Johnny Thunders both on stage and off, and to Two Headed Cow, Tony Gayton's look at the rabble rousing career of legendary roots rocker Dex Romweber.

The Wilco live film Ashes of American Flags debuts on Monday, March 9 at the Music Box Theater (3733 N. Southport), 7:30 p.m. and 10:00 p.m., $10 on the CIMM website. Q & A with director Brendan Canty to follow.

The CIMM festival runs March 5 - 8 at the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington) and the St. Paul Arts Center (2215 W. North Avenue). Tickets are $8 per event and available here.