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The Onion City Film Festival Returns With A Pungent 25th Edition

By Rob Christopher in Arts & Entertainment on Sep 3, 2013 4:10PM

a still from Phil Solomon's Empire
Pungent (ˈpənjənt/): adjective. 1. having a sharply strong taste or smell. 2. having a sharp and caustic quality.

That adjective perfectly captures the 25th Onion City Experimental Film and Video Festival, unspooling at a variety of venues Sept. 5-8. Lasting a mere four days, programmer/mastermind Patrick Friel has nevertheless managed to pack over 60 works from across the globe into the festival's schedule, ranging from the austere to the goofy. Somewhere between the two is certainly Phil Solomon's Empire, a remake of Andy Warhol’s infamous 24-hour opus from high atop the Manhattan Island of Grand Theft Auto IV (“Liberty City”). It screens alongside Scot Stark's consumerist "visual romp" The Realist on Sunday at 2 p.m. Another program sure to be stellar is Friday evening's "Portraits, Queerly," three experimental documentaries anchored by Matt Wolf's I Remember: A Film About Joe Brainard. Saturday's show "System Overload" presents pure visual delight, in the words of the festival program, "Drawing, cartooning, animating, abstracting, moving, flickering, glitching, rendering, computing, and destabilizing. Plus James Bond and End Credits."

The festival's closing night film has us especially excited. Funded via Kickstarter earlier this year, Double Play: James Benning and Richard Linklater looks at the decades-long friendship between experimental filmmaker Benning (whose feature-length Nightfall is also on the schedule) and auteur Linklater (director of the best film trilogy ever). Double Play marks the feature debut of Gabe Klinger, whom we've had the pleasure of speaking with several times over the years. It recently had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival; Sunday's screening at the Music Box will be the first time it's been shown in the US.

The 25th Onion City Experimental Film and Video Festival takes place at the Gene Siskel Film Center, Columbia College, and the Music Box. Tickets are $4-12 depending on the program. Full details here.