As if a daylong lineup of films about music isn’t enough, The Chicago International Movies & Music Festival boasts a lineup of live music by night, inspired by the movies it screened earlier in the day. The festival, which takes place at various venues throughout Wicker Park and Logan Square, is all about highlighting the symbiotic relationship between music and film. For the organizers of the festival, one wouldn’t be what it is without the other.
Musician Josh Chicoine and film editor Ilko Davidov co-founded CIMMFest in 2009 when they met as neighbors at a housing co-op for artists and musicians in Bucktown.
Festival programming director Michael W. Phillips, Jr. notes that, though about two-thirds of the internationally diverse programming at CIMMFest is documentary, they also screen fictional films that strongly focus on music. The “Punk Around the World” series is a perfect example. The six-film group is a combination of documentaries and fiction films, which are also geographically diverse, that focus on punk everywhere from Africa to Chile to Macedonia. It’s an area Davidov himself has some expertise in: According to Phillips, Davidov had to leave Bulgaria because he was making films about underground punk music.
One of the featured documentaries in the punk series is “Pank: The Rise of Punk in Chile,” the directorial debut of Martín Núñez. While he began filming with the intention of focusing on the music over the politics, he shifted his focus as the impact of Chilean politics as he realized it was at the heart of the Chilean punk movement.
“Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship was in charge when the punk and underground movements developed. The political situation was so tough that it covered every aspect of life and society,” says Núñez. “The concept of punk was adopted by people with an urge to express themselves, basically motivated by the lack of hope and mostly as a form of protest.”
The film covers the first two generations of Chile’s punk music scene, a choice Núñez made so that he could portray an in-depth look at the emergence of the genre in the country as an alternative to both the music of the military regimes and to the folk protest songs. “I don’t like superficial and fact-only documentaries, so I covered the movement until the arrival of this so-called democracy in order to show that period,” says Núñez. “But, by the end of the movie I tried to show the current political situation confronting past and present.”
He filmed it DIY-style, falling in line with the do-it-yourself aesthetic of the Chilean punk underground movement, so he wouldn’t have to rely on grants from the government.
“At the time I was planning ‘Pank,’ there was no printed or filmic information about the birth of Chilean Punk, so I wanted to make the movie to depict the political, cultural and artistic era that was often dismissed by the media, as well as a sort of tribute to many great bands.” (Kristen Micek)
CIMMFest (cimmfest.org) takes place in various venues throughout Logan Square and Wicker Park from April 12-15. The “Punk Around the World” series will screen on April 14 and April 15. “Pank: The Rise of Punk in Chile” will screen on April 15 at 1pm.