It is rewarding for C-U Blogfidential to take notice of friends and neighbors gradually finding their footing in the movie-making ranks. Currently we have on our radar Urbana resident John Isberg, a special education teacher by trade who has a long history playing in Chicago and Champaign-Urbana groups such as The Firebird Band, Evil Tents, and Tigerbeat, for his name has appeared several times on recent media projects. Along with interning for the independent feature drama CONSUMED and volunteering on last year’s Pens to Lens offerings, Isberg has begun producing his own efforts under the name Swede Films. These include music videos for Motes and Rebecca Rego & the Trainmen as well as a six-minute profile of Exile on Main Street and owner Jeff Brandt released concurrently with last month’s Record Store Day. In progress is his largest D.I.Y. undertaking yet, the full-length documentary THE GHOST COWBOY, anchored by the story of stroke survivor and Champaign-Urbana Paranormal Society founder and investigator Bob Davies.
Isberg will share his observations in COWBOY wrangling later tonight when he participates in the 18th local edition of “PechaKucha Night,” presented by the Champaign-Urbana Design Organization (CUDO) and based on the appealing presentation format of “20 slides X 20 seconds” originated in Japan. The roster also includes Karen Carney, Mac Condill, Mamie Hobbs and Sophie Roney, Jack Marck, Terry Welker, fellow filmmaker Ed Glaser (PRESS START) on the surreal Italian re-edit of the original GODZILLA, and Eric Benson and Megan Diddie on experimenting with plant fiber use at their University of Illinois research lab, Fresh Press. The doors will open at 7:45 p.m. for the free event at the UI Krannert Art Museum, 500 E. Peabody Dr., Champaign, with speakers stepping up to the podium starting at 8:20 p.m.; sports reporter Drew Wilder of WCIA-TV is emcee. You can read further about the show in this buzz magazine article, complete with quotes from Damian Duffy Hates Everything co-host Benson.
Since the early COWBOY trailer we’ve seen is as fleeting on-line as the apparitions that Davies and his team seek in the real world, we instead share the Exile on Main Street vignette above. Watch later this summer for our interview with the affable Isberg about his documentary and what drives him to pursue “beautiful” experiences in the motion picture realm!
~ Jason Pankoke
p.s. The Aurora native explained to CUBlog that Swede Films is named so in honor of his grandfather and heritage as well as a nod to Michel Gondry’s offbeat comedy BE KIND REWIND (2008) in which Jack Black and Mos Def “swede” or recreate famous movies on pocket change budgets. It will be clear Isberg is not faking his love for cinema when our article goes live. As far as faking other peoples’ movies, we don’t think he has that in mind either but, if he ever wants to put together a GHOSTBUSTERS swede du C-U, consider us so there.
p.s.2 We didn’t have an official reason to name-drop Damian Duffy himself in this story until now. Please, DD, don’t hate us.