IOW: A Myriad Musical Tour, Pt.1

March 6th, 2015

Urgh! Has it really been this long since we’ve cobbled together a “video jukebox” offering for your eyes and ears to enjoy in unison? We’d love to feign surprise and blush on cue but, considering that we already incriminated ourselves in the refreshed quest to round up Champaign-Urbana’s creative output from the past few months, we simply can’t be surprised about missing the boat. So, dearest local music fans, here is the first entry of a handful expressing the variety in today’s scene on both sides of the camera lens! Expect the brand new and slightly viewed to appear side by side…

Withershins – “Aquamarine” from @TWOBRAINZ on Vimeo.

First is a “day after the party” scenario set to “Aquamarine,” a track by Champaign quintet Withershins from their album Mt. Fuji in Blue released last August by Heirship Records/Mud Records. A slightly disheveled young woman (Ashley Haley) wakes up in the apartment loft aftermath of said party and makes a mad dash downstairs to her getaway vehicle without those all-important keys. On her round trip to reclaim said keys, she flashes back to the festivities including a live set by the group – Isaac Arms, Luke Bergkoetter, Bryce Robert Hays, Colin Larson, and Neil Yeager – before she can exhale a sigh of relief. (We’re presuming some or all of this was shot at The Velvet Elvis, Arms’ short-lived guerilla concert space in downtown Champaign. And, no, we’re still not giving out the location on a public forum.) Immediate and uncertain as is our protagonist, buzzing with a hangover and spurned by a phone conversation gone sour, AQUAMARINE the video was produced by C-U videographer Chris Smith of TwoBrainz Photography with an assist from the fellows behind Urbana Basement Sessions.

6. lowlove (Prod. by Rokmore) 01:55 from @TWOBRAINZ on Vimeo.

Wandering virtually through both the TwoBrainz Web site and Vimeo account, we encountered external links to the prolific hip-hop collective TheGr8Thinkaz, members of which include Smith and fellow video wizard Michael Williams, Jr., a.k.a. FlyShotzFresh, performers Jay Moses, JEFFdaMC, and Sky, and producers Rokmore and H.Kal-El. Another member of the family, charismatic rapper Klevah “Ninja” Knox, recently dropped her sophomore full-length album Golden and has followed it with a steady stream of related videos. Two recent ones we share here: LOST LOVE, a concise piece filmed by TwoBrainz with track production by Rokmore, and BASTARDS, an iPhone collage assembled by Animol Filmz with audio production by Eric Surreal. Certainly a case of contrasting aesthetics on super-low budgets, the slick in-studio feel of LOST LOVE and organic street-level exteriors in BASTARDS equally compliment their respective sound tracks, a constant being the straight-up presence of Klevah and her lyrical flow.

Students of media can have equal fun comparing the portable device vs. DSLR production values of BASTARDS and AQUAMARINE and how each uses editing and verité-style camera work to reflect the women at their center. As you analyze, dissect, or merely view this trio, we’ll be on the lookout for more!

~ Jason Pankoke

p.s.A film company of hundreds of film makers in Champaign, IL.” Way to dream big, Animol Filmz!

Calendar du C-U: Feb. 27-Mar. 5

February 27th, 2015

Our unique movie and media Calendar appears every Friday on C-U Blogfidential and caters to the discerning tastes of citizens in the downstate region anchored by Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, USA.

~~~~~

PLAYING THIS WEEK
2/27/15-3/5/15

MILESTONES

Happy Birthday toFriday, February 27: Bradley Ledbetter, Larry Bent (cast/crew, WEREWOLF CEMETERY), Janet Mayson (creator, LIBBY GIRL film shorts) … Saturday, February 28: Julia Megan Sullivan (actress, HOUSE OF THADDEUS) … Monday, March 2: Anne Lukeman (director, THE RUNNER, Pens to Lens 2014), Kelly White (executive director, 40 North 88 West) … Wednesday, March 4: Jonathan Ward (music video producer, Young Club & Young Boogie) … celebrate!


NOW PLAYING

@ The Art Theater Co-op, Champaign, IL: STILL ALICE (2/27 on), TIMBUKTU (2/27-3/1, 3/2 w/discussion, 3/ 4-3/5), A MOST VIOLENT YEAR (2/27-3/1, 3/ 4-3/5), Carle Cancer Center benefit screening feat. AWAKEN THE DRAGON (3/3, 7 p.m., free)

@ Pine Lounge, Main Floor, Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL: Illini Union Board presents “Friday Night Films” feat. ONE CHANCE (2/27, 7 p.m., free)

@ Foellinger Auditorium, UIUC, Urbana, IL: UI Entomology Graduate Student Association presents 32nd annual Insect Fear Film Festival feat. MANSQUITO, shorts (2/28, 6 p.m. doors, 7 p.m. films, free)

@ Robeson Pavilion Rooms A & B, Champaign Public Library, Champaign, IL: The Art Theater Co-op’s third annual MOO-VIE membership meeting (3/1, 2:30 p.m.)

@ Room 104, English Building, UIUC, Urbana, IL: Illini Film & Video meeting (3/5, 8 p.m.)

@ That’s Rentertainment, Champaign, IL: BIG HERO 6, HORRIBLE BOSSES 2, WHIPLASH, BEYOND THE LIGHTS, SONS OF ANARCHY (s7), OLIVE KITTERIDGE (cs), more! (2/24 on)

@ The Avon Theater, Decatur, IL: A MOST VIOLENT YEAR, STILL ALICE, FIFTY SHADES OF GREY (2/27 on)

@ The Normal Theater, Normal, IL: FORCE MAJEURE (2/26-3/1, 7 p.m.), TAD THE LOST EXPLORER (2/28, 1 p.m., free)

@ LRS Theater, Hoogland Center for the Arts, Springfield, IL: Sangamon Valley Civic Orchestra and Central Illinois Film Commission present “Night at the Movies” concert (3/1, 4 p.m.)

@ AMC Parkway 8 Theatre, Springfield, IL: Springfield Art Association presents the Molly Schlich Independent | International Film Series feat. FORCE MAJEURE (3/1, 1 & 4 p.m.; 3/3, 7 p.m.)

@ SIU Student Center, etc., Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL: 37th annual Big Muddy Film Festival (through 3/1) Program

@ The Lincoln Theater 4, Lincoln, IL: FOCUS, THE LAZARUS EFFECT, FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, THE SPONGEBOB MOVIE: SPONGE OUT OF WATER (3-D & 2-D) (2/27 on)

@ The Onarga Theatre, Onarga, IL: MCFARLAND, USA (2/27 on)

@ The Princess Theatre, Leroy, IL: AMERICAN SNIPER (2/27-3/1), THE BOOK OF LIFE (2/28, 11 a.m., free)

@ The Little Lorraine, Hoopeston, IL: Save the Lorraine Foundation screenings feat. BIG HERO 6 (2/27-3/1)

@ Carmike 13, Champaign, IL: BIRDMAN, FOCUS, THE LAZARUS EFFECT, AMERICAN SNIPER, THE DUFF, FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, HOT TUB TIME MACHINE 2, KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE, MCFARLAND, USA, THE SPONGEBOB MOVIE: SPONGE OUT OF WATER

@ Goodrich Savoy 16, Savoy, IL: FOCUS, THE LAZARUS EFFECT, AMERICAN SNIPER, BIRDMAN, BLACK OR WHITE, THE DUFF, FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, HOT TUB TIME MACHINE 2, THE IMITATION GAME, JUPITER ASCENDING, KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE, MCFARLAND, USA, THE SPONGEBOB MOVIE: SPONGE OUT OF WATER, STILL ALICE, THE BOXTROLLS (2/28, 3/1, 9 & 10 a.m.), THE KILL TEAM (3/2, 5 & 7 p.m.), THE DROP BOX (3/3-3/5, 7 p.m.)

@ Landmark’s Century Centre Cinema, Chicago, IL: Midwest Independent Film Festival presents DIG TWO GRAVES w/filmmakers (3/3, 6 p.m.)

@ Harvest Moon Twin Drive-In, Gibson City, IL: Season begins March 20!

@ Route 66 Twin Drive-In, Springfield, IL: Closed for the season!

@ Centerbrook Drive-In, Martinsville, IN: Season begins March 20!

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Locally produced movies and events featuring locally produced movies are marked with an asterisk (*). Also find out what is “Coming Soon” by hitting the jump below. Go see ‘em, C-U!

Read the rest of this entry »

IOW: Plenty of pre-HOLLY activity

February 27th, 2015

A few weeks ago in this catch-all post, we mentioned an upcoming low-budget action drama titled HOLLY being prepped by HD Productions of Champaign for a late spring shoot. We thought it might be worth our dearest readers’ while to learn about the endeavors of the ambitious young man behind HOLLY, Danny Hill, as well as the production roles he still may need to fill. Ready to roll? Let’s go!

In today’s article we’ve embedded three videos to help illustrate Hill’s output that has appeared since INFECTION, a survival tale-with-zombies for which the Parkland College graduate organized a premiere at the Art Theater Co-op in 2013. First up is a comedic Web series called DOWNTOWN that went live in September and October, covering the misadventures of best friends and college students Ralph (Pierre Devon Stephens), Eme (Miles Springer), and Michael (Hill) as they room together in a rental house near downtown Champaign. We’ve shared the “blooper reel” Episode Six because it features clips and other characters from the run so far.

Next is a non-fiction series we’re happy to see Hill make, ALMOST INTIMATE, in which he interviews other area twentysomethings who are demonstrating talent and drive in their respective pursuits. The dozen episodes that have gone live since January 2014 include comedian Larry Smith, Jr., painter Davon L. Goodlove, pageant competitor Samantha Molina, boxer Kofi Bazzell-Smith, video producer Adrian “AL” Dorsey, and hip-hop musicians Young Club, Young Boogie, and Tae the God; Hill even pays Champaign mayor Don Gerard a visit at the city building to talk shop. Below we offer the most recent installment in which Hill discusses the student-run photography service 50 Diamonds with University of Illinois undergraduates Elijah Okpogie and Nick Yi.

Our last video is one of several miscellaneous pieces mixed in with the ALMOST INTMATE and DOWNTOWN entries on the HD YouTube channel, a music video for local rap artist Kayo and his song “Lost Boys” commenting on the polarizing strife between African-American youth and law enforcement. Mixing public domain and Internet footage of real-life scuffles with a staged altercation between actors BJ Foote and Wes Melton, LOST BOYS is short, tight, and modestly cinematic. It is possibly the best indication so far of the shape HOLLY might take.

So, what will that be? And how can you help? Hill has been soliciting for crew members on Craigslist and other Web sites in anticipation of an April start date – he is already rehearsing with lead actors Sawyer Harris, Tarek Nabulsi, Laquan Grein, Eric Klein, and William Rose II – but we’re not certain which roles have been filled. If you’re interested in working on HOLLY, you should contact Hill immediately through the Facebook page or by writing HollyMovie [dot] HD [at] gmail [dot] com. Positions listed in Hill’s self-promotion are director of photography, make-up/hair, production assistant, location audio, gaffer/grip, and script supervisor.

~ Jason Pankoke

p.s. Did we mention Hill also has his own photography business, The Photography Wing?

p.s.2 As a friendly public service announcement, we’ll note the tech aspects of various moments in DOWNTOWN and ALMOST INTIMATE are a bit rough, particularly with low sound levels in the latter. Make sure you have headphones and/or a quiet space at your disposal, dearest viewers, so you can turn it up to 11 and better hear what our young people have to say!

Love is a hop, skip, JUMP IN away

February 25th, 2015

Chilly salutations to you, dearest readers in the frozen Midwest tundra! We’re still chasing around a minor flurry of cinema efforts that has been falling on Champaign, Urbana, and the cities beyond since the fall season, for who are we to not give the gift of local film gab with so much tingling on the tips of our tongues? (Those with short-term movie memory can refresh beginning with this. Here’s another. And, another still. If you don’t get the idea by now, we’re simply not sure what to do about you.) We now resume catching up on all relevant stories to tell, beginning with the oldest example in the bunch that we should have relayed when it was timely…

Yet, why not make the case that Kimberly Conner’s feature JUMP IN is equally as noteworthy today? Shot on a shoestring in Springfield and Chicago nearly two years ago by this tireless lady and her collaborators, the film received a DVD berth from genre indie distributor Maverick Entertainment Group back on Tuesday, September 23, and is available at all the expected on-line markets. Sheree Bynum, Dingazi Beza, Karen Malina White, Michael Higginbottom, Thea Camara, and Kevin Craig West star in a low-key exploration of relationships among contemporary African-American adults, every thread revolving around the efforts of law student Troy Alexander (Bynum) to power through school, a broken marriage, and a breast cancer diagnosis in order to find happiness and accomplishment.

We are so behind in the progress of Conner and her Predestined Arts & Entertainment company, in fact, that we have barely talked about the follow-up to JUMP IN. Filmed late summer of last year in the general Springfield area and currently in postproduction, BEFORE ‘I DO’ features actors Jensen Atwood and Omar Gooding as small town firefighters with the former’s character “Caleb” facing a midlife crossroads after being stood up at the altar. Andrea Kelly, Danielle Ward, Kathleen Turner, Michael Pittman, Joel Patrick King, and Camara also appear as various friends, allies, and romantic interests. Since a spring 2015 premiere has already been hinted by Conner, such as the one held in the capital city for JUMP IN last March, we have no doubt an announcement on that front is forthcoming.

You can hear a bit more about BEFORE ‘I DO’ from Conner, Atwood, Gooding, and Kelly in the news segment below. Please watch this space for more things Predestined!

~ Jason Pankoke


Calendar du C-U: February 20-26

February 21st, 2015

Our unique movie and media Calendar appears every Friday on C-U Blogfidential and caters to the discerning tastes of citizens in the downstate region anchored by Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, USA.

~~~~~

PLAYING THIS WEEK
2/20/15-2/26/15

MILESTONES

Happy Birthday toSaturday, February 21: Eric Benson (co-host, Damian Duffy Hates Everything podcast) … Thursday, February 26: Troy Michael (publisher, Innocent Words magazine) … celebrate!


NOW PLAYING

@ The Art Theater Co-op, Champaign, IL: STILL ALICE (2/20 on), Essential Cinema 008: HAROLD AND MAUDE (2/20, 2/21, 2/26, 10 p.m.), Krannert Art Museum presents HAIRY WHO & THE CHICAGO IMAGISTS w/writer John Corbett and artist Karl Wirsum (2/23, 7:30 p.m.), Sola Gratia Farm and Eastern Illinois Food Bank present A PLACE AT THE TABLE (2/24, 7:30 p.m.)

@ Pine Lounge, Main Floor, Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL: Illini Union Board presents “Friday Night Films” feat. THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY, PART 1 (2/20, 7 p.m., free)

@ Carmike 13, Champaign, IL: PASS THE LIGHT (2/22, 1:30 & 4:30 p.m.; 2/24, 2/26, 1 & 7 p.m.)

@ Goodrich Savoy 16, Savoy, IL: FINDING VIVIAN MAIER (2/23, 5 & 7 p.m.)

@ Room 104, English Building, UIUC, Urbana, IL: Illini Film & Video meeting (2/26, 8 p.m.)

@ That’s Rentertainment, Champaign, IL: LIFE ITSELF*, BIRDMAN, THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING, ST. VINCENT, THE INTERVIEW, DUMB AND DUMBER TO, THE TALE OF THE PRINCESS KAGUYA, THE HOMESMAN, DYING OF THE LIGHT, V/H/S: VIRAL, GAME OF THRONES (s4), more! (2/17 on)

@ The Avon Theater, Decatur, IL: STILL ALICE, FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE (2/20 on)

@ The Normal Theater, Normal, IL: The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2015: Documentary (2/19, 7 p.m.), Live Action (2/20, 7 p.m.), Animated (2/21, 2/22, 7 p.m.), Bike BloNo fundraiser feat. PEE WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE (2/21, 1 p.m.)

@ AMC Parkway 8 Theatre, Springfield, IL: Springfield Art Association presents the Molly Schlich Independent | International Film Series feat. FORCE MAJEURE (2/22, 1 & 4 p.m.; 2/24, 7 p.m.)

@ SIU Student Center, etc., Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL: 37th annual Big Muddy Film Festival (2/24-3/1) Program

@ The Lincoln Theater 4, Lincoln, IL: THE IMITATION GAME, FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE, THE SPONGEBOB MOVIE: SPONGE OUT OF WATER (3-D & 2-D) (2/20 on)

@ The Onarga Theatre, Onarga, IL: MCFARLAND, USA (2/20 on)

@ The Princess Theatre, Leroy, IL: TAKEN 3, PADDINGTON (2/20-2/22)

@ The Little Lorraine, Hoopeston, IL: Save the Lorraine Foundation screenings feat. DUMB AND DUMBER TO (2/20-2/22)

@ ABC-TV: 87th annual Academy Awards presentation (2/22, 6 p.m. CST)

UPDATE! @ Harvest Moon Twin Drive-In, Gibson City, IL: Season begins March 20!

@ Route 66 Twin Drive-In, Springfield, IL: Closed for the season!

UPDATE! @ Centerbrook Drive-In, Martinsville, IN: Season begins March 20!

<><><><><>

Locally produced movies and events featuring locally produced movies are marked with an asterisk (*). Also find out what is “Coming Soon” by hitting the jump below. Go see ‘em, C-U!

Read the rest of this entry »

Calendar du C-U: February 13-19

February 13th, 2015

Our unique movie and media Calendar appears every Friday on C-U Blogfidential and caters to the discerning tastes of citizens in the downstate region anchored by Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, USA.

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PLAYING THIS WEEK
2/13/15-2/19/15

LOCAL FILMS, ETC.

LIFE ITSELF * U.S. DVD release: Tuesday, 2/17, via Magnolia Home Entertainment, Los Angeles, CA/Kartemquin Films, Chicago, IL


NOW PLAYING

@ The Art Theater Co-op, Champaign, IL: STILL ALICE (2/13 on), Education Justice Project presents MIDDLE OF NOWHERE w/discussion (2/15, 7:30 p.m., free), Essential Cinema 007: THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE (1962; 2/16, 7:30 p.m.), Transnational Solidarity Initiative presents CONCERNING VIOLENCE w/discussion (2/17, 7:30 p.m., free), The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2015: Animation (2/18-2/19, 10 p.m.), Valentine’s Day Late Night: DIRTY DANCING (2/13, 2/14, 10 p.m.)

@ Pine Lounge, Main Floor, Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL: Illini Union Board presents “Friday Night Films” feat. HORRIBLE BOSSES 2 (2/13, 7 p.m., free)

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL: Reel Deals presents “Date Night Series” feat. SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (2/13, 7 p.m.), The News-Gazette Film Series presents THE PHILADELPHIA STORY (2/14, 1 & 7 p.m.)

@ Carmike 13, Champaign, IL: SOMEWHERE ONLY WE KNOW (2/14 on), PASS THE LIGHT (2/14, 4:30 p.m.; 2/15, 1:30 & 4:30 p.m.)

@ Goodrich Savoy 16, Savoy, IL: KEEP ON KEEPIN’ ON (2/16, 5 & 7 p.m.)

@ WILL-TV, Campbell Hall, UIUC, Urbana, IL: Champaign Movie Makers meeting, “BYOG: Camera Movement” (2/17, 7 p.m., free)

@ Room 104, English Building, UIUC, Urbana, IL: Illini Film & Video meeting (2/19, 8 p.m.)

@ That’s Rentertainment, Champaign, IL: NIGHTCRAWLER, ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY, FORCE MAJEURE, ROSEWATER, KILL THE MESSENGER, ADDICTED, LAGGIES, NURSE JACKIE (s6), more! (2/10 on)

@ The Avon Theater, Decatur, IL: FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE, THE SPONGEBOB MOVIE: SPONGE OUT OF WATER (3-D & 2-D) (2/13 on)

@ The Normal Theater, Normal, IL: CASABLANCA (2/12-2/15, 7 p.m.), HOOVEY (2/14, 1 p.m.)

@ AMC Parkway 8 Theatre, Springfield, IL: Springfield Art Association presents the Molly Schlich Independent | International Film Series feat. THE SKELETON TWINS (2/15, 1 & 4 p.m.; 2/17, 7 p.m.)

@ The Lincoln Theater 4, Lincoln, IL: FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE, JUPITER ASCENDING (3-D & 2-D), THE SPONGEBOB MOVIE: SPONGE OUT OF WATER (3-D & 2-D) (2/13 on)

@ The Onarga Theatre, Onarga, IL: THE SPONGEBOB MOVIE: SPONGE OUT OF WATER (2/13 on)

@ The Princess Theatre, Leroy, IL: INTO THE WOODS (2/13-2/15), 101 DALMATIONS (1961; 2/14, 11 a.m.)

@ The Little Lorraine, Hoopeston, IL: Save the Lorraine Foundation screenings feat. 101 DALMATIONS (1961; 2/13-2/15) to benefit Hoopeston Animal Shelter (cash or pet items accepted)

@ Harvest Moon Twin Drive-In, Gibson City, IL: Closed for the season!

@ Route 66 Twin Drive-In, Springfield, IL: Closed for the season!

@ Centerbrook Drive-In, Martinsville, IN: Closed for the season!

<><><><><>

Locally produced movies and events featuring locally produced movies are marked with an asterisk (*). Also find out what is “Coming Soon” by hitting the jump below. Go see ‘em, C-U!

Read the rest of this entry »

Calendar du C-U: February 6-12

February 6th, 2015

Our unique movie and media Calendar appears every Friday on C-U Blogfidential and caters to the discerning tastes of citizens in the downstate region anchored by Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, USA.

~~~~~

PLAYING THIS WEEK
2/6/15-2/12/15

MILESTONES

Happy Birthday toSaturday, February 7: Laura Cynkar (crew, UP THE CREEK) … Sunday, February 8: Robin Christian (writer/director, LOWLIFES) … Tuesday, February 10: Abigail Graham (creator, THE ABIGAIL SHOW) … celebrate!


LOCAL FILMS, ETC.

@ Sleepy Creek Vineyards, Fairmount, IL: Sleepy Creek Gong Show feat. UP THE CREEK (2/7, 6:15 p.m. UTC episodes, 7 p.m. live show w/UTC cast members as judges, $5)


NOW PLAYING

@ The Art Theater Co-op, Champaign, IL: FOXCATCHER (2/6 on), The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2015: Animation (2/6-2/7, 2/11-2/12), Live Action (2/6-2/8, 2/11-2/12), CITIZENFOUR (2/7-2/9, 2/11), ACLU of Champaign County presents OVERCRIMINALIZED w/discussion (2/10, 7:30 p.m., free)

@ Pine Lounge, Main Floor, Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL: Illini Union Board presents “Friday Night Films” feat. BEYOND THE LIGHTS (2/6, 7 p.m., free)

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL: Reel Deals presents “Date Night Series” feat. MOONSTRUCK (2/9, 2/10, 7 p.m.), ANNIE HALL (2/11, 2/12, 7 p.m.)

@ Goodrich Savoy 16, Savoy, IL: THE OVERNIGHTERS (2/9, 5 & 7 p.m.)

@ Room 104, English Building, UIUC, Urbana, IL: Illini Film & Video meeting (2/12, 8 p.m.)

@ That’s Rentertainment, Champaign, IL: DRACULA UNTOLD, JOHN WICK, THE BEST OF ME, OUIJA, DEAR WHITE PEOPLE, THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ELEANOR RIGBY, WHY DON’T YOU PLAY IN HELL?, RICHARD PRYOR: OMIT THE LOGIC, FOOD CHAIN$, NAS: TIME IS ILLMATIC, VIDEO GAMES: THE MOVIE, TRICKED, more! (2/3 on)

@ The Avon Theater, Decatur, IL: SELMA, THE SPONGEBOB MOVIE: SPONGE OUT OF WATER, AMERICAN SNIPER (2/6 on)

@ The Normal Theater, Normal, IL: HOOVEY (2/5, 7 p.m., sold out, benefits Advocate BroMenn; 2/6, 7p.m., sold out, benefits Fellowship of Christian Athletes), FOXCATCHER (2/7-2/8, 7 p.m.)

@ AMC Parkway 8 Theatre, Springfield, IL: Springfield Art Association presents the Molly Schlich Independent | International Film Series feat. FORCE MAJEURE (2/8, 1 & 4 p.m.; 2/10, 7 p.m.)

@ The Lincoln Theater 4, Lincoln, IL: JUPITER ASCENDING (3-D & 2-D), THE SPONGEBOB MOVIE: SPONGE OUT OF WATER (3-D & 2-D), PROJECT ALMANAC, AMERICAN SNIPER (2/6 on)

@ The Onarga Theatre, Onarga, IL: THE SPONGEBOB MOVIE: SPONGE OUT OF WATER (2/6 on)

@ The Princess Theatre, Leroy, IL: UNBROKEN (2/6-2/8), ANNIE (2/7-2/8)

@ The Little Lorraine, Hoopeston, IL: Save the Lorraine Foundation screenings feat. GOD’S NOT DEAD (2/6, 2/8), CAMP HARLOW (2/7), HEAVEN IS FOR REAL (2/7) to benefit Grant Township Food Pantry (cash or non-perishable foods accepted)

@ Harvest Moon Twin Drive-In, Gibson City, IL: Closed for the season!

@ Route 66 Twin Drive-In, Springfield, IL: Closed for the season!

@ Centerbrook Drive-In, Martinsville, IN: Closed for the season!

<><><><><>

Locally produced movies and events featuring locally produced movies are marked with an asterisk (*). Also find out what is “Coming Soon” by hitting the jump below. Go see ‘em, C-U!

Read the rest of this entry »

Building NAFF-ticipation no longer

February 5th, 2015

You might have noticed we are late this winter in pushing the filmmakers amidst our Champaign-Urbana masses to prep their current movie projects for potential inclusion in the sixth annual New Art Film Festival, our local showcase traditionally couched within the Boneyard Arts Festival schedule and staged at the Art Theater Co-op. Feels a touch less manic to not be hearing from your humble editor-turned-festival programmer about the topic, yes?

There is good reason for the delay. After several weeks of deep consideration, we can reveal that we are rescheduling the next NAFF for the near future, most likely in fall 2015. It is hardly our favorite decision but a necessary one. Among many angles we had to weigh before making this call, two involved giving the Art Co-op the programming flexibility to book at will opposite Roger Ebert’s Film Festival as well as allowing yours truly a much-needed window to begin tackling financial and health issues that have been badgering me for far too long. This move certainly takes the NAFF and our community’s best-made movies out of the springtime slot we’ve enjoyed, but we hope to play on the strengths that September or October may give us in terms of potential cross-over with arts events in our region already set for that part of the calendar.

Once we settle on a make-up date with Art general manager Austin McCann, we will announce! You can also keep an eye out for subtle upgrades to both the official NAFF Web site and Facebook page in the coming weeks. Finally, other promoters can inquire about limited NAFF participation in or co-sponsorship of their own events taking place between Boneyard and early first semester of the 2015-16 University of Illinois academic year. At times, we have to creatively meet challenges in the best interests of this key outlet for C-U cinema. We trust all the valuable NAFF audience members out there would do the same alongside us.

Please take a few moments to provide feedback on how you could see the New Art Film Festival improve and thrive in its new time slot, so to speak. Thanks a heap for your past and future patronage!

~ Jason Pankoke

p.s. We have no comment at this time about returning the NAFF to April beginning in 2016. Let’s first put on the upcoming show and see how the community responds!

p.s.2 What, did you people think we would unceremoniously shuttle the NAFF someplace else like, oh, Arkansas? Rest assured this is a show that must go on … but only right here, where everybody knows our good name.

Noting the needful film things

January 31st, 2015

And a good Saturday to you, film faithful du C-U Blogfidential! We’d like to plunk down one of our patented omnibus posts to help you catch up on cinematic activities stemming from Champaign, Urbana, and the cities beyond. This time, our particular stress is in helping out these respective parties with their goals and strengthening our media-making subculture in the process. However much or little you can provide or participate, we think you will find both satisfaction and fun in enabling their success! To that end…

A need for student-written film scripts and student-made films has been signaled by the Champaign-Urbana Film Society, which is now accepting entries for both its third annual Pens to Lens Screenwriting Competition and first-ever Pens to Lens High School Film Festival. Winning entries of the former will be made into short subjects by local filmmakers as in prior years; those finished works, as well as the chosen submissions from the latter, will be presented during gala public showings at summer’s end…

A need for extras and other crew positions has been voiced by Danny Hill, a young video producer and photographer from Champaign who is in pre-production on his first full-length movie, HOLLY, described as a “fast-paced thriller” per this Facebook page. Other HD Productions projects include the comedy Web series DOWNTOWN and an Internet interview show, ALMOST INTIMATE. CUBlog previously told you about Hill’s zombie apocalypse short INFECTION two years ago…

A need for fundraising has arisen for Champaign filmmaker Robin Christian and Dreamscape Cinema as they begin development of a documentary titled LIVES MATTER, which will aim to tell “both sides of these very real stories” stemming from aggravated encounters between police officers and urban youth. Dreamscape is seeking $25,000 to cover production and promotional costs; the Kickstarter campaign runs through Friday, February 13. Enlisted to narrate is actor Quinton Aaron of THE BLIND SIDE

A need for dedicated board members has been proposed by the Art Theater Co-op in Champaign. They are accepting applications from current co-op members through Sunday, February 22, to fill three vacant seats on their Board of Directors. Candidates will then state their respective cases for inclusion during the annual owners’ meeting at the Champaign Public Library on Sunday, March 1, after which votes will be cast. Please write the [dot] art [dot] theater [at] gmail [dot] com for details or hit the link above to apply…

A need for holding an organization to its word has been self-implicated by David Thiel, the program director of WILL-TV 12 in Urbana and a sitting Art Theater board member, who offered a commentary on the local PBS affiliate’s Web site earlier this week “restating our commitment [at WILL] to independent films.” This stance is mainly in reference to documentaries and showcases of the same such as P.O.V.; we do remind the station to step up its game in narrative and locally-based content as well…

And finally, a need for supporting independent publishing has been highly implied in an e-mail blast sent out by Michael Wiese Productions, the California-based specialty imprint founded by Urbana native Michael Wiese nearly 30 years ago. In this case, a 75% off sale of select titles in the MWP library, your business can help them help you if you happen to be a budding filmmaker, producer, cinematographer, screenwriter, et cetera. The discount applies to these volumes between now and Sunday, March 22!

We’ll discuss another need for supporting independent publishing with you in a week or so. Stay tuned!

~ Jason Pankoke

Calendar du C-U: Jan. 30-Feb. 5

January 30th, 2015

Our unique movie and media Calendar appears every Friday on C-U Blogfidential and caters to the discerning tastes of citizens in the downstate region anchored by Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, USA.

~~~~~

PLAYING THIS WEEK
1/30/15-2/5/15

MILESTONES

Happy Birthday toFriday, January 30: Eric Watkins (music composer, THE THINKING MOLECULES OF TITAN) … celebrate!


NOW PLAYING

@ The Art Theater Co-op, Champaign, IL: SELMA (1/30-2/1, 2/4-2/5), The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2015: Animation (1/30-2/1, 2/4-2/5), Live Action (1/31-2/5), The Land Conservation Foundation, the Illinois Program in Law and Philosophy, and the Women and Gender in Global Perspectives Program present A FIERCE GREEN FIRE (2/2, 7 p.m.), Essential Cinema 006: M (1931; 1/30, 1/31, 2/5, 10 p.m.; 2/3, 7:30 p.m. w/discussion)

@ Pine Lounge, Main Floor, Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL: Illini Union Board presents “Friday Night Films” feat. DUMB AND DUMBER TO (1/30, 7 p.m., free)

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL: Reel Deals presents “Cold Weather Comedy” feat. THE BLUES BROTHERS (1/30, 7 p.m.), FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF (1/31, 1 & 7 p.m.), Reel Deals presents ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY (2/3-2/5, 7 p.m.)

@ Goodrich Savoy 16, Savoy, IL: THE GREAT INVISIBLE (2/2, 5 & 7 p.m.)

@ Room 104, English Building, UIUC, Urbana, IL: Illini Film & Video meeting (2/5, 8 p.m.)

@ That’s Rentertainment, Champaign, IL: FURY, THE JUDGE, THE BOOK OF LIFE, BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP, MY OLD LADY, ART AND CRAFT, DOWNTON ABBEY (s5), more! (1/27 on)

@ The Avon Theater, Decatur, IL: WHIPLASH, AMERICAN SNIPER, THE IMITATION GAME (1/30 on), “More of the Best of Hitchcock” film classes (Thursdays through 3/19, register @ the Avon)

@ The Normal Theater, Normal, IL: GROUNDHOG DAY (1/29-1/30, 7 p.m.), EchoLight Cinemas presents World Premiere: HOOVEY w/director Sean McNamara & filmmakers, meet-and-greet event (1/31, 7 p.m., $25), HOOVEY (2/1-2/4, 7 p.m., $8, tickets sold 2/2-2/4 benefit local organizations; 2/5, 7 p.m., sold out, benefits Advocate BroMenn)

@ AMC Parkway 8 Theatre, Springfield, IL: Springfield Art Association presents the Molly Schlich Independent | International Film Series feat. IDA (2/1, 1 & 4 p.m.; 2/3, 7 p.m.)

@ The Lincoln Theater 4, Lincoln, IL: PROJECT ALMANAC, STRANGE MAGIC, AMERICAN SNIPER, PADDINGTON (1/30 on)

@ The Onarga Theatre, Onarga, IL: AMERICAN SNIPER (1/30-2/4)

@ The Princess Theatre, Leroy, IL: ANNIE (1/30-2/1)

@ The Little Lorraine, Hoopeston, IL: Save the Lorraine Foundation fundraiser screenings feat. THE BOOK OF LIFE (1/30-2/1)

@ Gene Siskel Film Center/Columbia College, Chicago, IL: 26th annual Onion City Experimental Film and Video Festival (through 2/1)

@ various venues, Park City, UT: 31st annual Sundance Film Festival (through 2/1)

@ Harvest Moon Twin Drive-In, Gibson City, IL: Closed for the season!

@ Route 66 Twin Drive-In, Springfield, IL: Closed for the season!

@ Centerbrook Drive-In, Martinsville, IN: Closed for the season!

<><><><><>

Locally produced movies and events featuring locally produced movies are marked with an asterisk (*). Also find out what is “Coming Soon” by hitting the jump below. Go see ‘em, C-U!

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IOW: Go BTS in local ART series

January 23rd, 2015

Confidential practitioners! This week is a very good week for us to let our newest “Image of the Week” do the talking on behalf of our film and video brethren. (Don’t worry, your humble editor will throw down pontifications aplenty beginning next week in regards to C-U Confdential #8 and #9, the New Art Film Festival, and other choice topics.) WILL-TV at the University of Illinois has just released a new artist profile series called ART: BEHIND THE SCENES, produced by Tim Meyers with photography and editing assistance from Issac Musgrave, which is now available on YouTube and set to appear on the PBS affiliate. Running approximately three minutes each, the slickly-produced vignettes introduce viewers to individuals who create significant work as Champaign County residents. Three of these first eight are devoted to very familiar faces: Nina Paley, the alternative cartoonist and SITA SINGS THE BLUES filmmaker, Thomas Nicol, the stop-motion animator and Champaign Movie Makers director, and Deke Weaver, a UIUC associate professor in the School of Art and Design and the performance artist behind the “Unreliable Bestiary” multimedia experiences.

Season One of ART/BTS, also including musicians Ryan Groff and T.R.U.T.H., fiber artist Ann Coddington Rast, painter Langston Allston, and tattoo artist Ainslie Heilich, was produced by WILL/Illinois Public Media in partnership with 40 North 88 West and is partially supported by an Illinois Arts Council grant. This project seems to be a successor to the “Artists at Work Video Series” made last year by 40 North’s programs and events coordinator, Amanda Baker.

~ Jason Pankoke


Calendar du C-U: January 23-29

January 23rd, 2015

Our unique movie and media Calendar appears every Friday on C-U Blogfidential and caters to the discerning tastes of citizens in the downstate region anchored by Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, USA.

~~~~~

PLAYING THIS WEEK
1/23/15-1/29/15

MILESTONES

Happy Birthday toFriday, January 23: Ashlea Thomsen (former vice president, Illini Film & Video) … Monday, January 26: Mike Watt (contributor, MICRO-FILM) … celebrate!


LOCAL FILMS, ETC.

@ CNN (Comcast Channel 43 in C-U): Broadcast encore: LIFE ITSELF* (1/25, 7 CST)


NOW PLAYING

@ The Art Theater Co-op, Champaign, IL: SELMA (1/23 on; 1/26, 7 p.m., w/discussion panel), MEET THE MORMONS (1/27, 7 p.m.), Essential Cinema 005: BLADE RUNNER: THE FINAL CUT (1/23, 1/24, 1/29, 10 p.m.)

@ Pine Lounge, Main Floor, Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL: Illini Union Board presents “Friday Night Films” feat. BIG HERO 6 (1/23, 7 p.m., free)

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL: The News-Gazette Film Series presents WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION (1/24, 1 & 7 p.m.), Reel Deals presents “Cold Weather Comedy” feat. BEETLEJUICE (1/26, 1/27, 7 p.m.), CADDYSHACK (1/28, 1/29, 7 p.m.)

@ Goodrich Savoy 16, Savoy, IL: FOLLOWING THE NINTH: IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF BEETHOVEN’S FINAL SYMPHONY (1/26, 5 & 7 p.m.)

@ Room 104, English Building, UIUC, Urbana, IL: Illini Film & Video meeting (1/29, 8 p.m.)

@ That’s Rentertainment, Champaign, IL: LUCY, ANNABELLE, THE DROP, RUDDERLESS, THE ZERO THEOREM, WHITE BIRD IN A BLIZZARD, COHERENCE, more! (1/20 on)

@ The Avon Theater, Decatur, IL: WHIPLASH, AMERICAN SNIPER, THE IMITATION GAME (1/23 on), “More of the Best of Hitchcock” film classes (Thursdays, 1/29-3/19, register @ the Avon)

@ The Normal Theater, Normal, IL: THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE (1/22-1/25, 7 p.m.)

@ AMC Parkway 8 Theatre, Springfield, IL: Springfield Art Association presents the Molly Schlich Independent | International Film Series feat. THE LIBERATOR (1/25, 1 & 4 p.m.; 1/27, 7 p.m.)

@ The Lincoln Theater 4, Lincoln, IL: STRANGE MAGIC, WILD, AMERICAN SNIPER, PADDINGTON (1/23 on)

@ The Onarga Theatre, Onarga, IL: PADDINGTON (1/23-1/25, 1/28)

@ The Princess Theatre, Leroy, IL: THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES (1/23-1/25), THE BOXTROLLS (1/24, 11 a.m., free)

@ The Little Lorraine, Hoopeston, IL: Save the Lorraine Foundation fundraiser screenings feat. THE BOXTROLLS (1/23-1/25)

@ Gene Siskel Film Center/Columbia College, Chicago, IL: 26th annual Onion City Experimental Film and Video Festival (1/28-2/1)

@ various venues, Park City, UT: 31st annual Sundance Film Festival (through 2/1)

@ Treasure Mountain Inn, etc., Park City, UT: 21st annual Slamdance Film Festival (1/23-1/29)

@ Harvest Moon Twin Drive-In, Gibson City, IL: Closed for the season!

@ Route 66 Twin Drive-In, Springfield, IL: Closed for the season!

@ Centerbrook Drive-In, Martinsville, IN: Closed for the season!

<><><><><>

Locally produced movies and events featuring locally produced movies are marked with an asterisk (*). Also find out what is “Coming Soon” by hitting the jump below. Go see ‘em, C-U!

Read the rest of this entry »

2001 was quite HALarious, too…

January 18th, 2015

Confidential space cases! We’ve been struggling to finish C-U Confidential #8 but our new hope is to nail the outstanding elements in the next week en route to hitting those presses and jump-starting the spring issue. Luckily, we have just the intergalactic divergence to keep you entertained if the Stanley Kubrick/Arthur C. Clarke masterwork 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY is your style!

A few days ago, our friend Luke Boyce of Shatterglass Studios in Champaign made the discovery that Hollywood workaholic Steven Soderbergh had released a “fan edit” of 2001 this past Wednesday, January 14, tucked away on his boutique Web site Extension 765 and credited to the nom de plume “W. de Rijk.” Within the same evening, University of Illinois alumnus and scholar in robotics ethics Dr. Peter Asaro pointed out this 2001 homage in the form of wallpapers and Flash backgrounds, a work-in-progress designed by Mike Dillinger of OVNI Armada that has possibly been hiding deep inside an Internet crater for a few years now. Finally, your humble editor attempted to locate The Making of Kubrick’s 2001 edited by Jerome Agel (Signet Books/NAL, 1970) that he remembered appearing on several genre pages two years ago. No such luck for him, as copyright infringement notices now stand in for the digital facsimile, so enthusiasts will have to dredge up physical copies on their own or instead read 2001: Filming the Future by Piers Bizony (Aurum Press, 1994) at the Urbana Free Library or merely salivate over the sold out, limited edition, four-volume expansion by Bizony and Parisian design house M/M, The Making of Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey, released by Taschen last summer.

Chances are pretty good none of you dearest readers would’ve had 1,000 bones to toss away for the pleasure of caressing that monolithic marvel. Don’t lie. HAL is watching you.

~ Jason Pankoke

p.s. Regarding the Agel title, a 350-page compendium of miscellanea including several Kubrick and Clarke interviews, media coverage and criticism of the time, numerous stills, myriad fact sheets, and the Clarke short story “The Sentinel” that inspired 2001we can confirm a young Roger Ebert is excerpted quite enigmatically on page 239.

p.s.2 The fictional relationship between Urbana, the University of Illinois, and the HAL-9000 computer, as dramatized in both the filmed and novelized 2001, is what justifies an occasional mention here on C-U Blogfidential. Nonetheless, it begot a one-shot campus event in 1997 called Cyberfest, which indirectly begot Roger Ebert’s Overlooked Film Festival in 1999, which directly begot the inevitable “Ebertfest” screening of 2001 in 2001 … because, 2001.

p.s.3 Of course we’d find another HAL-9000 simulator while fact-checking this post. We do it all for you, cyberfriends!

Q&A du C-U: Jessie Seitz

January 17th, 2015

“Alt Film is Alive”
A short interview with the Art Co-op’s Jessie Seitz about her film, FIVE

by Jason Pankoke

Every now and then, a past participant in MICRO-FILM era movie culture connects with our fair twin cities, often sharing their work or knowledge accumulated in the world at large with our friends and neighbors. We at C-U Blogfidential get a kick out of witnessing these individuals cross paths. As a timely example, who could foresee that a former member of a Midwest production company with long-term MF ties would be screening her own film publicly, for the very first time, in Champaign? Here comes that déjà vu all over again…

Apart from festivals and other special events, we typically do not cover specific picture shows in the schedule of the Art Theater Co-op, 126 W. Church St., Champaign, but today we make an exception for the unorthodox choice of THE MANSON FAMILY. A key underground feature to emerge during the proliferation of specialty DVD labels in the mid-2000s, your humble editor has been waiting for a long time to see this fever dream concocted by outlaw filmmaker Jim VanBebber (DEADBEAT AT DAWN) and scraped together over 15 years beginning in the late Eighties.

Tonight at 10 p.m., the Art will present a restored, high-definition MANSON brought out by Los Angeles-based Severin Films in 2013 via limited theatrical release and a widely available Blu-ray. This marks the film’s public debut in Champaign-Urbana; the same can also be said for the short subject accompanying it titled FIVE, a creation of Art staff member Jessie Seitz who is currently attending the University of Illinois. Coincidentally, this is not the first time her name will have reflected off the silver screen at the Art!

A transplant from St. Louis, Seitz amassed post-production experience on the direct-to-video output of that city’s Wicked Pixel Cinema and its founder Eric Stanze, who provided one of our very first interviews for MICRO-FILM back in 1999. Her recent WPC credits include an executive producer stint on their self-released Nazi thriller RATLINE and as an associate producer and documentarian on the science-fiction tinged DEADWOOD PARK, distributed by Cinema Epoch in 2007 and featured at the Art’s inaugural New Art Film Festival in 2010.

Please hit the jump to enjoy our brief chat with Seitz about FIVE, described on IMDb.com as “[unveiling] life in a small Midwest factory town, as seen through the eyes of a five-year-old girl. It is the story of her last summer before kindergarten begins, a tale of the last days of pure youth.” If you miss out on tonight, be sure to watch FIVE – starring VanBebber and Amanda Pemberton and executive produced by Stanze – on Amazon Instant Video, or submit to THE MANSON FAMILY sans FIVE next Thursday, January 22, 10 p.m., at the Art.

Read on, MacDuff…

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