Calendar: January 19-25, 2018

January 20th, 2018

Our movie and media Calendar appears every Friday/Saturday on C-U Blogfidential and caters to the downstate region anchored by Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, USA.

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MILESTONES | Happy Birthday to You!

1/20: Thomas Polk (director, GNARLED ALLIANCE, Pens to Lens 2017)


NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ The Art Theater, Champaign, IL
PHANTOM THREAD (1/19 on), TAXI DRIVER (1/19, 1/20, 10 p.m.), WENDY AND LUCY (1/23, 7 p.m.)

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
12 STRONG, DEN OF THIEVES, FOREVER MY GIRL, THE COMMUTER, FERDINAND, THE GREATEST SHOWMAN, INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY, JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE, PADDINGTON 2, PITCH PERFECT 3, THE POST, PROUD MARY, STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI, THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING MISSOURI (1/19 on), THE MAZE RUNNER: THE DEATH CURE (1/25 on)

@ Family Video, Champaign-Urbana, IL
BLADE RUNNER 2049, HAPPY DEATH DAY, THE SNOWMAN, HOLLOW IN THE LAND, BEYOND SKYLINE, LOVE BEATS RHYMES, ALMOST FRIENDS, BETTER CALL SAUL (s3), more! (1/16 on)

@ Goodrich Savoy 16, Savoy, IL
12 STRONG, CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, DEN OF THIEVES, PHANTOM THREAD, THE COMMUTER, DARKEST HOUR, FERDINAND, THE GREATEST SHOWMAN, INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY, I, TONYA, JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE, LADY BIRD, MOLLY’S GAME, PADDINGTON 2, THE POST, PROUD MARY, STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI, THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING MISSOURI (1/19 on), ALIEN (1/21, 1/24), THE MAZE RUNNER: THE DEATH CURE (1/25 on)

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Weekend Films at the Union” feat. WONDER, Pine Lounge (1/19-1/20, 7 p.m., free w/i-card)

@ Lincoln Hall, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Film & Video meeting, Room 1022 (1/22, 7 p.m.)

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
SLUMDOG MILLIONARE (1/23, 1/25, 7 p.m.)

Events featuring locally produced movies are marked with an asterisk (*). Additional “Now Playing” and “Coming Soon” listings appear after the jump!

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Calendar: January 12-18, 2018

January 14th, 2018

Our movie and media Calendar appears every Friday/Saturday on C-U Blogfidential and caters to the downstate region anchored by Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, USA.

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MILESTONES | Happy Birthday to You!

1/12: Damian Duffy (cohost, Damian Duffy After Dark podcast)
1/18: Michelle Kaffko Ebner (photographer, Organic Headshots)


LOCAL FILMS, ETC. | Support Your Media Storytellers

@ Champaign Public Library, Champaign, IL
Champaign Movie Makers meeting, “Champaign Screenwriters Presents”*, Robeson Pavilion Room A (1/16, 7 p.m., free)

@ Lafayette Club, Bloomington IL
CHRISTMAS CRASHERS production informational meeting (1/14, 2:30 p.m., free) Contact


NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ The Art Theater, Champaign, IL
TOM OF FINLAND (1/12 on), SELMA (1/15, 7:15 p.m.)

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
THE COMMUTER, PADDINGTON 2, THE POST, PROUD MARY, ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD, COCO, THE DISASTER ARTIST, FERDINAND, THE GREATEST SHOWMAN, INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY, JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE, MARSHALL, PITCH PERFECT 3, STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI, MOLLY’S GAME, THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING MISSOURI, WONDER (1/12 on), 12 STRONG, DEN OF THIEVES (1/18 on)

@ Family Video, Champaign-Urbana, IL
IT, MARSHALL, THE FOREIGNER, FRIEND REQUEST, MY LITTLE PONY: THE MOVIE, MARK FELT: THE MAN WHO BROUGHT DOWN THE WHITE HOUSE, NOVEMBER CRIMINALS, BULLET HEAD, more! (1/9 on)

@ Goodrich Savoy 16, Savoy, IL
THE COMMUTER, I, TONYA, PADDINGTON 2, THE POST, PROUD MARY, COCO, DARKEST HOUR, FERDINAND, THE GREATEST SHOWMAN, INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY, JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE, LADY BIRD, MOLLY’S GAME, PITCH PERFECT 3, STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI, THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING MISSOURI (1/12 on), The Metropolitan Opera: OPERA HOUSE (1/13, 1/17), HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS (1/14, 1/17), MARY AND THE WITCH’S FLOWER premiere event (1/18, 7 p.m. dubbed, 8 p.m. subtitled)

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
The News-Gazette Film Series: ARSENIC AND OLD LACE (1/13, 1 & 7 p.m.), CHINATOWN (1/16, 1/18, 7 p.m.)

Events featuring locally produced movies are marked with an asterisk (*). Additional “Now Playing” and “Coming Soon” listings appear after the jump!

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Suede Chain to art-rock C-U anew

January 6th, 2018

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Directly following the lead of our last post, in which we talked about the inherent joy we feel in seeing the past of Champaign-Urbana creative media dovetail into the present, we revisit a curiosity evoked in the pages of C-U Confidential #9 last year. Although we used the VHS promotional tape of DREAM WHEEL CIRCUS more as a vehicle to illustrate points about exploration and discovery in our local culture, we want to fully address (and picture) it today since it is related to a rare event that your humble editor has been pining for since, well, the sextet in question split up two decades ago.

Collinsville, IL, and St. Louis, MO, natives Matt Docter (vocals/lead guitar), Jason Docter (drums/vocals), Brian Krumm (guitar/vocals), Brian Hunt (bass), Mary Weingartner (violin/vocals), and Jake Brookman (cello) previously made up The Suede Chain, one of Ye Ed’s favorite local bands from the Nineties when he finally stopped worrying and learned to love live music. We suddenly have the privilege to hear what seasoned performers can do with the aggressively muscular art-rock of their C-U college years, given the demands of personal lives and professional careers that have thwarted prior attempts to reunite. After playing their first gig since 1997 in St. Louis last night, The Suede Chain will finish what they’ve started later tonight, Saturday, January 6, at Cowboy Monkey, 6 Taylor St., Champaign, beginning at 8:30 p.m. Opening solo is Chicago musician and studio engineer Brian Leach, a friend of the band who also plays in the brawny blues-rock combo The Great Crusades with Krumm and Hunt. Tickets are $15 at the door and we know the experience will be worth the extra bones.

Fans in the same age bracket as the musicians should hit that bonus sweet spot of nostalgia when enjoying the show from the same stage where many of them would have heard the band for the first time, back during the venue’s iteration as Chris Knight’s original Blind Pig Company. We recall the live sound of The Suede Chain adding heft to the rich melodies and arrangements found on their albums ripplemark (1994) and Piloted by Ghosts (1996), released by Mud Records of Urbana and not impossible to find at nearby shops like Exile on Main Street and Record Swap. You can learn more about their story from recent interviews in Troy Michael’s long-running Webzine Innocent Words as well as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. We imagine the crowd will be thoroughly enthralled by the experience in the best ways.

So, we arrive at contributing to a Suede Chain legacy that isn’t well defined since their departure coincided with the dawn of Internet everything. The second of two conceptual public performances by them after “Rust,” “Dream Wheel Circus” took place multiple times between April 22 and April 24, 1994, in a vacated Champaign storefront that would soon house Radio Maria. As shown in DREAM WHEEL CIRCUS, attendees walked through a ground floor maze to reach an art gallery and refreshments, after which they went upstairs to sit before a large canvas stretched across the loft. Apart from the opening number, The Suede Chain mostly performed from behind said canvas as actors and dancers mimed a series of vignettes to the music; occasionally, the live component would break for an interlude provided by an impressionistic film short. Band members and friends designed and choreographed the entire show.

Much of the “track listing” of “Dream Wheel Circus” is sourced from ripplemark and earlier release Dry Gulch with the notable absence of their breakout college radio hit, “Daisy Dawn.” In succession, The Suede Chain performed “Show,” “Hold Me in the Trees,” “Cycles,” “Mississippi,” “Lampland,” “Radiance,” “Oli Oli Oxen Free,” “Wine, Flowers, Photograph, Kisses,” “Esophagus,” and “Church House Moan.” Todd Dare recorded audio while Paul Summers and Ian Mitchell lit the space and videotaped the proceedings. Other participants in myriad roles included Nathali Rottier, Nathan Storm, Christian Moder, Thomas Spanos, George Van Dyke, and Mark Saric.

We obtained our copy of DREAM WHEEL CIRCUS from That’s Rentertainment when they closed their satellite location on Lincoln Avenue in Urbana. Were they sold by the band at concerts or solely stocked in a handful of places for customer rental? We don’t know but we’re certain it is equally as scarce as an actual Suede Chain sighting. While the video itself is not otherwise available in any form and it hardly replicates “being there,” we can at least share a facsimile of the cover artwork that we put together just for you! Click on the image below to view the entire design. Maybe if a video master surfaces, some day…

~ Jason Pankoke

p.s. “I awoke the next morning and it was all a dream,” states the back page of the “Dream Wheel Circus” program unearthed by Mud Records’ parent, the Parasol Label Group. In some uncanny way, the act of watching a camcorder recording like DREAM WHEEL CIRCUS on fuzzy VHS tape can replicate a dreamlike sensation in real time. Appropriate, yes?

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Calendar: January 5-11, 2018

January 5th, 2018

Our movie and media Calendar appears every Friday/Saturday on C-U Blogfidential and caters to the downstate region anchored by Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, USA.

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MILESTONES | Happy Birthday to You!

1/8: Michael Stone (cofounder, Illini Film & Video, UIUC)
1/9: Janjay Knowlden (producer, Protagonist Pizza Productions)


NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ The Art Theater, Champaign, IL
TOM OF FINLAND (1/5 on)

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY, MOLLY’S GAME, THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING MISSOURI, ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD, COCO, DOWNSIZING, FERDINAND, THE GREATEST SHOWMAN, JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE, PITCH PERFECT 3, STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI, WONDER (1/5 on)

@ Family Video, Champaign-Urbana, IL
AMERICAN MADE, BATTLE OF THE SEXES, A QUESTION OF FAITH, BRAD’S STATUS, 68 KILL, BREATHE, UNA, THE STOLEN, more! (1/2 on)

@ Goodrich Savoy 16, Savoy, IL
HANSON AND THE BEAST, INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY, MOLLY’S GAME, ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD, COCO, DARKEST HOUR, THE DISASTER ARTIST, DOWNSIZING, FATHER FIGURES, FERDINAND, THE GREATEST SHOWMAN, JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE, PITCH PERFECT 3, STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI (1/5 on), SABRINA (1954; 1/7, 1/10), THE ROOM (1/10, 8 p.m.), ALIEN INTRUSION: UNMASKNG A DECEPTION (1/11, 7 p.m.)

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
FINDING NEMO (1/6, 1 p.m.), FINDING DORY (1/6, 7 p.m.), BRAVEHEART (1/9, 1/11, 7 p.m.)

Events featuring locally produced movies are marked with an asterisk (*). Additional “Now Playing” and “Coming Soon” listings appear after the jump!

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CA 2017 crosses 2018 threshold

December 31st, 2017

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Truth be told, we have moments when we contemplate why the New Art Film Festival and Champaign-Urbana film culture of 2017 does not outwardly resemble or inwardly feel like that which originally stoked our fire in, say, 1997. Times change, people grow, the Twin Cities evolve, and local media tends to reflect its community’s needs, yet we can’t escape the possibility that our own interest level flags. In the thick of NAFF action between mid-summer and the fall, we’re fine; during our down time through the rest of the calendar year, we inevitably self-criticize and question the place or need for our reporting, aggregation, and outreach.

Strangely, it is when we dig deep to bring forth the past that we often feel the most engaged in the present, for we better than most understand the historic groundwork that is the basis for the movies of Champaign, Urbana, and the cities beyond. If nothing else, recalling the early years can only help to reset perspective when our compass du C-U is out of whack. We hope our overall investment is apparent to you, dearest readers, whether we post about the old or the new.

A few months back, we happened to catch a Facebook share by our friend Johnnie May of an early film short he finally digitized and uploaded to stream. Known alternately as CA 1997, CA 1999, and now CA 2017, the stop-motion Super 8 phantasmagoria CASTLE ASSHOLE was designed, animated, and photographed by May and Brian Robertson (MONSTER, NAFF ’17) in the former’s Urbana basement using a mix of art supplies, found objects, discarded toys, mechanical parts, and recyclables. Modest Mussorgsky’s famous composition “Night on Bald Mountain” accompanies a high-seas adventure as pipe cleaner rogues brave a raging storm to make land and cause mischief in the title structure.

The primitive technique is at once charming in its handmade quality and hallucinatory in its leisurely gait, allowing the viewer to study in real time its clever low-budget camera tricks. We don’t remember if CA 1997/1999 surfaced at the Freaky Film Festival after it was first finished – other Tabletop Studios inventions like ISOLATION and COMPLETELY DRESDEN did make the Freaky cut – but it embodies the freewheeling, rough-and-ready underground film aesthetic that once ran rampant in America.

We miss the unpredictable and often anarchic nature of Freaky-style filmmaking that became a sort of hipster-resistance subgenre in the Nineties and Aughts, but what may have populated the B-list indie film circuit then simply does not materialize now in the annual lot of NAFF submissions. This is completely acceptable because the NAFF is designed to primarily represent the local movie projects of today. However, we thank the cinema gods when they bless us with an opportunity to fuse the old guard with the current zeitgeist.

Case in point, May contacted the NAFF after a long break from his own work and we eventually accepted from him a vintage music video (SHOT ON SIGHT, NAFF ’14) and a brand-new dimensional animation (THE CROSSING, NAFF ’15) that improves greatly on his frame-by-frame craft. For comparison, we have paired THE CROSSING and CASTLE ASSHOLE 2017 below so you can see how a distinctive artist can progress and also retain a visual identity. May has made Madison, Wisconsin, his home since 1999 although we still consider him “one of us” and could not have been happier to include him with our usual suspects at the NAFF. Enjoy his flights of fantasy, C-U. We do.

This concludes our run of last-minute NAFF VIII writings in 2017 as we head into the 2018 fray. Have a hearty New Year’s celebration and join us safely on the other side!

~ Jason Pankoke

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Sins of SHERIFF reflect history

December 30th, 2017

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Other times, the act of preparing the New Art Film Festival runs parallel with an anticipation of “what might be” in our program, especially in terms of area-made projects that have already caught our attention. Will we receive a chance to play them? Are they committed to debut elsewhere? Can they even be ready to submit by deadline? Fortunately, Mike Boedicker of Roselawn Productions Ltd. sent our way his Reconstruction-era tale, THE SHERIFF’S CHILDREN, which we accepted for the show without a second thought. Since the 22-minute film is still being entered in other festivals across the United States, we only have general details and a teaser to pass along to our dearest viewers; Boedicker will more than likely release it online and possibly on disc as with his previous central Illinois output like HOUSE OF THADDEUS and REVOLTING, providing an opportunity for you to check out his latest work.

Based on the 1889 short story of the same title by Charles W. Chesnutt (1858-1932), a lawyer and prolific author of mixed-race ancestry who dealt with the complexities of African-American life in the South after the Civil War in a portion of his writing, SHERIFF depicts the dynamic between a former slave (William Anthony Sebastian Rose II) and a small-town lawman (William L. Kephart) who guards him from a growing mob led by Slade (Matt Hester). While daughter Polly (Ellen E.K. Magee) holds down the homestead for her Pa, the sheriff finds himself trapped in a county jail with his prisoner as the lynch-starved locals congregate outside. Both men – a middle-aged white with status and an armed rifle, a young black covered in grime and accused of murder – soon reveal in their conversation that not all the crimes in question are of common knowledge or even against the law…

Featuring contributions by Champaign-Urbana regulars including Thomas Nicol as effects artist and cinematographer, Johnny Robinson as sound recordist, Julia Megan Sullivan as script supervisor and dialect coach, Malia Andrus as costume designer, and Eric Watkins as music composer, SHERIFF is a solid example of how comfortable Boedicker is with balancing the dramatic and intellectual needs of his storytelling. The script hits its beats but does not telegraph its reveals, the performances serve the material without upstaging it, and the locations found in Illinois and Indiana sell the period illusion on a meager budget. Indeed, we heard NAFF chatter praising the short as people exited the Art Theater auditorium on October 29 and conclude it will have a healthy festival life.

As to what Roselawn may produce next, it will not spring forth from Danville as usual. Mike and his wife and collaborator, Leslie Boedicker, resigned from their positions at the Danville Public Library at the beginning of fall and relocated to the Parma, New York, region where they both have family and prior history. C-U Blogfidential will miss their friendship and presence as well as contributions to our film culture, so we wish them good fortune and happiness in the move! We also send Mike a long-distance dedication on his birthday today, Saturday, December 30, which he shares with a certain other cinema someone typing these very words. Enjoy the day, both of you!

~ Jason Pankoke

p.s. Mike offers his thoughts on the making of THE SHERIFF’S CHILDREN in this 2017 NAFF article run by Smile Politely and written by Jarrod Finn.

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Calendar: Dec. 29 ‘17-Jan. 4 ‘17

December 29th, 2017

Our movie and media Calendar appears every Friday/Saturday on C-U Blogfidential and caters to the downstate region anchored by Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, USA.

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MILESTONES | Happy Birthday to You!

12/29: Patricia Pankoke Pellow (matron saint to our arts, C-U Confidential)
12/30: Mike Boedicker (filmmaker, THE SHERIFF’S CHILDREN)
12/30: Jason Pankoke (reluctant part-time resident, Champaign, Illinois)


NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ The Art Theater, Champaign, IL
DARKEST HOUR (12/29 on), Secret Screenings: Staff Picks (12/29, 12/30, 1/3, 10 p.m.)

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD, COCO, DOWNSIZING, FATHER FIGURES, FERDINAND, THE GREATEST SHOWMAN, JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE, PITCH PERFECT 3, STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI, TIGER ZINDA HAI, WONDER (12/29 on)

@ Family Video, Champaign-Urbana, IL
THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US, FLATLINERS, BRAWL IN CELL BLOCK 99, MAYHEM, JEEPERS CREEPERS 3, KILLING GUNTHER, BETTER WATCH OUT, GUARDIANS, more! (12/26 on)

@ Goodrich Savoy 16, Savoy, IL
ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD, COCO, DARKEST HOUR, THE DISASTER ARTIST, DOWNSIZING, FATHER FIGURES, FERDINAND, THE GREATEST SHOWMAN, JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE, PITCH PERFECT 3, STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI, THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING MISSOURI (12/29 on), DIE HARD (12/31, 1/3)

@ Parasol Label Group, Urbana, IL
That’s Rentertainment pop-up shop in the “Rec Room” (10/11 on; Mon.-Tues., Wed. 9 a.m.-8 p.m., Thurs.-Fri. 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m.-1 p.m.)

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
ROCKY (1/2, 1/4, 7 p.m.)

Events featuring locally produced movies are marked with an asterisk (*). Additional “Now Playing” and “Coming Soon” listings appear after the jump!

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WORDS hurt, heal in debut short

December 27th, 2017

Sometimes, the act of preparing the New Art Film Festival results in a circumstance that ultimately does not allow us to play a piece that would have been right at home in our program. The last-minute inclusion of a teaser for the dramatic short WORDS, as an example, gave us a way to help spread the word for its creator, Jarrod Finn of Malachi Entertainment in Urbana, even though the NAFF submission period had long been closed. With his first effort as director, writer, and producer now completed and streaming online, C-U Blogfidential encourages our dearest viewers to take a look. WORDS examines “a young writer’s battle with depression and anxiety disorder,” per the official logline, “and how her writing and community help guide her out of her darkness,” apparently drawing from Finn’s own personal struggles along these lines. Days are filled with internal and irrational upheaval for lead character Jordan (Kimmy Schofield), toggling between solitary moments of unease, votes of confidence and support from her mother (Cara Maurizi) and friends (Dominique Allen, William Anthony Sebastian Rose II), and abstract nightmare moments staged like a theatrical play. Luckily, the light at the end of the dark tunnel Jordan regularly finds herself in can shine brightly with the proper positives in place…

The Malachi team also has present, past, and future projects in various stages of fruition. Shooting this month is NOTES OF RASPBERRY, Finn’s first comedic outing that is written by Thomas Nicol (WRITER’S BLOCK, NAFF ’17) and stars Evan Seggebruch and Jace Jamison. Restored to the schedule is a pilot for EMPOWERED, a proposed Web series to be directed by Kris Wilcox (RISE, NAFF ’16) about young women with superhero identities; auditions for open roles will take place at Collider CoWork, 123 W. Main St., Suite 220, Urbana, on Saturday, January 6, 10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. with callbacks the next day. In addition, Finn has begun drafting a script for a WORDS follow-up. Away from the camera, Malachi hosted a pair of short film presentations at the Urbana Independent Media Center in recent weeks including the ChamPain Indie Horror Fest on October 28. This outpouring of activity has come on the heels of Finn reestablishing himself in the C-U arts after spending several years in Atlanta, Georgia, for higher education; involvement with Champaign Movie Makers, Pens to Lens, Parkland Theatre, the Virtual Chameleon Internet show HELPETHAN.COM, and classroom teaching has certainly lit the fire for this fellow and his friends to pursue their low budget, high concept ambitions. More power to them!

~ Jason Pankoke

Silents liven up a calm NAFF night

December 25th, 2017

Now that a crisp blanket of the white stuff has covered the Midwest swath we know as Champaign, Urbana, and the cities beyond, we trust you are tucked away safely with family and friends in this holiday season. On the flip side, the lights remain off and doors locked at the Secret MICRO-FILM Headquarters as it has been for a good portion of 2017 – our humble editor’s continued absence to care for his ailing Ma JaPan and her husband has necessitated it – but we’re crossing fingers that 2018 will be more prosperous in our C-U Blogfidential pursuits! Since we have posted very little for our dearest readers as of late other than Calendars and Confidential Almanac entries, we’d like to close out the month by issuing a few brief reports connected to the most recent New Art Film Festival.

Ye Ed’s determination and resourcefulness paid dividends in this outing; our show went on as scheduled at downtown Champaign’s Art Theater on Sunday, October 29, despite much of the planning process taking place well outside Champaign County. One would not have known the difference that night despite a couple of uncharacteristic glitches in the presentation allowed by the NAFF’s slightly rusty emcee. (He apologized when needed and adjusted where required, so there’s that.) Otherwise, the Art hosted a consistently sizeable audience, populated by happy film producers and well-wishing fans, throughout the event. The NAFF is fortunate to attract the participation of our trustworthy friends at ThirdSide, Shatterglass Studios, Radio Maria, and the Art, who help make our free community experience happen without fail. We also tip our cap to Art Theater operations manager Max Cronenberg for guiding our pieces into place during the final days and hours, Quiddity poetry editor David Logan for traveling upstate from southern Illinois to present on Vachel Lindsay for us, and outgoing Art Theater artistic director Austin McCann for continuing our relationship to bring the local independent cinema to their respected venue on Church Street.

To conclude, we adorn this CUBlog summary with a pair of selections we did not feature on the festival Web site. Both FOUR A.M., produced and performed by Andy Due of Charleston, and RIPPER THE CLOWN VS. SECURITY, starring Internet personality Jake Aurelian of Danville as his alter ego, riff on the conventions of early 20th century film comedy with good humor and jangling piano accompaniment. We hope you will enjoy them for the first time or yet again, shared below for your convenience, and take a few moments in the coming days to tell us your thoughts about the NAFF by writing newartfilmfestivalcu [at] gmail [dot] com. We can always learn from your constructive feedback!

Until we NAFF again…

~ Jason Pankoke

p.s. Andrew Stengele of Forced Perspective Entertainment in Champaign recorded the David Logan talk for us. We’ll work to release it online in January so you can learn more about the versatile poet, artist, and thinker Vachel Lindsay who we featured in C-U Confidential #9 while giving due to his fascinating 1915 volume, The Art of the Moving Picture. Look to our Facebook for an announcement once it goes live!

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Calendar: December 22-28, 2017

December 22nd, 2017

Our movie and media Calendar appears every Friday/Saturday on C-U Blogfidential and caters to the downstate region anchored by Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, USA.

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MILESTONES | Happy Birthday to You!

12/25: Shea Kelly (director/actor, DOOZIES)


CONFIDENTIAL ALMANAC | Dates in Film Culture History

15 Years AgoDecember 17-19, 2002: Hundreds of extras in professional attire populate the background of scenes being filmed at the Illinois State Capitol in downtown Springfield, IL, for the comedy LEGALLY BLONDE 2: RED, WHITE & BLONDE. Director Charles Herman-Wurmfeld and his production team chose the statehouse to stand in for the United States Capitol Building after searching nationwide, a necessary extra step given how Washington, D.C. landmarks are still restricted areas in the wake of the 2001 terrorist attacks. For their participation, non-speaking talent and bit part players culled from a November casting call receive pay and an opportunity to watch Hollywood filmmakers at work as well as actresses Reese Witherspoon and Sally Field perform in their roles, according to a Daily Illini story published on January 17, 2003. Also starring Regina King, Jennifer Coolidge, Bruce McGill, Luke Wilson, and Bob Newhart, the further pursuits of improbable Harvard University law graduate Elle Woods would be released to more than 3,000 theaters in North America by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures on Wednesday, July 2, 2003.


NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ The Art Theater, Champaign, IL
DARKEST HOUR (12/22 on), The Lincoln Center: The Nutcracker performed by the New York City Ballet (12/23, 12/24, 12 p.m., recorded)

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
DOWNSIZING, FATHER FIGURES, THE GREATEST SHOWMAN, JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE, PITCH PERFECT 3, TIGER ZINDA HAI, COCO, FERDINAND, THE STAR, STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI (12/22 on), ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD (12/25 on)

@ Family Video, Champaign-Urbana, IL
DUNKIRK, THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE, VICTORIA & ABDUL, MOTHER!, STRONGER, THE TRIP TO SPAIN, BLOOD MONEY, more! (12/19 on)

@ Goodrich Savoy 16, Savoy, IL
DARKEST HOUR, DOWNSIZING, FATHER FIGURES, THE GREATEST SHOWMAN, JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE, PITCH PERFECT 3, COCO, THE DISASTER ARTIST, FERDINAND, STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI, THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING MISSOURI (12/22 on), WONDER (12/22-12/24), IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE (12/24, 12/27), ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD (12/25 on), DOCTOR WHO: TWICE UPON A TIME (12/27-12/28, 7 p.m.

@ Parasol Label Group, Urbana, IL
That’s Rentertainment pop-up shop in the “Rec Room” (10/11 on; Mon.-Tues., Wed. 9 a.m.-8 p.m., Thurs.-Fri. 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m.-1 p.m.)

Events featuring locally produced movies are marked with an asterisk (*). Additional “Now Playing” and “Coming Soon” listings appear after the jump!

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Read the rest of this entry »

Calendar: December 15-21, 2017

December 16th, 2017

Our movie and media Calendar appears every Friday/Saturday on C-U Blogfidential and caters to the downstate region anchored by Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, USA.

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LOCAL FILMS, ETC. | Support Your Media Storytellers

@ Champaign Public Library, Champaign, IL
Champaign Movie Makers meeting, “Secret Santa Critiques”*, Robeson Pavilion Room A (12/19, 7 p.m., free)

@ Vintage Villains, Danville, IL
THE STRIPPER RIPPER* premiere w/filmmakers (12/16, 7 p.m. doors, 8 p.m. film, free, all ages)


NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ The Art Theater, Champaign, IL
LADY BIRD (12/15 on), Art Theater marquee lighting ceremony (12/18, 6:30 p.m.), Essential Cinema: THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG (12/18, 7 p.m.), BATMAN RETURNS (12/20, 9:30 p.m.)

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
FERDINAND, STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI, WONDER WHEEL, COCO, DADDY’S HOME 2, JUSTICE LEAGUE, LADY BIRD, MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, THE STAR, THOR: RAGNAROK, WONDER (12/15 on), THE GREATEST SHOWMAN, JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE (12/20 on)

@ Family Video, Champaign-Urbana, IL
KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE, HOME AGAIN, ALL SAINTS, THE STRAIN (s4), more! (12/12 on)

@ Goodrich Savoy 16, Savoy, IL
FERDINAND, STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI, WONDER WHEEL, COCO, DADDY’S HOME 2, THE DISASTER ARTIST, JUST GETTING STARTED, JUSTICE LEAGUE, LADY BIRD, MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING MISSOURI, WONDER (12/15 on), ELF (12/17, 12/20), JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE (12/20 on)

@ Parasol Label Group, Urbana, IL
That’s Rentertainment pop-up shop in the “Rec Room” (10/11 on; Mon.-Tues., Wed. 9 a.m.-8 p.m., Thurs.-Fri. 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m.-1 p.m.)

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
The News-Gazette Film Series: IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE (12/16, 1 & 7 p.m.), ELF (12/19, 7 p.m.), and MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET (1947; 12/21, 7 p.m.); “Holiday in Whoville” event feat. HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS (2000; 12/17, 1 p.m.)

Events featuring locally produced movies are marked with an asterisk (*). Additional “Now Playing” and “Coming Soon” listings appear after the jump!

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Calendar: December 8-14, 2017

December 10th, 2017

Our movie and media Calendar appears every Friday/Saturday on C-U Blogfidential and caters to the downstate region anchored by Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, USA.

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MILESTONES | Happy Birthday to You!

12/9: Sidney Taiko (publisher, Storm Cellar)
12/9: Scott Kimble (rocker, Terminus Victor)


MFHQ MEMO | From Chambana with Love

Watch this ‘blog during the next few weeks for a handful of brief posts that will serve as a wrap-up for the New Art Film Festival and lead-in for 2018. We’ll also present a final Almanac entry for 2017 next Friday. Happy holidays to you, dearest readers, followed by a new year filled with promise and purpose!


NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ The Art Theater, Champaign, IL
THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING MISSOURI (12/8 on), BLACK CLOVER (12/8-12/9, 12/11, 12/14), National Theatre Live: Follies (12/9-12/10, 1 p.m., simulcast), GREMLINS (12/12-12/13)

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
JUST GETTING STARTED, A BAD MOMS CHRISTMAS, BLADE RUNNER 2049, COCO, DADDY’S HOME 2, JUSTICE LEAGUE, LADY BIRD, THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US, MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, ROMAN J. ISRAEL ESQ., THE STAR, THOR: RAGNAROK, WONDER (12/8 on), GENESIS: PARADISE LOST (12/11, 12/13, 7 p.m., 3-D), STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI (12/14 on)

@ Family Video, Champaign-Urbana, IL
DESPICABLE ME 3, AMERICAN ASSASSIN, THE WHITE KING, DEMENTIA 13, SECRETS AND LIES (s1), more! (12/5 on)

@ Goodrich Savoy 16, Savoy, IL
THE DISASTER ARTIST, JUST GETTING STARTED, A BAD MOMS CHRISTMAS, COCO, DADDY’S HOME 2, JUSTICE LEAGUE, LADY BIRD, THE MAN WHO INVENTED CHRISTMAS, MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, ROMAN J. ISRAEL ESQ., THE STAR, THOR: RAGNAROK, THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING MISSOURI, WONDER (12/8 on), THE POLAR EXPRESS (12/10, 12/13), FERDINAND, STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI (12/14 on)

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Weekend Films at the Union” feat. FLATLINERS, Pine Lounge (12/8-12/9, 7 p.m., free w/i-card)

@ Lincoln Hall, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Film & Video meeting, Room 1022 (12/11, 7 p.m.)

@ Parasol Label Group, Urbana, IL
That’s Rentertainment pop-up shop in the “Rec Room” (10/11 on; Mon.-Tues., Wed. 9 a.m.-8 p.m., Thurs.-Fri. 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m.-1 p.m.)

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
The News-Gazette Film Series: HOME ALONE (12/11, 7 p.m.) and WHITE CHRISTMAS (12/12, 7 p.m.)

Events featuring locally produced movies are marked with an asterisk (*). Additional “Now Playing” and “Coming Soon” listings appear after the jump!

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Calendar: December 1-7, 2017

December 2nd, 2017

Our movie and media Calendar appears every Friday/Saturday on C-U Blogfidential and caters to the downstate region anchored by Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, USA.

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MILESTONES | Happy Birthday to You!

12/3: Greg Woods (contributor, C-U Confidential)
12/3: Bryan Wendorf (director, Chicago Underground Film Festival)
12/6: Andy Due (producer, Rubber Chicken Films)
12/7: David Tietz (University of Illinois projectionist, retired)


LOCAL FILMS, ETC. | Support Your Media Storytellers

@ Independent Media Center, Urbana, IL
“A Night of Short Films” feat. WORDS* (12/2, 7 p.m., free)


NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ The Art Theater, Champaign, IL
THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING MISSOURI (12/1 on), THE ROOM (12/1-12/2, 12/7, 10 p.m.)

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
LADY BIRD, MARSHALL, A BAD MOMS CHRISTMAS, COCO, DADDY’S HOME 2, JUSTICE LEAGUE, MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, ROMAN J. ISRAEL ESQ., THE STAR, THOR: RAGNAROK, WONDER (12/1 on)

@ Family Video, Champaign-Urbana, IL
LOGAN LUCY, TULIP FEVER, M.F.A., YOUR NAME, REMEMORY, ACTS OF VENGEANCE, more! (11/28 on)

@ Goodrich Savoy 16, Savoy, IL
THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING MISSOURI, A BAD MOMS CHRISTMAS, COCO, DADDY’S HOME 2, JUSTICE LEAGUE, LADY BIRD, THE MAN WHO INVENTED CHRISTMAS, MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, ROMAN J. ISRAEL ESQ., THE STAR, THOR: RAGNAROK, WONDER (12/1 on), WHITE CHRISTMAS (12/3, 12/6), “Red ‘til I’m Dead: Sammy Hagar’s Rock-and-Roll Birthday Bash” (12/5, 7:30 p.m.), Allegiance: The Broadway Musical (12/7, 7:30 p.m., recorded), THE DISASTER ARTIST (12/7 on)

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Weekend Films at the Union” feat. IT, Pine Lounge (12/1-12/2, 7 p.m., free w/i-card)

@ Lincoln Hall, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Film & Video meeting, Room 1022 (12/4, 7 p.m.)

@ Parasol Label Group, Urbana, IL
That’s Rentertainment pop-up shop in the “Rec Room” (10/11 on; Mon.-Tues., Wed. 9 a.m.-8 p.m., Thurs.-Fri. 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m.-1 p.m.)

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
Rewind 92.5 Film Series: DIE HARD (12/2, 7 p.m.), Preview of MASTERPIECE THEATRE: VICTORIA (s2) (12/5, 7 p.m., free w/reservation)

Events featuring locally produced movies are marked with an asterisk (*). Additional “Now Playing” and “Coming Soon” listings appear after the jump!

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Calendar: November 24-30, 2017

November 24th, 2017

Our movie and media Calendar appears every Friday/Saturday on C-U Blogfidential and caters to the downstate region anchored by Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, USA.

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MILESTONES | Happy Birthday to You!

11/24: Shauna Miller (actress, DAUGHTERS)
11/28: Ryan Mitchelle (co-editor, SHARKNADO 5: GLOBAL SWARMING)
11/29: Samantha June Ducey (contributor, C-U Confidential)


MFHQ MEMO | From Chambana with Love

Be thankful for whom you love, what you have, and where you can contribute to the arts and society. Cheers.


NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ The Art Theater, Champaign, IL
NOVITATE (11/24 on), THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER (11/24-11/25, 11/29-11/39), Brilliant Corners: MOSES AND AARON (11/28, 7 p.m., free)

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
COCO, ROMAN J. ISRAEL ESQ., A BAD MOMS CHRISTMAS, DADDY’S HOME 2, JUSTICE LEAGUE, MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, THE STAR, THOR: RAGNAROK, WONDER (11/24 on)

@ Champaign Public Library, Champaign, IL
Champaign Movie Makers meeting, “GREENE*,” Robeson Room A (11/28, 7 p.m., free)

@ Family Video, Champaign-Urbana, IL
THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD, VALERAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS, LEAP!, BIRTH OF THE DRAGON, GOOD TIME, JUNGLE, THE VILLAINESS, BEACH RATS, more! (11/21 on)

@ Foreign Languages Building, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Polish-Jewish Film Series: THE RETURN, Room 1080 (11/30, 5:45 p.m., free)

@ Goodrich Savoy 16, Savoy, IL
COCO, LADY BIRD, THE MAN WHO INVENTED CHRISTMAS, ROMAN J. ISRAEL ESQ., A BAD MOMS CHRISTMAS, DADDY’S HOME 2, JUSTICE LEAGUE, MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, THE STAR, THOR: RAGNAROK, WONDER (11/24 on), HOME ALONE (11/26, 11/29), Studio Ghibli Fest: HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE (11/26-11/27, 11/29), The Metropolitan Opera: The Exterminating Angel (11/29, encore)

@ Lincoln Hall, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Film & Video meeting, Room 1022 (11/13, 7 p.m.)

@ Parasol Label Group, Urbana, IL
That’s Rentertainment pop-up shop in the “Rec Room” (10/11 on; Mon.-Tues., Wed. 9 a.m.-8 p.m., Thurs.-Fri. 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m.-1 p.m.)

Events featuring locally produced movies are marked with an asterisk (*). Additional “Now Playing” and “Coming Soon” listings appear after the jump!

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Read the rest of this entry »