Ebertfest ‘19 starts on QUIET note

February 15th, 2019

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‘Tis the pre-spring season when the Champaign-Urbana citizenry, ranging from friendly neighbors to at-large cineastes, perks up every single time the College of Media at the University of Illinois makes public mention of an upcoming Roger Ebert’s Film Festival. We all want to know what films fill out the program, which will be presented from Wednesday, April 10, to Saturday, April 13, at the Virginia Theatre in downtown Champaign, as well as the guests, panels, and such that will be unique to the newest edition. Per the usual protocol for “Ebertfest” organizers, nuggets of information trickle out in February and March until the full wealth of details drops right before April 1, when individual tickets go on sale. The lead-up to this twenty-first year is no exception as the tease has finally begun!

Various local media have confirmed that Chicago Sun-Times columnist and movie critic Richard Roeper will appear informally after multiple screenings to talk shop and fete his former television co-host. Also revealed is the first feature from the 2019 schedule, a period drama called A YEAR OF THE QUIET SUN (ROK SPOKOJNEGO SŁOŃCA, 1984) that is written and directed by the prolific filmmaker Krzysztof Zanussi and stars Maja Komorowska as a wartime widow and Scott Wilson as an Army private who meet by chance in Poland and begin a courtship that is deep and possibly doomed. This award-winning feature has seldom been seen in America since its regional release in 1985-86 by a tiny Utah-based outfit, Sandstar Releasing Company, and is otherwise available on an early 2000s DVD issued by Kino on Video and streaming via the library-based service Kanopy.

This year’s festival will be dedicated to Wilson, as detailed in the press release below, while his wife Heavenly Wilson and veteran actress Komorowska (DEKALOG, FROM A FAR COUNTRY) plan to appear in support of QUIET SUN. The durable character actor passed away last October at age 76 after a lengthy career marked by popular Hollywood and better-than-average genre productions including IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT, IN COLD BLOOD (both 1967), THE GREAT GATSBY (1974), THE NINTH CONFIGURATION (1980), THE RIGHT STUFF (1983), THE GRASS HARP (1995), SHILOH (1996), MONSTER (2003), THE HOST (2006), and HOSTILES (2017). As well, a memorable run as “Herschel” on THE WALKING DEAD marked a high point of his recent television work. The Wilsons were loyal to Roger and Chaz Ebert, attending Ebertfest several times previously

We presume the “digital print” of QUIET SUN will be derived from a recent restoration done by the film’s original studio, TOR Film Production (Studio Filmowe TOR), which has apparently been reviving key titles from their 50-year history with the help of cultural agencies and the Polish government. A region-free Blu-ray was issued in that country as well as a legitimate YouTube streaming copy with optional English subtitles, should you wish to preview the beautifully photographed and hauntingly scored love story. A viral video posted by TOR and shared here gives a brief before-and-after sample of the necessary image upgrade. There is no crime in getting familiar with the program in advance! Of course, these suggestions are not to distract you from the Ebertfest experience of A YEAR OF THE QUIET SUN or any other selection, which are bound to impress greatly on the Virginia’s giant screen.

~ Jason Pankoke

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Calendar: February 8-14, 2019

February 9th, 2019

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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PASSINGS | You Will Be Missed

1/23: Jonas Mekas, 96 (co-founder, Film Culture/founder, Anthology Film Archives)

 

CONFIDENTIAL ALMANAC | Dates in Film Culture History

25 Years AgoSaturday, October 16, 1993: A former Champaign resident who carved out a unique twin career of university teaching and film promotion, Ron Epple, is found deceased at age 51 in his Chicago home. The obituary by Melissa Merli that would appear in the October 20 edition of the News-Gazette tells of a much-respected man whose efforts in propagating the arts had enriched Champaign-Urbana for more than two decades. During his collegiate studies up north at Elmhurst College and Roosevelt University in the 1960s, Epple wrote for underground student magazines such as Aardvark that gleefully bucked the status quo and attracted the ire of academic superiors. He continued to be productive with his side projects after moving downstate and enrolling at the University of Illinois to pursue a doctorate in English, becoming ubiquitous with cinema in the community. Ventures during schooling included Aardvark Films, a booking entity, Champaign-Urbana Film Group, a filmmaking club, and The Depot, a performance space in downtown Urbana that hosted original stage productions and local film premieres. Epple graduated and remained in Champaign, operating a pair of companies out of his West John Street residence that doubled as an office and private screening room: Expanded Cinema Group, an agency launched with the photographer Scott Mutter that presented non-mainstream and foreign films on campus, and Picture Start, a short film distributor specializing in animation and women-directed pieces that booked non-theatrical showings of prints across the United States. He also served as an adjunct professor at UI to teach English and film, wrote for myriad journals and newsletters, and participated in film festivals outside the area such as the first Big Muddy Film Festival at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale in 1979. Even though UI audiences dwindled for his fare in the late 1970s and 1980s due to lacking interest in the esoteric and the rise of home video, Epple played a role in reviving Champaign’s Art Theater when it opened anew in early 1987 as the New Art Theatre and continued Picture Start into the early 1990s. Above all, he was a mentor and inspiration to many dozens of UI students and C-U citizens, some of whom went on to work in the industry like Warrior FilmsFrederick Marx. Per the News-Gazette, Epple sold his stake in Picture Start to his business partner, Jeff Hellyer, after returning to Chicago and was operating a similar distributor called Short Form Releasing at the time of his death. The Picture Start inventory was acquired by Chicago Filmmakers in 1991 and eventually formed the core of their Film Distribution Project, a collection of key and rare short subjects on 16mm and 35mm.

 

LOCAL FILMS, ETC. | Support Your Media Storytellers

@ Lincoln Hall, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Film & Video* meeting, Room 1022 (2/11, 7 p.m.)

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ The Art Theater, Champaign, IL
THE FAVOURITE (2/8-2/10, 2/12), The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2019: Live Action (2/8-2/9, 2/13), Animation (2/9-2/10) and Documentary (2/10), IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK (2/9-2/10), HAPPY DEATH DAY 2U (2/11, 8 p.m., free), MASS INCARCERATION: AN ANIMATED SERIES w/discussion (2/12, 7 p.m., free), THELMA & LOUISE (2/13, 7:30 p.m.), BURNING (2/14, 4 p.m.), CASABLANCA (2/14, 7:30 p.m.), Late Night: GROUNDHOG DAY (2/8, 2/9, 9:30 p.m.)

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
COLD PURSUIT, THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART, PEGASUS, THE PRODIGY, WANDERING EARTH, WHAT MEN WANT, AQUAMAN, ESCAPE ROOM, GLASS, GREEN BOOK, MISS BALA, THE UPSIDE (2/8 on), BTS WORLD TOUR: “LOVE YOURSELF” IN SEOUL (2/9, 11 a.m.), INTEGRITY (2/10-2/12, 6:30 p.m.), ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL, HAPPY DEATH DAY 2U, ISN’T IT ROMANTIC (2/13 on)

@ Family Video, Champaign-Urbana, IL
THE GRINCH, WIDOWS, THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB, THE SISTERS BROTHERS, THE CLOVERFIELD PARADOX, MY DINNER WITH HERVÉ, POINT MAN, more! (2/5 on)

@ Goodrich Savoy 16, Savoy, IL
COLD PURSUIT, INTEGRITY, THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART, PEPPA CELEBRATES CHINESE NEW YEAR, THE PRODIGY, THEY SHALL NOT GROW OLD, WHAT MEN WANT, AQUAMAN, A DOG’S WAY HOME, ESCAPE ROOM, GLASS, THE KID WHO WOULD BE KING, MARY POPPINS RETURNS, MISS BALA, SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE, A STAR IS BORN, THE UPSIDE, VICE (2/8 on), BTS WORLD TOUR: “LOVE YOURSELF” IN SEOUL (2/9, 11 a.m.), CASABLANCA (2/10, 2/13), “Experience ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL Early 3-D Fan Event” (2/12, 7 p.m., IMAX)

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Weekend Films at the Union” feat. A STAR IS BORN, Pine Lounge (2/8-2/9, 7 p.m., free w/i-card)

@ Spurlock Museum, UIUC, Urbana, IL
AEMS presents AsiaLENS Documentary/Film Series feat. THE SILK ROAD OF POP (2/12, 7 p.m., free)

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
The News-Gazette Film Series: TOP HAT (2/9, 1 & 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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AFM biz relies on solid genre films

February 7th, 2019

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“Everything You Wanted to Know About Filmmaking in One Week”
The craving for media content is insatiable the world over, so it’s good to enter ground zero for distributing your work – the American Film Market of Santa Monica, CA – with a clear head and well-defined goals.

by Robin Christian

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If you are serious about filmmaking, you know that the creation of a movie is more than simply development, production, and post-production. Proper distribution and marketing are also key components to the process.

The learning curve is steep, so I recommend attending the world’s largest film market to get up to speed. I went to the American Film Market (AFM) in Santa Monica, CA, this past November and, as I have been to it every year, I think I have a unique perspective on that process. You can soak up all the aspects of filmmaking at AFM: distributors, talent, agents, crew, and so on.

As content providers, we have a lot to benefit from by attending AFM. Unlike at a film festival, where few movies have been chosen to screen and you watch them as a consumer and possible buyer, AFM has viewings of an enormous amount of movies for sale only to buyers, who then place orders for the movies they need back home.

For example, there may be dozens of buyers from Russia attending the conference who all need something different. One may need content for cable television, or a family or animated movie for their national channel. If you can understand how many different avenues there are to fill in the United States alone, you can understand this happens all over the world as well.

Seeing what the various buyers are needing as well as reading the daily trades at the show – Variety, Screen, The Hollywood Reporter – will help you determine if you are making the right type of movie and who should be in it. I heard that more than 7,000 buyers from around the world went to AFM this year, all seeking content for their market or country.

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Calendar: February 1-7, 2019

February 1st, 2019

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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CONFIDENTIAL ALMANAC | Dates in Film Culture History

10 Years AgoFriday, August 29, 2008: Students roaming through the courtyard of the Illini Union at the University of Illinois receive quite the scare and several good laughs when they encounter the debut showing of THE TRANSIENT, courtesy of Illini Film & Video and Illinites. Created by recent graduate Chris Lukeman and UI senior Anne Shivers, while crewed by an unusual mix of undergraduates and community talents, the project pairs a case worker (Blake Stubbs) and self-appointed avenger of the streets (Dave Ruthenberg) as they aim to thwart a vampire Abraham Lincoln, played by professional Lincoln portrayer Michael Krebs. THE TRANSIENT is a shorter and more polished affair than the club’s previous monster opus, THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS VS. A MUMMY, qualities that soon boded well for its off-campus afterlife as did the imminent explosion of literary mash-ups in genre fiction and pop culture. This would include wire service coverage and a presence in non-traditional spaces for film like gaming and comic conventions – Gen Con, the massive role-playing gathering in Indianapolis, became an influential stop for the featurette’s makers – thanks to that novel premise. As reported on 8/2/07, 6/30/12 at CUBlog.

 

LOCAL FILMS, ETC. | Support Your Media Storytellers

@ Eastland Suites Hotel & Conference Center, Bloomington, IL
Magnanimous Rentals production gear demonstration (2/5, 8:30 a.m., free)

@ Lincoln Hall, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Film & Video* meeting, Room 1022 (2/4, 7 p.m.)

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ The Art Theater, Champaign, IL
AT ETERNITY’S GATE (2/1-2/3, 2/5-2/7), SHOPLIFTERS (2/1-2/3, 2/5, 2/7), IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK (2/2, 2 p.m.), THE FAVOURITE (2/2-2/4, 2/6-2/7), MISSISSIPPI MASALA w/discussion (2/4, 7 p.m.), Late Night: POLICE STORY (2/1-2/2, 2/7, 9:30 p.m.; 2/3, 12 p.m.)

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
MISS BALA, THE GANDHI MURDER, AQUAMAN, A DOG’S WAY HOME, DRAGON BALL SUPER: BROLY, ESCAPE ROOM, THE FAVOURITE, GLASS, GREEN BOOK, THE KID WHO WOULD BE KING, SERENITY, SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE, THE UPSIDE (2/1 on), PEGASUS, CRAZY ALIEN (2/5-2/6), THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART (2/7 on)

@ Family Video, Champaign-Urbana, IL
THE WIFE, SLICE, BLOOD BROTHER, BENCHWARMERS 2, more! (1/29 on)

@ Goodrich Savoy 16, Savoy, IL
FREE SOLO (IMAX), MISS BALA, AQUAMAN, BUMBLEBEE, A DOG’S WAY HOME, ESCAPE ROOM, GLASS, GREEN BOOK, THE KID WHO WOULD BE KING, MARY POPPINS RETURNS, ON THE BASIS OF SEX, SECOND ACT, SERENITY, SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE, STAN & OLLIE, A STAR IS BORN, THE UPSIDE, VICE (2/1 on), The Metropolitan Opera: Carmen (2/2, 11:55 a.m., simulcast), OKLAHOMA! (2/3, 2/6), PEPPA CELEBRATES CHINESE NEW YEAR (2/5-2/7, subtitled), CRAZY ALIEN (2/6), I WANT TO EAT YOUR PANCREAS (2/7, 7 p.m., subtitled),

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

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
Reel Deals: STAND BY ME (2/5, 2/7, 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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C-U studio earning showbiz SLICE

January 29th, 2019

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“Local Film Company is Well Past Prelude”

With the home video release of SLICE today and expanding theatrical release of AN ACCEPTABLE LOSS, the thumbprint of Shatterglass Studios in Champaign continues to make a mark on the industry.

by Jason Pankoke

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When we pulled together our thoughts on the tenth anniversary show of Champaign Movie Makers last June, one selection in their program just so happened to jog our memory about other milestones that we would be remiss to let slide again. Therefore, we congratulate Shatterglass Studios of Champaign on more than a decade of success – they opened for business in 2006 – and revisit a different occasion when their core team began to create the kind of output that fellow founders Brett Hays and Luke Boyce have always been striving to embrace. As we first reported in 2008, Shatterglass premiered a pair of short subjects on August 7 of that year at the Onarga Theater in little Onarga, IL, located not far from where Boyce was raised; they certainly proved to be modest harbingers of cinematic things to come.

One of the films, SUGAR, was a Chicago-lensed comedy about a waiter experiencing flights of fantasy when a patron strikes his fancy. In the other, PRELUDE, an enigmatic drama unfolds in which a down-on-his-luck local and a mysterious traveler meet and contemplate Big Questions over coffee. Both are co-productions with other indie upstarts of the time and the latter is significant not only because it was shot in Champaign-Urbana locations, but it is also the first fiction piece developed by the Boyce/Hays tandem from a story by their own screenwriters.

Credited to a short-lived sister company, Essence Films, PRELUDE introduces So Long Forgotten lead singer Micah Boyce and future Ph.D. candidate Vanessa Prokuski in the leads and The Bread Company of Urbana as their backdrop. It is rare to see it in a public space as attendees of the CMM program did at the Art Theater, bringing us full circle and back to the present.

Shatterglass has since built itself into a go-to house for numerous services in multimedia. This includes planning and execution for clients nationwide on their commercials, industrial films, viral video presence, and the like, collaboration with institutions such as the University of Illinois on branding and educational materials, and various levels of support given to non-profit organizations and homegrown ventures in Champaign-Urbana to help achieve their needs with a professional sheen. The firm’s neon-laced façade on South Neil Street often serves as a gathering place for mixers, presentations, meetings, production workshops, and instructional sessions for youth in our community. Neither resume on their Web site or the Internet Movie Database adequately covers the depth of how Shatterglass serves its neighbors and customers.

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Calendar: January 25-31, 2019

January 26th, 2019

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!

1/26: Mike Watt (editor/publisher, Exploitation Nation)

 

LOCAL FILMS, ETC. | Support Your Media Storytellers

@ Champaign Public Library, Champaign, IL
Pens to Lens* “Story to Script Workshop,” Robeson Pavilion Rooms A & B (1/26, 10 a.m., free)

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

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ The Art Theater, Champaign, IL
SHOPLIFTERS (1/25-1/28, 1/30-1/31), BURNING (1/25-1/27, 1/29, 1/31), IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK (1/26-1/27, 1/30), Member Screening: I AM NOT A WITCH (1/28, 7:30 p.m.), MISSISSIPPI MASALA (1/29, 7 p.m., free), Late Night: HALLOWEEN (2018; 1/25-1/27, 1/31, 9:30 p.m.; 1/28, 12 p.m.)

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
DRAGON BALL SUPER: BROLY, THE FAVOURITE, THE KID WHO WOULD BE KING, SERENITY, AQUAMAN, A DOG’S WAY HOME, ESCAPE ROOM, GLASS, GREEN BOOK, MARY POPPINS RETURNS, RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET, SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE, THE UPSIDE (1/25 on), BTS WORLD TOUR: “LOVE YOURSELF” IN SEOUL (1/26, 11 a.m., 2 & 5 p.m.)

@ Family Video, Champaign-Urbana, IL
FIRST MAN, THE HATE U GIVE, JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN, AMERICAN RENEGADES, DEATH NOTE: LIGHT UP THE NEW WORLD, more! (1/22 on)

@ Goodrich Savoy 16, Savoy, IL
THE KID WHO WOULD BE KING, SERENITY, STAN & OLLIE, AQUAMAN, BUMBLEBEE, A DOG’S WAY HOME, ESCAPE ROOM, GLASS, GREEN BOOK, IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK, MARY POPPINS RETURNS, THE MULE, ON THE BASIS OF SEX, SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE, THE UPSIDE, VICE (1/25 on), DRAGON BALL SUPER: BROLY (1/25, 1/29, 7 p.m.), BTS WORLD TOUR: “LOVE YOURSELF” IN SEOUL (1/26, 11 a.m. & 2 p.m.), MY COUSIN VINNY (1/27, 1/30), A SILENT VOICE (1/28, 1/31, 7 p.m.)

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Weekend Films at the Union” feat. VENOM, Pine Lounge (1/25-1/26, 7 p.m., free w/i-card)

@ Independent Media Center, Urbana, IL
Hallways Microcinema presents Vol. 22: “Sense of Time – Experimental/Poetic Film and Video by Wenhua Shi” w/artist in person (1/27, 7 p.m., free or donation)

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
Rewind 92.5 Film Series: TREMORS (1/28, 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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Que será, será, CUZine 10 will be

January 25th, 2019

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This has been a humbling week laced with tempered expectations and small revelations, friends in film culture. Most important is that we can announce the tenth issue of C-U Confidential digest will be released once we wrap our fundraising campaign and administer a heap of late-night alchemy to shore up what you’ll be seeing and reading for free at winter’s end. The drive technically ends today, Friday, January 25, but we have extended it as a stretch drive through Monday, January 28, in the hopes we can recruit a few more Confidential agents to throw some coins in our curbside cap to go towards an adjusted $1,300 goal. As we predicted, the former advertising base for CUZine has withered greatly and forced us to look elsewhere for our budget needs. Please be generous with thanking and visiting the few businesses whose presence will illustrate our pages! Full details, hearty salutations, and a cover reveal will come to light right before CUZine hits the streets; GoFundMe patrons can look forward to sneak peeks of issue 10 content as a perk for placing their trust in us. They delivered, now so must we.

However, we can’t help but notice the landscape shifting all around MICRO-FILM Country. It will be hard to not stare out the windows at the Secret MICRO-FILM Headquarters instead of working and wonder, “Hey, look what’s going ‘round.” Unrest. Decay. Build and rebuild. Order is not the same as it used to be, and that includes the arts and media. We’re happy to be the recipient of this minor miracle allowing us to go to print once more but we don’t want to do this again, this way. The test will now come for us to show a capacity for flux or our beat will finally be bested.

What are the signs around us that might be rattling our cage? Some things are good – David Gracon is hosting the return of Hallways Microcinema, the first new volume in a year, which is set for this Sunday, January 27, 7 p.m., at the Independent Media Center in Urbana; Boston-based educator and media artist Wenhua Shi will be featured. Other things are sad, albeit expected in the grand scheme – New York City icon Jonas Mekas, who has spent decades championing the “personal film” through a prolific output of writings, journals, screenings, archives, and his own body of cinema, died on Wednesday at age 96. Certain things make us wince with empathy as we understand the potential toll – the new editors of Scary Monsters magazine, which holds a seminal spot in the MFHQ timeline, asked their readership a few days ago to help locate their new issue on newsstands after an apparent distributor’s snafu. And, particular things taste bittersweet even if they will lead to other good things – our friend and CUZine contributor Troy Michael let the world know on Tuesday that his Innocent Words Magazine, published in east central Illinois like us, will cease after 17 years and thousands of articles and interviews. All this emerged in our peripheral view as we groveled for new life. Ups, downs, left turns, and rights.

Each matters to us, so we bring them up. How much does the Confidential project matter to you, peoples of Champaign-Urbana and those cities beyond? Will you bring it up if we shift, change, ever go away? We’re proceeding with our immediate plans, although we could not help but note a few red flags beckoning to us from their perch atop the icy horizon as we managed our campaign. Duly noted. We’ll still do what we set out to do because we simply have to do it, for what it’s worth. And, then … ?

Thank you to everyone who thought it worth your while to help us bring C-U Confidential issue 10 into existence. These gestures will mean plenty to us at MFHQ for years to come. Cheers.

~ Jason Pankoke

p.s. Is Doris Day stuck in your head? There’s always a hitch when we’re writing ourselves out of a rut…

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Africa focus of NOW! artist’s films

January 23rd, 2019

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We’d like to remind our dearest readers about the video series ART NOW! that has given us portraits of our community’s creative neighbors for nearly 10 years and almost 100 episodes. C-U Blogfidential tends to zero in on the outings that pertain to media personalities, but one skim through the YouTube playlist reveals a diverse pool of individuals and milieus being represented in this invaluable record. A collaboration between the Urbana Public Arts Program and Urbana Public Television, ART NOW! is currently directed by Jason Liggett of UPTV and relies on the off-screen interviewing skills of the city’s public arts coordinator, Rachel Storm. This is a distinction from older shows that featured a host sitting with the subject; as we noticed while watching the profile of documentary producer Bourema “Ibrahim” Ouedraogo first aired in December, the single-person framing device can provide a more intimate scope through which we can focus on the artist’s words and personality. It’s not an oral history yet it allows plenty of space for the artist to involve us in their life experiences and expectations.

According to the highlights of Episode 96, Ouedraogo moved to the United States from Africa in 2010 and lived briefly in Peoria and Bloomington before arriving in Champaign. Skills he learned while performing various on-set and studio roles in his native Burkina Faso helped him transition to a career here, starting with a position at WTVP-TV in Peoria and now working freelance jobs in the upper Midwest. Locally, he has participated in Champaign Movie Makers and Pens to Lens as well as built a relationship with the Independent Media Center, hosting filmmaking workshops and screenings at their downtown Urbana location. Ouedraogo has not lost sight of his heritage, per a biography issued by the IMC, for his personal pieces explore the social norms and struggles he witnesses when returning to west Africa. As well, Burkina Faso is considered the capital of African movie production due in large part to the biennial Panafrican Film and Television Festival held in the capital of Ouagadougou; this celebration is better known as FESPACO after its French-language name. It clearly influences him to this day.

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Calendar: January 18-24, 2019

January 18th, 2019

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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CONFIDENTIAL ALMANAC | Dates in Film Culture History

Since we are not set to resume the Almanac with all-new entries until March, we are going to post a few late-comers that we had intended to share with you last year. Look for them to appear on the Calendar between now and the end of February, after which we’ll be making our annual update to the composite Almanac. Enjoy!

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ The Art Theater, Champaign, IL
IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK (1/18 on), Martin Luther King, Jr. Day screening: THE LEARNING TREE (1/21, 7 p.m., free), Essential Cinema: L’ATALANTE (1/22, 7:30 p.m.), Found Footage Festival: “Cherished Gems” (1/24, 8 p.m.), Late Night: WHY DON’T YOU PLAY IN HELL? (1/18-1/19, 1/23, 9:30 p.m.)

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
GLASS, AQUAMAN, BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY, BUMBLEBEE, CREED II, A DOG’S WAY HOME, ESCAPE ROOM, MARY POPPINS RETURNS, THE MULE, ON THE BASIS OF SEX, PETTA, RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET, REPLICAS, SECOND ACT, SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE, THE UPSIDE (1/18 on), DRAGON BALL SUPER: BROLY (1/19, 1/21, 1/22-1/24, daily shows), THEY SHALL NOT GROW OLD (1/21, 1, 4 & 7 p.m., 3-D)

@ Family Video, Champaign-Urbana, IL
HALLOWEEN, GOOSEBUMPS 2, ONCE UPON A DEADPOOL, THE OLD MAN & THE GUN, THE BOOKSHOP, JONATHAN, SPEED KILLS, AFTER DARKNESS, more! (1/15 on)

@ Goodrich Savoy 16, Savoy, IL
GLASS, AQUAMAN, BEN IS BACK, BUMBLEBEE, A DOG’S WAY HOME, ESCAPE ROOM, GREEN BOOK, IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK, MARY POPPINS RETURNS, THE MULE, ON THE BASIS OF SEX, RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET, REPLICAS, SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE, THE UPSIDE, VICE (1/18 on), DRAGON BALL SUPER: BROLY (1/19, 1/21-1/24, daily shows), Manny Pacquiao vs. Adrien Broner boxing match (1/19, 8 p.m., simulcast), HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN (1/20, 1/23), THEY SHALL NOT GROW OLD (1/21, 1 & 7 p.m.), Comédie-Française presents Cyrano de Bergerac (1/23, 7 p.m.), THE FINAL WISH (1/24, 7:30 p.m.)

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Weekend Films at the Union” feat. THE HATE U GIVE, Pine Lounge (1/18-1/19, 7 p.m., free w/i-card)

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
Reel Deals: THE BIG SICK (1/22, 1/24, 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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Duo goes home in ILL new series

January 17th, 2019

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A few weeks after eyebrows raised and hackles sounded in various corners of Champaign County and the Webisphere when a trailer first made the rounds, YouTube Premium released 10 episodes of the new series CHAMPAIGN ILL on Wednesday, December 12. In this sharp-tongued comedy of errors with more heart and gumption than can be gleaned from that preview, Ron (Adam Pally, THE MINDY PROJECT) and Alfonso (Sam Richardson, VEEP) are entourage members of a successful rap artist stage-named “IL Lou the Sickest” (Jay Pharoah, RIDE ALONG) who suffers a major mishap during a music video shoot. This leaves his boys in emotional disarray and financial straits, resulting in retreat to their shared hometown of Champaign, Illinois. “We never had it all. Lou had it all. We were just kind of there,” reasons Alf to Ronnie while sitting in – gasp! – a mere Midwestern bar and grill. Can they rebound and become the well-rounded adults they never were or will the seductive grasp of “the lifestyle” pull them back in?

For good or for ill, they find out quickly that adjustment to their original digs is going to be one giant re-learning curve; those 15 years spent partying, posturing, and jet-setting with Lou since the end of high school do squat to impress their family and friends. Knowing little else, the self-proclaimed “Alonzos of mourning” try hard to shoehorn their hip-hop image and excessive materialism into how they interact with the domesticated surroundings, operating out of a bland two-bedroom apartment and searching for ways to scrape by until a master plan comes together. Created by Jordan Cahan, David Caspe, Daniel Libman, and Matthew Libman, whose total combined efforts have gone into such recent programs as HAPPY ENDINGS, MARRY ME, BLACK MONDAY, and THE MICK, CHAMPAIGN ILL is bent on mining the most “arrested development” humor it can out of Ronnie and Alf’s predicament. The first three episodes, posted for free viewing with the remainder available to Premium subscribers, breeze by at a clip and occasionally dare to dip into dark waters and cringe humor without wallowing in unpleasantness.

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