Calendar: March 27-April 2, 2020

March 28th, 2020

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!

4/2: Will “the Thrill” Viharo (movie columnist, Bachelor Pad Magazine, Champaign, IL)

 

MFHQ MEMO | From Chambana Mendota with Love Reflection

Even though I have been spotty with drafting the Almanac in recent months, I hope to get back to adding to the timeline of Champaign-Urbana’s film culture soon. It will manifest in the next few weeks for personal reasons as we hit three particular milestones that matter greatly in the annals of the Secret MICRO-FILM Headquarters. Two will come up in April, while the third has already passed but there’s no time like right now to make a mention. It may be a million-to-one odds that C-U Blogfidential continues after more than 14 years and a damn miracle that I keep at it. Yet, since our scene is always ripe with creation and I’m technically confined to this house on the edge of an American small town where I’ve been staying in recent months, I have no reason to not CUBlog. Please feel free to sift through our recent articles and play catch-up on the topics that have recently caught our attention. And then, onward.

 

CONFIDENTIAL ALMANAC | Dates in Film Culture History

14 Years AgoSaturday, February 25, 2006: Opteryx Press of Champaign launches C-U Blogfidential, an Internet adaptation of the “C-U Confidential” section from their flagship journal MICRO-FILM. In the first entry, dated 8:57 p.m., editor Jason Pankoke describes an intention of “[making] a minor splash creating a community history through cinema, one that we can definitely call our own,” with the forum as its potential epicenter. CUBlog has published local film-related content every single month since then. [R]

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
Closed for the week.

@ Family Video, Champaign-Urbana, IL
1917, CLEMENCY, COME TO DADDY, INTRIGO: DEATH OF AN AUTHOR, THE FURIES, DEAD SOUND, I AM FEAR, more! (3/24 on)

@ Goodrich Savoy 16, Savoy, IL
Closed for the week.

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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MWP volume sifts ‘Footage’ gold

March 27th, 2020

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Raring to unearth the (stock) tools of your trade, hardy creatives? In the second of a series, we turn our attention to Michael Wiese Productions of Studio City, California, a premier publisher since 1976 of trade books that cover various aspects of motion picture development, production, and distribution. The imprint’s founder, Michael Wiese, is a native of Urbana and contributes to the company from his home in Cornwall, England. Once a month for the next few months, we will share with you a brand-new review of a choice title from their catalog to demonstrate the breadth of subject matter.

Our next title is Stock Footage + Everything under the Sun by James Forsher, published by MWP in February 2019. I believe that Forsher’s effort does its part to reduce the stigma of “old is too old;” producers should find its guidance very worthwhile when it comes to generating concepts for how to better tell their stories, especially ones that can only become stronger by picturing the past. You can unearth more about Stock Footage on the MWP website or purchase it through Amazon, while you can listen to a podcast interview between Forsher and host Alex Ferrari from early last year on this episode of Indie Film Hustle.

Condensed versions of the set will be collected in a MWP feature that we are planning for an upcoming issue of C-U Confidential. Please keep an eye out for our next entry in the series!

~ Jason Pankoke

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Stock Footage + Everything under the Sun
By James Forsher

Michael Wiese Productions
Paperback, 212 pages, $29.95 SRP

We’re often encouraged to not repeat the past, but repeating remnants of the past can be invaluable to film producers as they bring alive their stories in the present. From major Hollywood features and documentary programs to prime time news specials and informational Web series, archival material is regularly worked into narratives in order to dramatize the thrust of a situation or contextualize the pivotal moments in our shared history. A quote, a photograph, a document, an audio sample, a film clip, a videotaped broadcast, or a physical artifact can lend an air of scope and authenticity to a project more effectively than any facsimile created by the most talented writers, directors, cinematographers, or craftspeople. However, many of these elements can’t simply be picked up at the local variety store and dusted off for their shining moment. One must employ an archaeologist’s mettle to find the right pieces to complete the puzzle and exercise a businessman’s skill to clear the proper rights within a set budget.

Stock Footage + Everything under the Sun, a primer on the vast reaches and specific quirks of ephemera and its use in modern media, is written by the veteran filmmaker, retired academic, and footage archivist James Forsher. On one level, it provides a compact non-linear tour through the development of mass communication forms. More directly, it serves as an off-the-shelf idea generator and relatable guide to this specialized world. Forsher undoubtedly loves the allure of tales to be retold with old elements – Paramount Pictures co-founder Adolph Zukor was his first major screen subject – and generously peppers the text with his own anecdotes from working in the industry. He has certainly dealt with plenty of victories as well as close shaves and setbacks in his years handling content. This volume is his mentorship to anyone who has ever wanted to take advantage of “recycled” film materials.

Three self-explanatory sections – “What to Look For,” “Where to Find It,” “How to License It” – walk the reader through the wilds. “What to Look For” investigates more than a dozen different kinds of materials and breaks down the strengths and possible difficulties for each. “Where to Find It” suggests both obvious storehouses and out-of-the-way sources for obtaining the best-quality versions of materials that will look crisp when photographed or added in post-production. “How to License It” is as much a cautionary tract as a helpful primer that touches on several tenets of the process such as preparedness, backup plans, third-party services, legal ramifications, and other nuances involved in negotiating rights for materials. Forsher tempers expectations with his discussion from the get-go to the fourth and final section, “How to Love Archival Material,” constantly reminding the reader that first choices for material may not be the ones most appropriate for inclusion in the final cut.

A few bells and whistles augment the sections. “Assignments” challenge the reader to apply the author’s suggestions to their own film planning. “Spotlights” interview colleagues on their specializations and include film researcher Bonnie Rowan, clips clearance expert James Tumminia, David Seevers of Footage.net, and the late Eric Caidin of Hollywood Book & Poster Co. A plethora of illustrations are set throughout the pleasing layout design, conveniently putting the lessons into practice as they hail from expected government repositories like NASA and the Library of Congress as well as private collections like Bison Archives, Footage.net, and Forsher’s own Footagesource.com. All in all, Stock Footage + Everything under the Sun is a thoughtful and enjoyable release for active producers, vintage movie fans, and history buffs who can happily scour its pages for good finds to apply elsewhere.

~ Jason Pankoke

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Review © 2020 Jason Pankoke.

Graphics: courtesy Michael Wiese Productions
Thank you to Ken Lee of MWP for his assistance and kind words!


Back to the fore, MacDuff…

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C-U cinema hits a slippery slope

March 23rd, 2020

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I think it will not take long at all before we truly feel the withdrawal from having our normal interactions with our community and the world reduced in dramatic fashion thanks to the motions being exercised by city officials, university higher-ups, business owners, organization directors, and people like you and me. The busy and mobile lifestyle that many of us engage in daily is being rightfully discouraged to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) now that it has reached the Americas, and we can’t help but be jarred when seeing the cancellations and postponements as they come from all corners so quickly. We need to remind ourselves and each other to be diligent on self-cleanliness, changes in local policies, availability of wellness resources, volunteer self-isolation, and “social distancing” when not isolated and moving about in public with necessity. As well, we must do what we can to help our friends and neighbors in need. Social media and smart phones will be vital tools in this transformed and temporary society.

Is it superfluous to talk about movies and entertainment right now? Hardly. Industries that employ thousands and media that engages millions will be affected by the shutdown even if the repercussions in areas like Champaign-Urbana aren’t notably drastic except in the exhibition sphere. Studios have been encouraged to send their new and recent releases to the streaming services early where audiences secluded at home can watch them safely. This is because the multiplex chains have suspended their schedules until the end of March at the least, effectively closing AMC’s Champaign 13 and Goodrich’s Savoy 16. Independent movie houses like the Virginia, Normal, and Avon have also locked up, following suit after Chaz Ebert and the “Ebertfest” contingent decided to cancel for the year due to University of Illinois protocol. We understand why this is being done and past yearnings for “that communal experience” in film is moot for the moment. Congregation and coronavirus shouldn’t mix.

We can’t say that we don’t have options, the very options that have been threatening the viability of theatrical screening according to many an article and report. Programming exists for us en masse to watch on streaming, free-with-ads websites, and broadcast channels so we can pass the hours when it’s appropriate to dial down. Those who still keep a physical media library might have a field day or few in their future and those who can work remotely will do just that, even when it’s tempting to crank the tunes, dive into immersive video games, or vegetate with video. It is a lifestyle modification that is not wholly disagreeable to some if the comforts, flexibility, and self-discipline exist. We otherwise await further notice from medical and health officials along with the authorities. Don’t think for a minute that we’re on vacation.

All that said, my post is really about something other than compromise in the face of a pandemic. I hinted in a C-U Blogfidential piece from a few months ago that I felt a bit of unease in certain developments. Specifically, it was the closing of the Art Theater at Halloween. Personally, it was the derailment of the New Art Film Festival as a direct result of that decision. Closer to the present, building news overseas of coronavirus spread in China, Italy, and other countries ran parallel to additional developments in our backyard along the film culture front – some important, some a mere digression – that I don’t want to be lost in the shuffling priorities and focus. Elements of our so-called scene have been put on notice, reshaped beyond our control, or allowed to simply crumble down. I want to share my observations in case any of them merit a further look if we must discuss compromise and rebuilding in our cultural landscape.

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Calendar: March 20-26, 2020

March 20th, 2020

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

3/13: Robert Picklesimer, 66 (founder, Creative Dramatics Workshop, Sidney/Homer, IL)

 

MFHQ MEMO | From Chambana Mendota with Love Astonishment

I’ve been telling myself for the last few years that I should conclude the Calendar at the 10-year mark this summer and spend my time on other content for C-U Blogfidential . It’s a mainstay that ultimately repeats information our readers could pull up on a computer or smart phone from various sources. On the flip side, gathering it here ensures a nuance and context to the information that can’t be manufactured, especially since I’ve offered it weekly with few breaks since 2010. It is a structured and compact way of tracking the ebb and flow of the movies in Champaign, Urbana, and the cities beyond if one would want to backtrack and skim through it over months or years. Never have I ever claimed that it is an absolute record – plenty of one-off shows and departmental presentations have escaped me, damn it – although it is seasoned with the flavor of film fare that finds a place in the C-U whether we ask for it or not. What I could not have predicted coming into this theoretical home stretch of the Calendar is to see it practically stripped bare of anything pertinent. The most popular booking, starting today, is “closed for the week.” For the sake of the public interest and our health, I have no arguments and plan to crawl through the ramifications and mind-bogglers in an article posting next week. The cinema is a vital scope in our society, allowing us to see that which ails and enriches us from the inside out; I have guarded confidence it will spring back strong in the public sphere even if its overall form is not quite what we’re accustomed to. That may be justification enough to continue the Calendar so when our present is in the socially distant past, we can use the entries to study and pick apart the ways in how it is rebuilt, screen by screen.

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
Closed for the week.

@ Family Video, Champaign-Urbana, IL
JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL, RICHARD JEWELL, BLACK CHRISTMAS, SUPERMAN: RED SON, LITTLE JOE, JOHN HENRY, THE ASSENT, WAITING FOR ANYA, AMITYVILLE ISLAND, more! (3/17 on)

@ Goodrich Savoy 16, Savoy, IL
Closed for the week.

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: March 13-19, 2020

March 13th, 2020

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!

3/14: Stephen Bissette (editor, Cryptid Cinema, SpiderBaby Graphix & Publications, Windsor, VT)
3/18: Joseph Muskin (co-author, The Art Theater, Champaign Urbana Theater History, Urbana, IL)
3/18: Katrina Catizone (pop culture artist, Studio Art de Katrina, Champaign, IL)
3/19: Andrew F. Gleason (writer/editor/assistant director, SUPERZUZAA, WildBrain/DHX Media, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada)

 

MFHQ MEMO | From Chambana Mendota with Love Advice

As the world shapes its policies and social behavior to begin to attempt to curb the reach of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, we must do our part to stay cleanly, limit public activity, and refrain from panic. Listen carefully to what our doctors and scientists have to say to us through official sources, such as the webpage of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or a local organization like the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District, and share only verifiable information with others. If you feel the symptoms, go immediately for a diagnosis and then self-quarantine if necessary. Help your friends and neighbors if you can; to be a hero at this stage is to be smart and responsible, especially when it comes to the hands-on welfare of those who are potentially the most vulnerable: the elderly, the young, and the economically disenfranchised. We hope that you can be constructive and creative with your time whether you contract the virus or not. Certainly, it feels like others are deciding what we can’t do with the rash of event cancellations, school closings, and the like. This may soon include movie theaters. We’ll reflect the reality as best as possible in the Calendar although we won’t be updating it to the minute when changes come. Take it as a guide and no more. Visit direct sources so you know if the show will still go on. Honestly, it’s not that important. Concentrate instead on your lives and the stability of your community. The motion picture can be revisited and replayed. Our time on Earth cannot. Cheers.

 

LOCAL FILMS, ETC. | Support Your Media Storytellers

@ Shatterglass Studios, Champaign, IL
Cancelled: Workshop Films Collective* meeting (3/18, 5:30 p.m.)

@ WILL Channel 12/PBS, Illinois Public Media, UIUC, Urbana, IL
ILLINOIS COUNTRY* documentary encore broadcasts (3/15, 8 p.m.)

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
BLOODSHOT, THE HUNT, I STILL BELIEVE, BIRDS OF PREY, THE CALL OF THE WILD, EMMA., IMPRACTICAL JOKERS: THE MOVIE, THE INVISIBLE MAN, ONWARD, SONIC THE HEDGEHOG, THE WAY BACK (3/13 on), I AM PATRICK (3/17, 3/18, 6:30 p.m.)

@ Champaign Public Library, Champaign, IL
Studio – BLACK CHRISTMAS, A HIDDEN LIFE, JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL, RICHARD JEWELL, SUPERMAN: RED SON (animated); Independent – AMITYVILLE ISLAND, DUSTWALKER, INTRIGO: DEATH OF AN AUTHOR, NEFARIOUS, SACRIFICE; Documentary – HOMES ON THE RANGE, THE LAST DALAI LAMA?; International – FANNEY KHAN (3/17 on)

@ Family Video, Champaign-Urbana, IL
SPIES IN DISGUISE, UNCUT GEMS, BOMBSHELL, CHARLIE’S ANGELS, RADIOFLASH, INHERIT THE VIPER, THE SONATA, THE ALPHA TEST, more! (3/10 on)

@ Goodrich Savoy 16, Savoy, IL
BLOODSHOT, EMMA., THE HUNT, I STILL BELIEVE, BAD BOYS FOR LIFE, BIRDS OF PREY, THE CALL OF THE WILD, IMPRACTICAL JOKERS: THE MOVIE, THE INVISIBLE MAN, ONWARD, PARASITE, SONIC THE HEDGEHOG, THE WAY BACK (3/13 on), HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE (3/15, 3/18), I AM PATRICK (3/17, 3/18, 6:30 p.m.)

@ Gregory Hall, UIUC, Urbana, IL
“For Art’s Sake” cinema screenings, Room 100, 7 p.m., free: SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN (3/13)

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
Postponed: SAFETY LAST w/live organ accompaniment by Steven Ball (3/14, 7 p.m.), Rewind 92.5 Film Series: ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK (3/16, 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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MWP begins again with ‘Writing’

March 12th, 2020

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Good afternoon, dearest readers! We have decided to revamp our scheme for this review series and post our contributors’ words in full here at C-U Blogfidential. This is an updated version of our kick-off post from January that includes Daniel Tice’s complete text about Writing for the Cut by Greg Loftin. Thanks!

It’s a good day to flip the script, studious associates! In the first of a series, we turn our attention to Michael Wiese Productions of Studio City, California, a premier publisher since 1976 of trade books that cover various aspects of motion picture development, production, and distribution. The imprint’s founder, Michael Wiese, is a native of Urbana and contributes to the company from his home in Cornwall, England, while long-time vice president Ken Lee keeps the business humming in the United States. Once a month for the next few months, we will share with you a brand-new review of a choice title from their catalog to demonstrate the breadth of subject matter that can be covered under the “film book” category.

We are grateful to have guest writers on board to split the reviews with your humble editor. Our first title is Writing for the Cut: Shaping Your Script for Cinema by Greg Loftin, released by MWP in June 2019. “Loftin does not present his ideas as ‘A Formula for Guaranteed Success,’” confirms Daniel Tice in his review, “but rather a new perspective on the art and craft of screenwriting that bridges the Alpha and Omega of the filmmaking process.” Sounds intriguing to us! Click on this link to check out the further adventures of Tice, who lives in Gibson City and is a screenwriter, craftsman, and producer at Hepp Katt Productions. You can learn more about Writing for the Cut on the MWP website or purchase it through Amazon, while you can listen to an audio interview with Loftin here at Apple Podcasts.

Condensed versions of the set will be collected in a MWP feature that we are planning for an upcoming issue of C-U Confidential. Please keep an eye out for our next entry in the series!

~ Jason Pankoke

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Writing for the Cut: Shaping Your Script for Cinema
By Greg Loftin

Michael Wiese Productions
Paperback, 190 pages, $26.95 SRP

Writing for the Cut by Greg Loftin takes the craft of screenwriting and turns it on its head. More accurately, Loftin re-edits the perceived relationship between screenwriting and editing. Contemporary screenwriting advice has as many variations as there are writers to write about it. However, there is one thing they all agree on, never use screen direction in your screenplay. To paraphrase, it is not your job as the writer to tell the director, cinematographer, or editor how to do their job. Loftin explains how this wasn’t always the case and that, while many creative freedoms were gained, something seems to have been lost. Writing for the Cut offers strategies for writing that will help ensure that more of your cinematic vision makes it through to the final cut. By offering insights into the thoughts and process of the editor, Writing for the Cut allows the writer to craft their stories while keeping in mind where their vision will receive its final form, the editing suite.

In the Introduction, Loftin gives a quick summary of his concept of Writing for the Cut complete with an example from the film EX MACHINA.

The Chapters Include:

Chapter 1: Studio Exiles; Are we writing for cinema or a notion of cinema? How screenwriters lost their memory of filmmaking.

Chapter 2: Jump; The Kuleshov effect and how the cut tells the story: Getting from the word to the moving image.

Chapter 3: Magic; Georges Méliés gives us some abracadabra in our very first for-the-cut strategy: the substitution splice.

Chapter 4: Three Axes; Suggestion, puzzle, and kinesis – three kinds of juxtaposition that can turn a passive viewer into a story partner.

Chapter 5: Suggestion; Suggestion is a lyrical kind of juxtaposition that invites the audience to add imagination and subtext.

Chapter 6: Puzzle; We can remove or reorder the jigsaw pieces to draw the audience to find a solution.

Chapter 7: Kinesis; Slicing and dicing time to put movement into our story – the cut creates motion, and the audience adds emotion.

Chapter 8: CITY OF GOD; A case study – the opening sequence to a film that captures most of our editing moves.

Chapter 9: Torpedo Boat; The story so far, arthouse versus mainstream, to cut or not to cut.

Chapter 10: The Lie Detector; The dark side – the “gap of fit” between word and moving image, and how editing reveals and fixes flaws.

Chapter 11: Writing in the Cutting Room; Mashup, remix, and previsualization – the screenwriter becomes editor.

Chapter 12: Hatching the Story; Writing with text, images, and sounds – the cut tells the story, and the cut proves the story.

Chapter 13: Art of the Magpie; How to make a sizzler.

Chapter 14: Way Station; Nearly a conclusion.

Screenwriting books generally take one of two forms. Either they are theoretical (what you should think about) or practical (what you should be doing). Loftin has managed to bridge these two disciplines with a combination of historical perspective, and practical exercises. Loftin does not present his ideas as “A Formula for Guaranteed Success,” but rather a new perspective on the art and craft of screenwriting that bridges the Alpha and Omega of the filmmaking process. Screenwriters of any level of skill and experience will benefit from the insights and perspective presented in Writing for the Cut.

~ Daniel Tice

This review originally appeared on the Hepp Katt Productions website in November 2019. It has been slightly edited for grammar and formatting.

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Review © 2019 Daniel Tice. Used with permission.

CUBlog edits © 2020 Jason Pankoke

Graphics: courtesy Michael Wiese Productions

 

Back to the fore, MacDuff…

Visit the Review Index

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Calendar: March 6-12, 2020

March 9th, 2020

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!

3/9: Meredith Dumyahn (producer/director, WSEC-TV (PBS), Springfield-Jacksonville, IL)
3/9: Jason Lindsey (commercial photographer, Jason Lindsey Photography)
3/10: Danielle Cloutier (administrative assistant, creative production, Netflix, Los Angeles, CA)

 

LOCAL FILMS, ETC. | Support Your Media Storytellers

@ Gregory Hall, UIUC, Urbana, IL
C-U Cinefile* meeting, Room 223 (3/6, 4 p.m.)

@ Lincoln Hall, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Film & Video* meeting, Room 1022 (3/9, 7 p.m.)

@ Shatterglass Studios, Champaign, IL
Workshop Films Collective* meeting (3/11, 5:30 p.m.)

@ WILL Channel 12/PBS, Illinois Public Media, UIUC, Urbana, IL
ILLINOIS COUNTRY* documentary encore broadcasts (3/6, 7:30 p.m.; 3/7, 1 a.m.; 3/8, 11 p.m.; 3/10, 7 p.m.; 3/15, 8 p.m.)

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
EMMA., ONWARD, THE WAY BACK, 1917, BIRDS OF PREY, BRAHMS: THE BOY II, THE CALL OF THE WILD, FANTASY ISLAND, THE GENTLEMEN, IMPRACTICAL JOKERS: THE MOVIE, THE INVISIBLE MAN, SONIC THE HEDGEHOG (3/6 on), THE HUNT, I STILL BELIEVE (3/12 on)

@ Champaign Public Library, Champaign, IL
Studio – BOMBSHELL, CHARLIE’S ANGELS, SPIES IN DISGUISE, UNCUT GEMS; Independent – GHOST KILLERS VS. BLOODY MARY, GO BACK TO CHINA, INHERIT THE VIPER, LITTLE JOE, MANY BEAUTIFUL THINGS, THE WOLF HOUR; Documentary – 5B; International – TEMBLORES (3/10 on)

@ Family Video, Champaign-Urbana, IL
DARK WATERS, QUEEN & SLIM, PLAYMOBIL: THE MOVIE, NEZHA, ADOPT A HIGHWAY, THE MURDER OF NICOLE BROWN SIMPSON, THE WARRANT, TITANS (s2), more! (3/3 on)

@ Goodrich Savoy 16, Savoy, IL
ONWARD, THE WAY BACK, 1917, BAD BOYS FOR LIFE, BIRDS OF PREY, BRAHMS: THE BOY II, THE CALL OF THE WILD, IMPRACTICAL JOKERS: THE MOVIE, THE INVISIBLE MAN, KNIVES OUT, PARASITE, SONIC THE HEDGEHOG (3/6 on), GOODFELLAS (3/8, 3/11), TOKYO GODFATHERS (3/9, 7 p.m., subtitled; 3/11, 7 p.m., dubbed), I STILL BELIEVE (3/11, 7 p.m., IMAX early screening)

@ Gregory Hall, UIUC, Urbana, IL
“For Art’s Sake” cinema screenings, Room 100, 7 p.m., free: DOUBLE INDEMNITY (3/6), SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN (3/13); C-U Cinefile presents “Classic Cinema Series” feat. TARGETS, introduced by Jonathan Knipp, Room 319 (3/12, 7 p.m., free)

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Weekend Films at the Union” feat. BOMBSHELL, Pine Lounge (3/6, 7 p.m.; 3/7, 7 & 10 p.m.; free w/i-card), “Throwback Films at the Union” feat. SPACE JAM, Courtyard Café (3/12, 8:30 p.m., free w/i-card)

@ School of Art + Design, UIUC, Champaign, IL
“Native Artist Series” film screening feat. THROUGH THE REPELLENT FENCE (3/9, 5:30 p.m., free)

@ Spurlock Museum, UIUC, Urbana, IL
AEMS presents AsiaLENS Documentary/Film Series feat. DAY OF THE WESTERN SUNRISE (3/10, 7 p.m., free)

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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COUNTRY to encore on WILL-TV

March 6th, 2020

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A few weeks ago, I suggested that you should keep one eye on the program schedule for WILL Channel 12, the PBS-affiliated broadcast service of Illinois Public Media and the University of Illinois, to find the particular shows that may be worthwhile to you. They include documentaries created by independent filmmakers and PBS outlets across the nation, typically presented under brands like INDEPENDENT LENS and POV, but don’t often speak directly to the Illinois experience unless the material addresses Chicago-area stories or occasional excursions beyond the suburbs as did ALL THE QUEEN’S HORSES from last year. On Monday, March 2, the station premiered a brand-new piece at 7 p.m. called ILLINOIS COUNTRY, directed by Sarah Edwards and produced by DJ Roach, which dives deep into the development of American country music and how it is historically tied to artists and milestones associated with the Land of Lincoln. Certainly, it was made to serve as a geographical companion to Ken Burns‘ massive COUNTRY MUSIC event series and missed the synergy by a few months, yet I’m glad to see WILL stretching its resources again to deliver more substantial material they can claim as their won. The film is available through WILL’s “Passport” streaming service and will encore tonight, Friday, March 6, at 7:30 p.m. on WILL-TV. Additional dates and times for a repeat of ILLINOIS COUNTRY include Saturday, March 7, 1 a.m., Sunday, March 8, 11 p.m., Tuesday, March 10, 7 p.m., and Sunday, March 15, 8 p.m., with several other airings to take place within the state and in the St. Louis area.

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As detailed on the dedicated sub-page at WILL’s website, the producers of ILLINOIS COUNTRY have gone the extra mile to whet viewers’ appetites over their discoveries by creating related programs. ILLINOIS COUNTRY LIVE! is a concert and discussion taped at WILL’s “Studio X” facility in the Campbell Hall for Public Telecommunications on Goodwin Avenue in Urbana that features Edwards as host and performances by veteran country star Suzy Bogguss, talented fiddler and singer Andrea Zonn, and guitarist Tom Hampton. VOICES OF ILLNOIS COUNTRY is a series of short interview excerpts and performances that do not appear in the documentary proper and include musicians Dennis Stroughmatt, Tasji Bachman, and Paul Tyler, country group The Deep Hollow, historian Chris Vallillo, and Nashville-based audio instructor and former good neighbor in downtown Champaign, Mark Rubel. This material can be watched for free along with plenty of other recent WILL ventures on their YouTube channel such as “digital studio” short-form series like ART BTS, CLASSICAL: BTS, and BACKYARD INDUSTRY, talking-head discussions like the half-hour digest ILLINOIS PIONEERS, and previous documentaries like COURSE WORK: DINNER SEASON AT PRAIRIE FRUITS FARM and MEDICARE MAN: REMEMBERING DAN PERRINO AND MEDICARE 7, 8 OR 9. Our world is waiting for viewers like you!

~ Jason Pankoke

p.s. You know from the preview embedded above that the great Alison Krauss appears in ILLINOIS COUNTRY, but did you also know the honorary “Alison Krauss Way” in Champaign’s sesquicentennial neighborhood borders the Secret MICRO-FILM Headquarters? Uh oh! You’re getting closer…

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Calendar: Feb. 28-March 5, 2020

February 29th, 2020

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!

2/29: Julia Megan Sullivan (actress, EMPOWERED, Malachi Entertainment, Urbana, IL)
3/2: Anne Lukeman (“chief adventurist,” C-U Adventures in Time & Space)
3/2: Kelly White (executive director, 40 North 88 West: Champaign County Arts Council)
3/3: Tariq A. Khan (entertainment reporter, Fox News)

 

LOCAL FILMS, ETC. | Support Your Media Storytellers

@ Gregory Hall, UIUC, Urbana, IL
C-U Cinefile* meeting, Room 223 (2/28, 4 p.m.)

@ Lincoln Hall, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Film & Video* meeting, Room 1022 (3/2, 7 p.m.)

@ Shatterglass Studios, Champaign, IL
Workshop Films Collective* meeting (3/4, 5:30 p.m.)

@ WILL Channel 12/PBS, Illinois Public Media, UIUC, Urbana, IL
ILLINOIS COUNTRY* documentary world premiere broadcast (3/2, 7 p.m.)

 

NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
CREATED EQUAL: CLARENCE THOMAS IN HIS OWN WORDS, THE INVISIBLE MAN, THE LAST FULL MEASURE, 1917, BIRDS OF PREY, BRAHMS: THE BOY II, THE CALL OF THE WILD, FANTASY ISLAND, THE GENTLEMEN, IMPRACTICAL JOKERS: THE MOVIE, KNIVES OUT, THE PHOTOGRAPH, SONIC THE HEDGEHOG (2/28 on), BAD BOYS FOR LIFE (2/28-3/3), MY HERO ACADEMIA: HEROES RISING (2/28-2/29, 3/3-3/5), EMMA., ONWARD (3/5 on)

@ Armory Building/Gregory Hall, UIUC, Champaign-Urbana, IL
“For Art’s Sake” cinema screenings, Armory Building 101, 7 p.m., free: RIO BRAVO (2/28); Greg Hall 100, 7 p.m., free: DOUBLE INDEMNITY (3/6)

@ Champaign Public Library, Champaign, IL
Studio – DARK WATERS, PLAYMOBIL: THE MOVIE, QUEEN & SLIM; Independent – 2 GRAVES IN THE DESERT, ANA, THE FURIES, RADIOFLASH (3/3 on)

@ Family Video, Champaign-Urbana, IL
FROZEN II, KNIVES OUT, COLOR OUT OF SPACE, RABID, VILLAINS, ANOTHER MOTHER’S SON, THE CORRUPTED, THE ROCKET LIST, FEEDBACK, AFTER WE LEAVE, more! (2/25 on)

@ Goodrich Savoy 16, Savoy, IL
IMPRACTICAL JOKERS: THE MOVIE, THE INVISIBLE MAN, THE LODGE, 1917, BAD BOYS FOR LIFE, BIRDS OF PREY, BRAHMS: THE BOY II, THE CALL OF THE WILD, FANTASY ISLAND, JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL, KNIVES OUT, PARASITE, THE PHOTOGRAPH, SONIC THE HEDGEHOG (2/28 on), MY HERO ACADEMIA: HEROES RISING (2/28-2/29, 3/3-3/5), The Metropolitan Opera: Agrippina (2/29, 11:55 a.m., simulcast; 3/ 4, 6:30 p.m., recorded), NORTH BY NORTHWEST (3/1, 3/ 4), ONWARD (3/5 on)

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Weekend Films at the Union” feat. JOKER, Pine Lounge (2/28, 7 p.m.; 2/29, 7 & 10 p.m.; free w/i-card), “Throwback Films at the Union” feat. A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN, Courtyard Café (3/5, 8:30 p.m., free w/i-card)

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
Reel Deals: RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (3/3, 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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Collective hones film skills weekly

February 26th, 2020

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Did you take up my suggestion and attend the Champaign Movie Makers meeting on Monday night? If so, you hopefully left with a smile and a better understanding of what CMM members are capable of putting together in our community after watching their 48-hour film festival. That said, what else is out there for those who want to seriously build their skill set so they can gain a foothold in the entertainment world? A newer group in Champaign, the Workshop Films Collective, is offering next-level instruction that some of our friends and neighbors might be craving if they don’t yet have the chops for professional production or the means to attend film school. It is a service the likes of which is rarely offered here in the private sector or at university and, for today, C-U Blogfidential can share the scoop on this opportunity!

Eager facilitator John Isberg, who segued from a career in special education teaching to a full-time and self-made gig as an independent video creative within the last several years, hosts the meetings of the collective in the modest back studio space of Shatterglass Studios near downtown Champaign. Ready built for his purposes, it is intimate enough for everyone to share face time as they talk projects and strategy while equipped with the appropriate gear to augment their lessons from week to week. One of the collective’s strengths is that it does meet weekly, not monthly, so that individuals can consistently soak up the entirety of what it means to play a vital role on a set and practice hard towards that goal.

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“Magnolia” long take from Swede Films on Vimeo.

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“We work on developing production skills in camera, grip and electric, sound, directing, and developing professionally as a film crew,” states Isberg in a brief IM conversation with CUBlog. “The collective is guided by the principle that film is a collaborative effort and we work to support and develop each other’s voices through film.” To that end as with CMM, members of the Workshop Films Collective may have one eye on the bigger picture with pet projects in mind as they dig in practicing the technical skills they would like to perfect. Isberg realized that the group itself had to first coalesce into a nucleus that is capable of stepping beyond the comfort zone of the “lab experiments” performed at the Shatterglass confines.

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