IFV offers UI students filming fun

We like to mark the occasion when the Illini Film & Video (IFV) student club at the University of Illinois gets underway each academic year in the hopes that young people will feel compelled to join in. It is a resource for budding media-makers whose tastes lean towards the comedy and drama of storytelling – that does not mean documentary, diary, nonlinear, or industrial are off limits – at a flagship university that, once again and always, has no film production track. UIUC undergraduates are the target audience for this organization, which met for the first time during the 2018-2019 frame last night, Monday, September 10, at 7 p.m. in Room 1022 of Lincoln Hall, and their organizing peers will give members room to practice with the process and express their ideas and problem-solving. It is usually not the only RSO of its kind on campus but it is the long-standing one; IFV will begin its third decade of activity in the near future.

Students with little to no filmmaking under their belts are just as welcome to attend the weekly meetings as are graduate students with thesis projects in the works and campus employees with professional gigs on their plate. This year’s officers, Saloni Nahar (president), Prashanth Vemuri (vice president), Kevin Konrath (secretary), Yanyi Xie (marketing director), Zhi Luo (outreach), Alex Gong (treasurer), John Carlson (equipment manager), and Deborah Agoye (web manager) can help in pointing out opportunities within and outside of IFV. That said, the club always attempts to provide a mix of events to encourage participation that may include hands-on workshops, guest speakers, challenges like the annual 48 hour contest, club fundraisers such as on-site taping at Roger Ebert’s Film Festival, student film showcases like the new Golden Corn Movie Festival, and C-U excursions to see movies and such.

We don’t need to pitch the virtues and ever-brewing potential of IFV as their officers are capable of the same. What we can do is reiterate how amazing it is for this club to persist for nearly 20 years. We know from research that groups invested in cinema creation have run their course at UIUC from time to time. Two examples are Cinemaguild, whose B-film SHOT (1973) received a surprise Blu-ray release last month, and the Illini Photo Players, a drama club whose filmed “school spirit” film PRO PATRIA (1916) not only combined the efforts of students, faculty, and administrators but stands as the oldest (albeit lost) narrative Champaign-Urbana film that we know about. Their output provides us with time capsules today but the groups themselves only existed for brief periods during their prime. In comparison, IFV’s prolific tenure is a singular achievement that we hope will never be taken for granted by the university or alumni.

Those interested in Illini Film & Video or mentoring should write illinifilmandvideo [at] gmail [dot] com to be added to their mailing list. One can also like the Page or join the Group on Facebook, although your familiarity with current club members  would be wise for the latter. If you simply want to enjoy their output, visit the IFV YouTube channel at any time. We have embedded one recent example here, the clever sci-fi thriller LIFESAVER (2018) directed and written by Dushan Ranasinghe, executive produced by Alexandria Willis, and starring the winning Katherine Bokenkamp.

~ Jason Pankoke

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