C-U Biz-en-scène: 11.04.2010

“C-U Biz-en-scène” appears every Thursday/Friday on C-U Blogfidential to give our readers a succinct snapshot of the cinema activity in and near Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, USA. Please support the artists and their work, attend screenings and events, and otherwise become active in our esoteric little world!


Think Inside Your Mail Box, Please!

Two additional things will need to be consolidated here at the Secret MICRO-FILM Headquarters, friends, so please read closely. We mentioned a while ago in CUBiz that we’d like to clear out MICRO-FILM and C-U Confidential stock to make room, but we aren’t in a position to simply ship them off to storage. Because we are broke and several hundred dollars in the hole with our printer for their work on CUZine no.4, which we know you all enjoyed to the max, we ask that you please consider purchasing back issues for dirt-cheap prices and/or buying advertising in advance not only for CUZine no.5, the “Ebertfest” annual, but also the delayed-so-much-that-it-hurts special issues, C-U Confidential ’99 and MICRO-FILM 2000, which we hope to unleash in March 2011. We’d love to see a big fat goose egg appear on our February printing invoice before we hand in files for MF2K and CU99; can the friends and fans help us save face and restore equilibrium in MICRO-FILM Country? Let’s find out!

We will let you know when final ad rates for next year’s issues are available, while you can purchase issues immediately by using the “Donate” PayPal button here or sending cash/check/money order/cashier’s check to: Jason Pankoke, Editor, MICRO-FILM, 401 N. Prairie, Suite 3D, Champaign, IL, 61820. Documents should be made payable to “Jason Pankoke,” no exceptions, and personal/business checks will have to sit 4-6 weeks to clear, sorry. The sale is good for all MICRO-FILM issues to date (see descriptions starting here; do not use these PayPal buttons if you want sale prices) and C-U Confidential issues 1-4 (look here for details) until further notice.

So, how few peanuts will the fire sale cost you? For any single order: 1st copy MF, $5 ppd; 2nd copy MF, $4 ppd, 3rd copy MF, $3 ppd; 4th+ copy MF, $2 ppd each; 1st copy CUZine, $4 ppd; 2nd copy CUZine, $3 ppd, 3rd+ copy CUZine, $1 ppd each. If you have trouble figuring out a total price, simply write us at cuconfidential [at] gmail [dot] com. We never ask for your financial support gratis so why not chip in right now while the gettin’ is good?


We received a late announcement through the Illini Film & Video grapevine that independent feature CHICAGO HEIGHTS will be screened at Allen Hall/Unit One on the University of Illinois campus tonight, Thursday, November 4, 7 p.m., in the Main Lounge. Director/co-writer Daniel Nearing and producer/cinematographer Sanghoon Lee will talk about the film after it concludes. HEIGHTS is described as “a stunningly vivid black-and-white, experimental, non-linear interpretation” of the 1919 short story cycle Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson, set in contemporary south Chicago. Allen Hall/Unit One is located at 1005 W. Gregory Drive in Urbana and admission is free.


We received an even more last-minute announcement late yesterday that the “GEEKS AND ZOMBIESGreen St. shoot we told you about last week has been rescheduled for this Saturday, November 6, starting at 12 p.m. Chief zombie wrangler David Jordan is still requesting a boatload of help to pull this off, so if you’re up for the challenge (and also inspired by Sunday’s premiere of THE WALKING DEAD on AMC) then throw your hat in the ring by writing zhackers1 [at] yahoo [dot] com.


The flurry of fall film festivals continues forth this weekend with the Drunken Zombie Film Festival, shuffling from Friday, November 5, to Sunday, November 7, at the Peoria Theater in Peoria, IL. Since we last posted about it, the schedule has been finalized and updated on DZFF’s own Web site. It lists 10 features and 10 shorts that will be shown, including adaptations of Stephen King (EVERYTHING’S EVENTUAL) and H.P. Lovecraft (PICKMAN’S MUSE) as well as gonzo-looking efforts such as DEAD HOOKERS IN A TRUNK, EEL GIRL, NIGHT OF THE BONGFACE II, and NIGHT OF THE HELL HAMSTERS. (What, no NIGHT OF THE BONG-SMOKING HELL HAMSTERS 3-D?) They’ll even trot out Minnesota-made throwback, THE MONSTER OF PHANTOM LAKE, which we paired with THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS VS. A MUMMY for a Mike ‘n Molly’s show a while ago. All in all, DZFF looks like bloody drunken fun even though we’re going to have to sit this one out. Feel free to send C-U Blogfidential the scoop if you go!

Your humble editor did manage to make the final evening of the Freeky Creek Short Film Festival, a brainchild of Sleepy Creek Vineyards co-owner Joe Taylor and indie movie actor-about-town Bill Kephart of REVOLTING. An intimate crowd took in 18 indie shorts on Sunday spread across three programs – the same schedule repeated from sold-out Friday and Saturday shows – complete with live introductions via remote broadcast by the Easter Bunny, who apparently books gigs as an insult comic during the off season. A comfortable and slightly irreverent air, along with the smallish audience size and scope, recalled the very first Freaky Film Festival from 1997 better than anything comparable that we’ve attended in the area. This includes the eclectic film selection, despite its adherence to genre. Some old guard local shorts provided backbone, such as Chris Lukeman’s FREE ROBOT, Mike Trippiedi’s BUCKY McSNEED, and Bob Zimmerman’s TWO ROWS IN, while newer efforts received public play for the first time, including Jason Lindsey’s THOMAS GAGE, Brian Osborne’s ZOMBIES ANONYMOUS, Thomas Nicol and Becky Griesheimer‘s BEDTIME FOR TIMMY (winner of the “Funniest Film” award) and Sleepy Creek Films’ “in-house” variation on Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado” called IN VITO VERITAS, starring Matt Hester and REVOLTING director Mike Boedicker. The remainder came from the world over including the beautifully creepy UK stop-motion shorts THE SEPARATION and THE CAT WITH HANDS, directed by Robert Morgan, the equally astounding Danish/English animation OUT OF A FOREST, directed by Tobias Gundorff Boesen and featuring music by The National, and a California pair that won the two remaining awards – “Scariest Film” SIDE EFFECT, directed by Danville native Liz Adams, and “Best Film” THE WINTER STALKER, directed by Stephen Reedy. With Mr. Bunny’s spot-on schlepping aided by Kephart, well prepared DVD projection by Taylor, and the expected food service with a smile by Dawn Taylor and staff, this Freeky fit the bill and we’re already stoked to go up the Creek next Halloween!

And finally, we received word at MFHQ that the game is afoot at the Independent Media Center in Urbana for planning the next IMC Film Festival, which presumably will take place in February 2011. With the lovely Nicole Pion now relocated to upstate New York and fabulous Katy Vizdal temporarily moved to hometown Macomb, this third go-round will be organized by the IMC’s new Development Adviser, Austin McCann. If interested in volunteering for IMCFF and/or attending meetings to learn more, let McCann know by writing austinmccann [at] ucimc [dot] org. You can check out the prior IMCFF schedule right here to see what you’d be in for – something a little more edgy, individual, political, and homegrown than “Ebertfest,” that’s for sure. (Shhhh, don’t tell anyone.)


Once again, a lean week for media goodies is upon us. We’ll keep it brief by pointing you towards a potential answer to our prayers as voiced in a September CUBiz “Outro” – the just-unveiled Engage” search engine that aggregates all campus-based activities at the University of Illinois. Joy!


REVOLTING*: Friday, 11/5, 8 p.m., The Viaduct Theater, Chicago, IL

@ The Art Theater, Champaign, IL: MAO’S LAST DANCER, KUNDUN (11/4), CATFISH (11/5 on), HAROLD AND KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE (11/5, 11/6, 11/11, 10 p.m.), ACTION REPLAYY (11/6, 2 p.m.)

@ The Canopy Club, Urbana, IL: Pizza + Pitcher and Movie – TALLADEGA NIGHTS, PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, BORAT (11/7, 6 p.m.)

@ Spurlock Museum, UIUC, Urbana, IL: 2010 Asian Film Festival (11/4-11/7, see schedule below)

@ Allen Hall/Unit One, UIUC, Urbana, IL: CHICAGO HEIGHTS (11/4, 7 p.m.)

@ The Avon Theater, Decatur, IL: HEREAFTER, WAITING FOR SUPERMAN, SECRETARIAT (11/5 on), MORNING GLORY (11/10 on)

@ The Normal Theater, Normal, IL: GET LOW (11/4-11/7, 7 p.m.)

@ The Lorraine Theatre, Hoopeston, IL: MEGAMIND (11/5 on)

@ That’s Rentertainment, Champaign, IL: TOY STORY 3, THE PACIFIC, CENTURION, WINNEBAGO MAN, CHELSEA ON THE ROCKS, REVOLTING*, more! (11/2 on)

@ Landmark Century Center Cinema & other venues, Chicago, IL: Reeling 29: Chicago Gay & Lesbian Film Festival (11/4-11/13)

@ The Viaduct Theater, Chicago, IL: Illinois International Film Festival (11/5-11/7)


Locally produced movies and events featuring locally produced movies are marked with an asterisk (*). Go see ‘em!


@ Landmark Century Center Cinema, Chicago, IL, 9:30 p.m. (@ Reeling 29)

11/11-11/13: Embarras Valley Film Festival
@ EIU campus/Will Rogers Theater/Charleston Public Library, Charleston, IL

11/11-11/21: St. Louis International Film Festival, St. Louis, MO

11/18: Central Illinois Film Commission meeting
@ Di Piero’s Sicilian Cucina, Springfield, IL, 7 p.m.

11/19-11/21: Dark Carnival Film Festival, Bloomington, IN

@ Landmark Tivoli Theatre, St. Louis, MO, 3:30 p.m. (@ St. Louis International Film Festival)

2/18-2/27, 2011: Big Muddy Film Festival
@ Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL

3/22-3/27, 2011: Ann Arbor Film Festival, Ann Arbor, MI

3/30-4/1, 2011: Wisconsin Film Festival, Madison, WI

4/27-5/1, 2011: Roger Ebert’s Film Festival
@ Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL


“Real Vs. Reel” Movie Series
@ Danville Public Library, Danville, IL, 6:30 p.m.

11/8: CITIZEN KANE; 12/13: ROCKY; 1/10/11: SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS; 2/14/11: HOOSIERS; 3/14/11: A PLACE IN THE SUN; 4/11/11: THE FUGITIVE


2010 Asian Film Festival
@ Spurlock Museum, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL, Nov. 2-7

11/4: KUNDUN (7:30 p.m. @ The Art Theater); 11/5: SUMMER PASTURE (7 p.m.), SERFS (9:15 p.m.); 11/6: MILAREPA (1 p.m.), TANTRIC YOGI (3:15 p.m.), THE SEARCH (7 p.m.), SONG OF TIBET (9:20 p.m.); 11/7: THE SEARCH (1 p.m.), MILAREPA (3:15 p.m.)

AsiaLENS: AEMS Documentary/Film Series
@ Knight Auditorium, Spurlock Museum, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL, 7 p.m.

12/7: BURMA VJ

Global Lens 2010: International Films
@ Main Lounge, Allen Hall/Unit One, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL, 7 p.m.

11/10: OCEAN OF AN OLD MAN, India; 11/17: ORDINARY PEOPLE, Serbia; 12/1: THE SHAFT, China; 12/8: SHIRLEY ADAMS, South Africa

Global Lens 2010: International Films
@ Latzer Hall, University YMCA, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL, 5:30 p.m.

11/4: MY TEHRAN FOR SALE, Iran; 11/11: OCEAN OF AN OLD MAN, India; 11/18: ORDINARY PEOPLE, Serbia; 12/2: THE SHAFT, China; 12/9: SHIRLEY ADAMS, South Africa

IPRH Film Series
@ Room 62, Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois, Champaign, IL, 5:30 p.m.


Israeli Movie Club
@ The Cohen Center, University of Illinois, Champaign, IL, 7:30 p.m.



Every now and then, we’re reminded how fragile MICRO-FILM ties can be. Case in point is the filmmaker George Hickenlooper, found dead from unexplained causes on Saturday in his Denver hotel room. Having built up an eclectic, unique filmography in his brief 47 years on this planet, the news registers as sheer tragedy on the indie cinema circuit. Hickenlooper certainly shouldered enough clout a decade ago that when MF came calling in early 2002 to solicit press materials related to his dramatic feature THE MAN FROM ELYSIAN FIELDS, starring Mick Jagger and Andy Garcia, he could have said to himself, “micro-what?” and not bothered with us. Yet, the maverick co-director of HEARTS OF DARKNESS: A FILMMAKER’S APOCALYPSE gave your editor the time of day to go along with some choice ELYSIAN stills to run in the magazine. His congenial Midwestern demeanor could be gleaned very easily from the not-too-short, not-too-long phone conversation that day; Hickenlooper hailed from St. Louis before taking his stab at Hollywood as a young man, eventually veering off to an active career as author and movie-maker. I also started working with him on coverage of his follow-up to ELYSIAN, the documentary MAYOR OF THE SUNSET STRIP about Los Angeles radio personality and scenester Rodney Bingenheimer, yet the screener he sent us would be forwarded to a prospective writer who elected to fall off the MF radar soon afterwards. At least we plugged ELYSIAN as intended; you can see Jagger’s iconic puss on the back cover of MICRO-FILM 5 and a behind-the-scenes still on the inside, illustrating a recap article about a Chicago indie film panel in which Hickenlooper participated. Of course we sent copies of this to the filmmaker and he thanked us, but the ensuing SUNSET STRIP debacle became an opportunity long lost that serves as a lesson to be adamant about finishing that which you start, no matter how important or insignificant it seems at the time. Our thoughts are with you and yours, Mr. Hickenlooper.

That’s it for the “business of our scene” this week…


If you have relevant news, opportunities, dates, or promotions that you would like included in CUBiz, please forward the who, what, where, when, and how much to cuconfidential [at] gmail [dot] com.

Compiled by Jason Pankoke


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“C-U Biz-en-scène” no. 15 © 2010 Jason Pankoke/C-U Blogfidential.

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