“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!
MFHQ & YOU:
Our First Fast Five and the Potentially Furious Future
When your humble editor was but a wee lad, a joke circulated around the Pankoke household that he loved the number five. We’re having a hard time verifying why this came to be, other than imagining he must have received a very special present for his fifth birthday or, upon reaching said longevity, figured out he could proudly fill up an entire hand with outstretched digits prompted by doting adults asking about his age. Brandishing a similar sense of cutesy self-awareness, C-U Blogfidential crosses the mid-point between nothingness and a full decade of existence later tonight, Friday, February 25, when five years earlier we flipped this particular switch to “on” at the Secret MICRO-FILM Headquarters and added our first bit of hopeful musing to the Interwebs. You might find it amusing to spend a few minutes visiting our past to recall where we came from, yet it would be more pertinent to consider how CUBlog could mature into something more formidable than we’ve managed so far. After the grown-up Mr. Pankoke is allowed to cut loose on shared concerns in his annual “In My Backyard” treatise next week, we’re going to hit our dearest readers hard for their opinions on what the Confidential effort means to them and how they can help this forum for the movies of Champaign, Urbana, and the cities beyond sing loud and strong instead of merely humming along. Thanks for reading along this far, the journey has only just begun!
Chances are good most residents of the C-U might answer the question, “What’s the name of that dance movie they made here?” with “LEADING LADIES!” and they’d be correct, if not in the most absolute sense. It seems the creation of “dance for camera” has been catching on with University of Illinois students in the Department of Dance, often as final or thesis projects. Your humble editor attended a mid-semester campus screening a while back with local and non-local samples of the genre, which melds original dance choreography with edited cinematography to create a unique sensory experience, coupled with a live site-specific performance down the hallway from screening room Armory 101. The general public rarely sees this work and, as class assignments early in one’s career, much of it probably sits on the proverbial shelf upon the makers’ graduation from higher learning to the real world.
That is, unless the real world beckons for one to continue working and exploring in higher learning. UI MFA candidate Catrina Choate-Heretoiu will present her thesis dance for camera, PROBABILITY OF POSSIBILITIES, this Sunday, February 27, 3 p.m., in Room 62 (lower level) of the Krannert Art Museum, 500 E. Peabody Dr., Urbana, IL, and briefly answer questions alongside husband and collaborator Bogdan Heretoiu about the half-hour piece inspired by The Little Prince. “Beginning to produce dance for camera films has been a long-standing dream of ours, so we used the MFA Thesis opportunity to start our collaboration for film,” Bucharest native Heretoiu explains to CUBlog. “This is the first of many projects we hope to develop using local talent and resources.” The couple will settle in C-U as Choate-Heretoiu has accepted a position at the dance school, while Heretoiu pursues freelance production work, filmmaking instruction, and writing.
PROBABILITY OF POSSIBILTIES’ cast is comprised mainly of undergraduate dance students, with leads Kamilla Kinard and Luis Vazquez essaying roles comparable to the Prince and the Fox characters of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s famous novella, along with several tango dancers from the community. Working with university students as assistants on the “mostly improvisational” shoot last fall in several C-U locations, Heretoiu and Choate-Heretoiu drew on the latter’s experience in performing and teaching ballet, modern dance, and movement. Of their aesthetic approach, Heretoiu reasons “in a world and time that seems to move faster and faster by the minute, we attempted to slow down as much as possible, taking a look at the small details, gestures, and body language that are natural yet often overlooked by modern society.” Readers should look to CUBlog on Saturday for a follow-up on POSSIBILITIES featuring a teaser trailer that patiently focuses on the understated.
“As I am very new to the area, I am still fascinated by the amount of local talent and the potential it holds for anyone wanting to produce new works in the field of visual arts,” continues Heretoiu, who earned theater and film degrees in Romania, a film production degree in Miami, and has also established several personal outlets for his own production and teaching (Arts4Hope), writing and philosophy (Evolutionary Exploration), and stage collaborations with Choate-Heretoiu (Memento Vivere Dance Theater Company). “Keeping in mind [PROBABILITY OF POSSIBILTIES] was produced without a budget and virtually without a set-knowledgeable crew, imagine what can be achieved if people bring together their passion and resources! Consider this an invitation to connect.”
What’s that buzzing in your ear? Behold a not-very-subliminal reminder that “killer wasps” will rule the 28th annual Insect Fear Film Festival this Saturday, February 26, beginning at 7 p.m. in Foellinger Auditorium, 709 S. Mathews Ave., Urbana, on the University of Illinois campus! An informational and entertaining jaunt presented by the UI Entomology Graduate Student Association in league with Entomology department chair May Berenbaum and former Unit for Cinema Studies head Richard Leskosky, IFFF fills out the Foellinger foyer with displays including live and preserved specimens to show attendees the vital place insects have in our ecology. Fact gives way to fiction once inside the auditorium, however, as Berenbaum introduces movies that mostly place our multi-legged invertebrate friends in an exaggerated and non-congenial light. This year, the old school is represented by MONSTER FROM GREEN HELL (1957), an obscure potboiler about giant prehistoric wasp-like creatures surfacing in Africa, while the new (and mostly direct-to video/television) guard is embodied in SWARMED (2005), a made-in-Canada production for SyFy starring Michael Shanks and Carol Alt with an appearance by righteous B-movie dude Tim Thomerson. SWARMED producer Gordon Yang will be in attendance to introduce and answer questions about the movie.
Within a two-year span immediately following the Millennium, your humble editor first encountered the fascinating art-world spin on media that is designed to be exhibited in non-theatrical spaces, particularly with a Bill Viola installation featured at the UI’s Krannert Art Museum and a multi-projector performance by The Tape-beatles at the University Galleries of the Center for Visual Arts, Illinois State University, in Normal. We’ve seen very little of their nature in the area since then, but University Galleries is currently filling that void by presenting a world premiere “video triptych” by Meredith Zielke and Yoni Goldstein entitled THE JETTISONED. Three channels of footage, one each filmed in Chicago, Warsaw, and Mexico City, are cast simultaneously on adjacent surfaces and “activates a sensorial experience that sends the viewer into an opulent darkness where history is performed through living bodies, both stilled and silenced,” per the gallery notes. This prolific team has created dozens of works, as documented on their Web site, and a reception for the artists will take place this Saturday, February 26, 5-7 p.m., at the gallery, 110 Center for the Visual Arts (near the intersection of Beaufort St. and Vernon Ave.) on the ISU campus, which will host the triptych through Sunday, April 4.
Lucky you, our lateness in posting this week has allowed us to include information from a last-minute blast we’ve just received, a reminder that the regular deadline for submitting work to the Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival is next Friday, March 4, with the final deadline coming on Friday, May 6. The event will take place July 19-24 at the Cutting Hall Performing Arts Center in Palatine, IL.
Here’s a peculiar herd of linkages if we’ve ever seen one! In the wake of bookseller megachain Borders announcing its bankruptcy proceedings which will involve the closure of 200 stores nationwide, news broke that rental megachain Blockbuster Video will eliminate 600 locations this spring, including Bloomington and Urbana, while still doing business in Champaign and Normal. Yesterday, Warner Bros. Television and CBS-TV rewarded hot shot Charlie Sheen and his big mouth by eliminating any traces of first-run TWO AN A HALF MEN for the remainder of the season; Mark Roberts is probably counting his lucky stars that MIKE & MOLLY and THE BIG BANG THEORY are also hits, thereby securing his employment. A “show” that is not on television will be setting up shop in Urbana for the first time later tonight, Friday, February 25, 7:30 p.m., at the Link Gallery connecting the Krannert Art Museum and the School of Art and Design building on the UI campus; “The Show ‘n Tell Show” is a performance piece, comedy revue, and live interview forum for contemporary designers hosted by Zach Dodson, Seth Dodson, and Michael Renauld of Chicago. (It has little to do with filmmaking, although their rad “intro” video featuring faux Muppet characters is worth checking out for a good nonsensical laugh.) And that leads us indirectly to our final item about the retrospective exhibit “Jim Henson’s Fantastic World,” which recently finished its run at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago and relocated to the Lakeview Museum of Arts & Sciences in Peoria, which will display the collection of personal and professional Henson memorabilia through Sunday, May 1, thereby concluding the exhibit’s United States tour. Your humble editor knows at least one special trip he’ll be taking very soon!
PLAYING THIS WEEK
@ The Art Theater, Champaign, IL: THE ILLUSIONIST (2/25 on), BEST WORST MOVIE (2/25, 2/26, 3/3, 10 p.m.), Romeo and Juliet (2/26, 2/27, 12 p.m., Shakespeare)
@ Foellinger Auditorium, UIUC campus, Urbana, IL: Insect Fear Film Festival (2/26, 7 p.m., feat. MONSTER FROM GREEN HELL and SWARMED w/filmmaker)
@ Room 62, Krannert Art Museum, UIUC campus, Champaign, IL: PROBABILITY OF POSSIBILTIES* thesis “dance for camera” premiere (2/27, 3 p.m.)
@ The Avon Theater, Decatur, IL: HALL PASS, UNKNOWN, I AM NUMBER FOUR (2/25 on)
@ The Normal Theater, Normal, IL: I LOVE YOU, PHILLIP MORRIS (2/24-2/27, 7 p.m.)
@ The Lorraine Theatre, Hoopeston, IL: JUSTIN BIEBER: NEVER SAY NEVER (2/25 on)
@ Gemini Cinemas, Villa Grove, IL: THE ILLUSIONIST, HOW DO YOU KNOW? (2/25 on)
@ The Onarga Theatre, Onarga, IL: JUST GO WITH IT (2/25-2/27, 3/2, 7 p.m.)
@ Capital City Bar & Grill, Springfield, IL: Central Illinois Film Commission “Red Carpet Party” (2/27, 7 p.m.)
@ That’s Rentertainment, Champaign, IL: FISH TANK (Criterion), GET LOW, KINGS OF PASTRY, MEGAMIND, DUE DATE, THE KILLING JAR, SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS (Criterion), more! (2/22 on)
@ Guyon Auditorium, Morris Library, SIU, Carbondale, IL & more: Big Muddy Film Festival 33 (through 2/27)
@ IFC: 26th annual Film Independent Spirit Awards broadcast (2/26, 9 p.m. CST)
@ ABC-TV: The 83rd Academy Awards Show broadcast (2/27, 7 p.m. CST)
Locally produced movies and events featuring locally produced movies are marked with an asterisk (*). Go see ‘em!
3/10: THE LINGUISTS w/filmmakers
@ Doudna Fine Arts Center, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, IL, 7 p.m.
3/11: DVD release: PRESS START 2 CONTINUE*
+ Dark Maze Studios, Champaign, IL
NEW! 3/17: NORA
@ Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL, 6 p.m.
3/22-3/27: Ann Arbor Film Festival, Ann Arbor, MI
NEW! 3/26: DIY Film Festival at Chicago Zine Fest, Chicago, IL
3/30-4/1: Wisconsin Film Festival, Madison, WI
4/3: Buttered Corn on the Cob Film Festival
@ 88 Broadway, Urbana, IL
4/8: The New Art Film Festival at Boneyard Arts Festival
@ The Art Theater, Champaign, IL
4/14: STONEWALL UPRISING screening/discussion/taping
@ Champaign Public Library, Champaign, IL, 6:30 p.m.
4/27-5/1: Roger Ebert’s Film Festival
@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
6/23-6/26: Onion City Experimental Film and Video Festival, Chicago, IL
NEW! 7/19-7/24: Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival, Palatine, IL
9/16-9/18: Route 66 International Film Festival
@ Hoogland Center for the Arts, Springfield, IL
COMMUNITY FILM SERIES
“Real Vs. Reel” Movie Series
@ Danville Public Library, Danville, IL, 6:30 p.m.
3/14: A PLACE IN THE SUN; 4/11: THE FUGITIVE
Springfield Art Association 20th Annual Film Festival
@ AMC Parkway 8, Springfield, IL, 1 & 4 p.m. (Sun.), 7 p.m. (Tues.)
2/27, 3/1: UNDERTOW; 3/13, 3/15: MOTHER AND CHILD; 3/27, 3/29: MADE IN DAGENHAM; 4/10, 4/12: MY DOG TULIP
The News-Gazette Film Series 2011
@ The Virginia Theater, Champaign, IL, 1 & 7 p.m.
3/12: THE MATRIX; 4/23: TOY STORY; 5/14: REAR WINDOW; 6/4: MOULIN ROUGE!; 7/23: BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S; 8/6: ARSENIC AND OLD LACE; 9/10: ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT; 10/8: THE EXORCIST; 11/5: THE GODFATHER; 12/3: THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS
WILL-TV/Independent Lens “Community Cinema” series
@ Champaign Public Library, Champaign, IL, 6:30 p.m.
2/24: ME FACING LIFE; 3/17: PUSHING THE ELEPHANT; 4/26: BHUTTO: 5/10: WELCOME TO SHELBYVILLE; TBA: TWO SPIRITS
UNIVERSITY FILM SERIES
AsiaLENS: AEMS Documentary/Film Series
@ Knight Auditorium, Spurlock Museum, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL, 7 p.m.
3/1: DISHONORED; 4/5: THE SWEETEST EMBRACE; 5/3: IN THE MATTER OF CHA JUNG HEE
Global Lens 2011: International Films
@ Latzer Hall, University YMCA, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL, 5:30 p.m.
3/17: BELVEDERE, Bosnia-Herzegovina; 4/21: DOOMAN RIVER, China; 5/19: THE INVISIBLE EYE, Argentina; 6/16: THE LIGHT THIEF, Kyrgyzstan; 7/21: SOUL OF SAND, India; 8/18: STREET DAYS, Georgia; 9/15: THE TENANTS, Brazil; 10/20: A USEFUL LIFE, Uruguay; 11/17: WHITE MEADOWS, Iran
IPRH Film Series Spring 2011
@ Room 62, Krannert Art Museum, UIUC, Urbana, IL, 5:30 p.m.
3/3: AFTER HOURS; 3/31: AVALON
Apparently your humble editor is not the only senior ‘zinester keeping it real and defying the ravages of time! Make sure to send your Happy Birthday wishes to our friend and area indie publisher Troy Michael tomorrow, Saturday, February 26, when he cements the deal on four full decades of rocking planet Earth! His durable Web publication Innocent Words Magazine, devoted to covering the best in indie rock and related culture, will hit its own 10th anniversary milestone at the end of 2011 so keep an eye on IW for announcements about how they plan to mark the occasion!
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
MF FIRE SALE!
We ask that you consider purchasing back issues of MICRO-FILM and C-U Confidential to help erase our outstanding print bill before we return to the printer with files for not only CUZine no.5 but our delayed special issues, C-U Confidential ’99 and MICRO-FILM 2000. You can order 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” and personal/business checks will have to sit 4-6 weeks to clear. The sale is good for MICRO-FILM issues 1-7 (do not use the old PayPal buttons if you want sale prices) and C-U Confidential issues 1-4 until further notice. 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 for help. We need to nail this by Friday, April 1, 2011, or nefarious decisions will have to be made in the bowels of the Secret MICRO-FILM Headquarters. Thanks in advance for your support!
“C-U Biz-en-scène” no.31 © 2011 Jason Pankoke/C-U Blogfidential.