“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:
Hit You With Our Best (Warning) Shot … Again?
As we chill at the Secret MICRO-FILM Headquarters, heads spinning not from alcoholic consumption but the sheer high of perpetuating C-U Blogfidential for five continuous years, we began to wonder which calendar dates constitute the vital ones in our history. Certainly, the most important milestone up to now occurred on October 29, when we unleashed the first full-blown issue of MICRO-FILM, and we could easily argue the February 25 launch date of CUBlog is right up there on the list. Yet, one particularly seminal date we rarely invoke came and went yesterday, March 3, the afternoon of which we picked up MF progenitor MICRO-FILM: The Warning Shot from a local copy shop in 1999. We can’t help but recall it at this time every year since MF:TWS was our first publishing attempt; we’ll direct you to this 2009 post in which we wax nostalgic over it. Although slight in multiple senses of the word, much of the ‘zine’s contextual heft could be found in lengthy pronouncements delivered by your not-yet-humbled editor in his late twenties prime, the closest we’ve come to establishing a MICRO-FILM manifesto. Today, our film coverage efforts have turned geographically inward towards the local instead of the national and international; so has our philosophy on what matters within our so-called “empire.” You’ll certainly glean echoes of our current mindset this weekend when we post “In My Backyard,” after which the world at large will receive a rare C-U Confidential press release reiterating the completion of CUBlog’s first half-a-decade and hinting at related things to come, but we might just be ready to birth a brand new mission statement about our current purpose here in MICRO-FILM Country. We always hope our actions speak louder than our words – even though much of said action relies on potent words as its basis – and trust our dearest readers understand that we believe we’re all in this together to foster and preserve our movie arts. Be warned, however. Firing a new Warning Shot off the bow of the good ship Chambana will produce a mild aftershock in its wake, let alone a more definitive wake-up call.
We don’t have the time this week to properly recount our wonderful Sunday, February 27, other than to say we enjoyed a non-stop C-U film culture day without attending a film festival or standing sentry on a movie set. Therefore, we’d like to thank everyone involved in this three-act structure taking us across the University of Illinois campus while telling a compelling story about education and coming to self-fruition.
In the first act, film-artist-to-be Skye Marcia met your humble editor at the Espresso Royale on Goodwin and Oregon streets in Urbana to discuss her experiences working as a wardrobe designer and actress on her father’s productions while exploring different directions at the Southern Illinois University film school in Carbondale, including her penultimate thesis project she will begin shooting this weekend. (Her world and the lacking state of area movie-making education will be explored in C-U Confidential issue 5 this April!)
In the complicated second act involving three distinct plot developments, your editor relocated a bit farther north on Goodwin to the Entomology Department in Morrill Hall, wherein chair May Berenbaum and husband/cinema writer Rich Leskosky hosted brunch for Toronto movie producer Gordon Yang, a guest of the prior evening’s Insect Fear Film Festival. After coffee talk involving obscure species, the convenience of Netflix, and beetle-derived food additives, your editor accompanied Yang and surprise companion Ashlea Thomsen of Illini Film & Video to the Illini Union’s Courtyard Café, where Yang discussed working through the production ranks during the Eighties and Nineties to become an active producer and second-unit director on features, television series, and mini-series, most based in Canada such as the IFFF entry SWARMED. (His career will be examined on CUBlog or the MICRO-FILM News Blog shortly!) Several observations and anecdotes later, the filmic trio journeyed back south on Goodwin to the Bread Company at which they met performing arts locals gathered to help make our visitor feel welcome. Two hours rocketed by in the company of commercial photographer Jason Lindsey, filmmaking hopefuls Chris and Shanna DeSouza, movie man-about-town Bill Kephart, eclectic entrepreneurs Lisa Cerezo and Jace Hoppes, and IFV stalwart Michael Bach.
Our exciting third act began at the bistro as Berenbaum and Leskosky arrived just before 3 p.m. to accompany Yang back to his hotel, at which time the group dispersed and your editor jetted to the Krannert Art Museum on Peabody and Fifth streets in Champaign. Artistic team Bogdan Heretoiu and Catrina Choate-Heretoiu greeted him outside lower-level Room 62 with smiles and handshakes followed by quick seating in a lecture room filled with students, family members, and participants in Choate-Heretoiu’s thesis “dance for film,” PROBABILITY OF POSSIBILTIES. (Their efforts have already received play on CUBlog here and here!) A partial retelling of The Little Prince through gesture and movement, POSSIBILTIES dramatizes several encounters between the Prince (Luis Vazquez) and Fox (Kamilla Kinard) while a “Greek chorus” of dancers reflects their growing friendship. After a credits roll and warm reception, the audience slowly thinned out as your editor took turns chatting with the Heretoius and the DeSouzas, who also managed to make Room 62 in time.
This climax is followed by a dénouement in which your editor frequented a nearby establishment quite appropriate for dialing down after such a day – Caffé Paradiso, located mere blocks from the Goodwin store fronts where this roundabout adventure began. We now conclude our tale even though we’ve spent more effort than expected telling it to you. Oh, well. We’ll sleep when we’re dead and, besides, morning-time coherence is highly overrated…
We hadn’t heard of the Milwaukee Underground Film Festival before now but we like the sound of it – despite “MUFF,” an acronym which desperately needs to be replaced or wielded brilliantly – so we’re letting you know that submissions will be accepted through Friday, April 1, and you can download the official form here. According to their Web site, the MUFF is “a student-run, international film festival dedicated to showcasing contemporary works of film and video that innovate in form, technique, and content. This annual event exhibits independent films from all around the world. We are interested in publicly presenting the best in artistic, experimental, original, humorous, political, and visionary film and video work. The Milwaukee Underground Film Festival is a nationally recognized, non-profit organization at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.” How much do you want to bet the MUFF counts these fellas among their regulars?
Like clockwork, a new Avon class is right around the corner! “6 Great Screen Teams” will be the theme for the next screening series hosted by Skip Huston at the Avon Theater in Decatur beginning Thursday, March 24, and concluding Thursday, April 28, with all shows beginning at 6:30 p.m. Get your Hollywood fix witnessing “some of the best pairings in movie history” by signing up directly with the Avon; enrollment will cost $60 and be accepted up until the first class. Give our favorite Head Honcho a holler at skip [at] theavon [dot] com for more information!
As you’ve most likely noticed, this week’s CUBiz has turned into a big numbers game; shall we play a bit longer? First, it seems kindred entities share a rough birth date with CUBlog since both Sci-Fi Japan, one of our favorite movie/fan Web sites, and Shatterglass Studios, headquartered in Champaign and operated by Luke Boyce and Brett Hays, remarked on-line about their respective fifth anniversaries in recent weeks. Looking over the catalog of Osiris Entertainment, new distributor of local production DISCONNECT from Dreamscape Cinema, we noticed their properties included the 2000 indie 12 BUCKS which we featured in an early MICRO-FILM due to soundtrack music provided by mid-Nineties C-U rawk stars Third Stone; members currently play in The Brat Pack, X-Krush, and Live Karaoke Band. News-Gazette columnist Julie Wurth wrote a heartfelt piece published Tuesday, March 1, about watching for the first time color home movies of her parents’ wedding in June 1949, which she had only experienced through black-and-white still photography; a clip can be streamed here. The Daily Vidette, student newspaper of Illinois State University in Normal, ran an article by Ryley Murphy last month about the 15-year-old non-profit Beyond Normal Films, a volunteer group of passionate filmgoers who collaborate in suggesting art-house cinema for the Normal Theater to book. Across town, the Pantagraph reports child labor law violations have been assessed against several United States multiplexes including Wehrenberg Theaters’ Galaxy 14 Cine in Bloomington, which allegedly allowed employees less than 18 years of age to operate heavy machinery including vehicles. Last but hardly least, remember this February post which featured the med school ditty “Doctor” created by our friend and Shatterglass actress Vanessa Prokuski? Apparently her creative lark, inspired by Nicki Minaj’s cameo in the Kanye West “Monster” video, has caused enough of a stir to attract the attention of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “Woo!” for her, hrumph for us; it usually takes CUBlog much longer than 2:21 to get the attention of, well, anyone.
PLAYING THIS WEEK
@ The Art Theater, Champaign, IL: THE ILLUSIONIST (3/4 on), LÉON: THE PROFESSIONAL (3/4, 3/5, 3/10, 10 p.m.), La Traviata (3/5, 3/6, 12 p.m., opera)
@ The Avon Theater, Decatur, IL: RANGO, HALL PASS, UNKNOWN (3/4 on)
@ The Normal Theater, Normal, IL: MADE IN DAGENHAM (3/4-3/7, 7 p.m.)
@ Doudna Fine Arts Center, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, IL: THE LINGUISTS (3/10, 7 p.m., w/filmmakers)
@ The Lorraine Theatre, Hoopeston, IL: RANGO (3/4 on)
@ Gemini Cinemas, Villa Grove, IL: RANGO, HOW DO YOU KNOW? (3/4 on)
@ The Onarga Theatre, Onarga, IL: RANGO (3/4, 7 p.m.; 3/5-3/6, 2 & 7 p.m.; 3/9, 7 p.m.)
@ That’s Rentertainment, Champaign, IL: 127 HOURS, LOVE & OTHER DRUGS, BURLESQUE, FASTER, THE CLOWNS (Fellini), MESRINE: KILLER INSTINCT, more! (3/1 on)
UPDATE! @ Route 66 Drive-In, Springfield, IL – season begins April 1!
UPDATE! @ Centerbrook Drive-In, Martinsville, IN – season begins March 25!
Locally produced movies and events featuring locally produced movies are marked with an asterisk (*). Go see ‘em!
3/11: DVD release: PRESS START 2 CONTINUE*
+ Dark Maze Studios, Champaign, IL
@ Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL, 6 p.m.
3/22-3/27: Ann Arbor Film Festival, Ann Arbor, MI
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
NEW! 4/30: THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW
@ The Canopy Club, Urbana, IL, 11 p.m. w/Millikin U. shadow cast
NEW! 5/4: 2nd Annual Feminist Film Festival
@ The Art Theater, Champaign, IL
6/23-6/26: Onion City Experimental Film and Video Festival, Chicago, IL
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.)
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.
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.
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.
We’re not sure if we’ve ever made it clear why MICRO-FILM: The Warning Shot was released on March 3, so we briefly dug through the MFHQ holdings to confirm our suspicions. In a habit continuing to this day, your humble editor initially thinks through his projects on paper instead of the computer, resulting in dozens of scrawled-over legal pads, sketch books, and other bound reams of paper piled together in boxes and on the shelves. Luckily, he remembered to date a good percentage of those notes and the earliest mention of MICRO-FILM manifested March 3 in a blue-covered notebook dating from 1998, exactly one year prior to the publication of MF:TWS. (We’re happy he didn’t go with an alternate title, Shotgun, and wonder what his projected horror ‘zine Faustus might have turned out like.) Coincidentally – at least, we think it’s a coincidence – March 3, 1998, was the release date for Get a Load of This, the Funky Butt Drum Club album mentioned in the Biz a couple of weeks ago. We asked the boss this morning whether the timing was a little too perfect way back when, given his adoption of the track “Not a Movie” as an unofficial MF theme song, and he grumbled something about “skiddles” and “heat up the booty” before wandering into the other room. We’ll try again when he’s more awake. Sorry.
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.32 © 2011 Jason Pankoke/C-U Blogfidential.