IOW: Nice to C-U on CUBlog, pt.3

After further rummaging through our computer directories and CD-Rs, we’ve finally pulled together our last collection (for now) of local movie visuals that have never before appeared on C-U Blogfidential or in C-U Confidential! Most fall squarely under the “how they did it” category, beginning with a raw close-up of charismatic Jonathan Harden who plays adventurer “Spring Heel Jack” in ONCE UPON A TIME IN 1972 from Kill Vampire Lincoln Productions of Champaign. The green screen behind Harden has since been subbed out for a background plate in the final film.

Nine years ago from right about now, we ran the above photograph in MICRO-FILM 5 to illustrate the low-budget ingenuity used to stage extensive water tower scenes from the tense drama CHARMING BILLY, filmed by Havana, IL, native Wm. R. Pace in and near his hometown in 1999. While actor Michael Hayden is shown approaching a real-life structure in the movie, most scenes involving his character’s shooting spree were accomplished using this partial recreation of the tank and catwalk.

Last year, lead actress Carolyn Kodes-Atkinson lent her Champaign home to the production of writer/director Mike Trippiedi’s second feature AMBER ROSE, at which the crew seemingly used every square foot of her porch and front yard to position personnel, camera, and gear. Director of photography Bill Yauch (standing just right of center, in front of microphone) mixed up his shot selection as best he could for variety’s sake.

We keep forgetting about snaps taken during our PRESS START 2 CONTINUE set visit in late 2009, so for the first time we share this candid of director Ed Glaser talking actors Jennifer Zahn and Joshua Stafford through a round of the fictional “Jackamo” card game; they’re joined by animated characters from the game in the finished movie. Our observations took place in the mystical Champaign warehouse space of Dallas & Company, which has served many a Dark Maze Studios project well.

We’re also horrible about occasionally staging photo shoots for something-or-others that don’t quite pan out, such as a 2005 series depicting various friends of the cause reading MICRO-FILM back issues. Here, Bill Kephart of REVOLTING fame strikes poses with MF 2 near the Lincoln Avenue gateway on the University of Illinois campus. We don’t remember what delicacy Kephart toted along in the little paper bag, so please don’t write us and ask. Thank you.

Finally, we wish the graphic above was only a prop or mock-up but that is not the case. One person actually sent this to another through the mail in mid-Forties America, as recounted in the Jay Rosenstein documentary THE LORD IS NOT ON TRIAL HERE TODAY about the late Champaign resident Vashti McCollum and her legal fight to remove religious leanings from the public classroom.

~ Jason Pankoke

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