C-U Biz-en-scène: 09.30.2011

“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!


Stayin’ Alive, Part 2: Sanford’s Key

Recently on C-U Blogfidential, we recounted the somewhat dire scenario sketched out by Sanford Hess on what it might take to keep downtown Champaign’s surviving movie house, the Art Theater, operating into the second century of its existence. Since then, we’ve talked to Hess personally and agree in theory that forming an Art cooperative, charged with keeping her business interests in check and booking compelling films to light up her screen, is the most feasible option. We also believe his suggestion of hiring a general manager to handle day-by-day functions and movie selection is best for maintaining variety and integrity. We simply hope the individuals who take seats higher up on the Co-Op’s board, now or in the future, have the best interests in mind of the Art, our diverse community, and the art of the movies themselves. Our non-humble bonus opinion is that candidates might go elsewhere if feeding ego, enhancing social status, and/or building a résumé is what you really want most out of direct involvement with this particular Co-Op, regardless of what professional value you bring to the table. As imminent voters, we’ll be happy to keep an eye on you. Thanks.

In the equally harsh reality of small theaters reliant on Hollywood product, CUBlog has reason to believe the twin Gemini Cinemas of nearby Villa Grove have closed. The owners posted mid-summer on the Gemini Web site (now inactive) about their intent to sell the business and aim for the smoothest transition possible without interrupting operations, but this realtor’s posting implies they decided to cut their losses before a suitor could be found.


Although the well went dry a while back, we’ve decided to resume activity on the MICRO-FILM News Blog to keep readers abreast of upcoming MF branded items and complement material appearing in said items and elsewhere. Mid-day Wednesday, we offered fresh salutations while unleashing the first original MF review in more than three years, a Marty McKee examination of THE EXTERMINATOR (1980) released to Blu-ray and DVD on September 13 by Synapse Films, a Michigan based boutique label founded in nearby Bloomington, IL. Will we eventually post more than the basics, and how much more? Such are the mysteries of life, gang, and a true revival will squarely depend on your readership and feedback!


Speaking of necessary support, your humble editor’s complicated schedule dictates that we postpone the release of our C-U Confidential ’99 print special until January 2012. This was an easy decision to make based on another key factor – the overall lack of response to our Call for Advertisers. We strongly believe CU99 is the place to start editorially, from which we can organically build the unique movie culture history only hinted at in the annual “Ebertfest” issues, and we urge potential advertisers – and eventual readers – to support our “off season” titles starting with this one. Our brand new (and FINAL) deadline for booking and purchasing ad space in CU99 is WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2011, 5 P.M. CST.

Next week on CUBlog, we’ll outline a new deal for customers who buy space in both CU99 and next spring’s C-U Confidential #6, and we’ll share information soon on how dearest readers can pre-order CU99. This project is your test, Champaign, Urbana, and the cities beyond, to see how much you’re willing to collectively get behind what we attempt to do at MFHQ. We need you … now!


The team behind REVOLTING will begin shooting their follow-up project, THE HAUNTED HOUSE, tomorrow, Saturday, October 1, in Danville and kick off a 10-weekend schedule lasting through December. The prior film’s director, Mike Boedicker of Roselawn Productions, and lead actor, William Kephart, collaborated on the screenplay for THE HAUNTED HOUSE, which Boedicker will direct and also co-produce with Leslie Boedicker. Without giving up the ghost over the plot, so to speak, skeptical high school teacher Tom Wilson (to be played by Kephart) and his pianist wife Claire (C-U theater regular Joi Hoffsommer) purchase and move into a grandiose house where a mass murder occurred 25 years earlier. Mounting strain is placed on their marriage – and, implicitly, Claire’s sanity – as they encounter numerous individuals who “haunt” the premises arguably worse than any supernatural entity. Johnny Robinson will DP and Victor Miely record sound for THE HAUNTED HOUSE, which will feature an intriguing mix of prior Roselawn and C-U movie actors including Gary Ambler, Jason Asaad, Peter Davis, Barbara Evans, Jonathan Harden, Matt Hester, Steven Keen, Carolyn Kodes-Atkinson, Cara Maurizi, Eric Sizemore, and Julia Megan Sullivan. The house’s real-life owner, Gary Gardner, is a professor of theater at UCLA and will appear as Prescott, the man who sells the cursed property to the Wilsons. CUBlog wishes the production good luck!


Not much on the till, folks, so we’re going to reiterate a couple of items from different angles and tack on a superfluous third just to be cute about it. First, make sure to go back and read yesterday’s CUBlog post about the just-launched CU Film Society; since we primarily cribbed our details from what’s available on their Web site, you will want to become a CUFS Member or at least get on their Mailing List or Facebook page to receive updates and further explanation about their overall plan, which we heartily agree with. Next, we’ll return to the MICRO-FILM News Blog to stress that, beyond posting fresh entries there, we will be spending time during the next month updating information and graphics across our total Web presence; go spend a few moments perusing past MF reviews and then write us if you’re interested in contributing new cinematic discourse! And finally, this article by Jim Vorel of the Herald & Review clued us in that Donnie’s Homespun Pizza in Decatur is aiming for broad Thursday night laughs by showing both classic MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 episodes as well as features unadorned by a kiss from the Satellite of Lovethat’s apparently where real live audiences will come into play. Since alcohol will most likely influence whatever is verbally hurled at the screen, this idea could either be comedy gold or one big fat poopie; guess there’s only one way for you to find out!


THIS IS MY JOURNEY*: Monday, 10/3, 7 p.m., The Normal Theater, Normal, IL

THE LORD IS NOT ON TRIAL HERE TODAY*: Thursday, 10/6, 5:30 p.m., Krannert Art Museum Auditorium, UIUC campus, Champaign, IL, w/filmmaker, free

@ The Art Theater, Champaign, IL: SARAH’S KEY (9/30 on), STAKE LAND (9/30, 10/1, 10/6, 10 p.m.), One Man, Two Guvnors (10/1, 10/2, 12 p.m., play)

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL: THE WORLD’S FASTEST INDIAN (10/1, 7 p.m.)

@ Knight Auditorium, Spurlock Museum, UIUC, Urbana, IL: BHUTAN: TAKING THE MIDDLE PATH TO HAPPINESS (10/4, 7 p.m.)

@ The Avon Theater, Decatur, IL: DREAM HOUSE, SEVEN DAYS IN UTOPIA, KILLER ELITE (9/30 on)

@ The Normal Theater, Normal, IL: Manhattan Short Film Festival (9/29-10/2, 7 p.m.), THIS IS MY JOURNEY* (10/3, 7 p.m.), 2nd annual Your Normal LGBT Film Festival: WE WERE HERE (10/2, 7 p.m.), WISH ME AWAY (10/5, 7 p.m.), CIRCUMSTANCE (10/6, 7 p.m.)

@ Princess Theatre, LeRoy, IL: THE HELP (9/30-10/2)

@ That’s Rentertainment, Champaign, IL: THE LEDGE, CARLOS (Criterion), VIVA RIVA!, WITHOUT MEN, L’AMOUR FOU, THE DYBBUK, THE GODFATHER OF GORE, THE MIDDLE (s2), more! (9/27 on)

@ Centerbrook Drive-In, Martinsville, IN: CRAZY STUPID LOVE, THE HANGOVER PART II (9/30-10/1)

@ Landmark’s Century Centre Cinema, Chicago, IL: Midwest Independent Film Festival “Advertising Community Shorts” edition (10/4, 6 p.m.)

@ AMC River East 21, Chicago, IL: Chicago International Film Festival (10/6-10/20)

@ Route 66 Twin Drive-In, Springfield, IL: “Spooky Nights” coming soon!

@ The Lorraine Theatre, Hoopeston, IL: Reopens October 14!

@ The Onarga Theatre, Onarga, IL: Closed for remodeling! Reopens November 4!

@ Harvest Moon Twin Drive-In, Gibson City, IL: Closed for the season!

@ Gemini Cinemas, Villa Grove, IL: Closed


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


10/7: THIS IS MY JOURNEY* local broadcast
@ WILL-TV 12, Urbana, IL, 8 p.m.

NEW! 10/11: DVD release: FARM*
+ Green Apple Entertainment, Boca Raton, FL

10/13-10/22: Heartland Film Festival, Indianapolis, IN

@ The Avon Theater, Decatur, IL, time TBA

10/21-10/23: CHICAGO 8: Small Gauge Film Festival, Chicago, IL

10/21-10/23: Dark Carnival Film Festival, Bloomington, IN

NEW! 10/25: Champaign Movie Makers* meeting
@ TBA, 7 p.m.

10/28-10/30: Freeky Creek Short Film Festival
@ Sleepy Creek Vineyards, Fairmount, IL

11/3-11/12: Reeling Lesbian & Gay International Film Festival, Chicago, IL

11/4-11/5: Drunken Zombie Film Festival
@ Peoria Theater, Peoria, IL

11/10-11/12: Embarras Valley Film Festival
@ EIU campus/Will Rogers Theater/etc., Charleston, IL

11/11-11/13: HorrorHound Weekend (Horror culture), Cincinnati, OH

11/10-11/20: St. Louis International Film Festival, St. Louis, MO

4/15, 2012: Buttered Corn on the Cob Film Festival
@ 88 Broadway, Urbana, IL

4/18-4/22, 2012: Wisconsin Film Festival, Madison, WI

4/25-4/29, 2012: Roger Ebert’s Film Festival
@ The Virginia Theater, Champaign, IL


Horror Films
@ The “Haunted” Avon Theater, Decatur, IL, 10:30 p.m., free
10/7: THIR13EN GHOSTS (2001); 10/8: DOG SOLDIERS; 10/14: NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968); 10/15: DAWN OF THE DEAD (2004); 10/28: JEEPERS CREEPERS; 10/29: TRICK ‘R TREAT

The New Classics: Great Books to Great Films from the Past 50 Years
@ Danville Public Library, Danville, IL, 6:30 p.m.
10/10: THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS; 11/14: ORDINARY PEOPLE; 12/12: FAIL SAFE (1964); 1/9/12: NEVER CRY WOLF; 2/13/12: AWAKENINGS; 3/12/12: ADAPTATION; 4/9/12: UP IN THE AIR

The News-Gazette Film Series 2011
@ The Virginia Theater, Champaign, IL, 1 & 7 p.m.


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

Global Lens 2011: International Films
@ The Art Theater, Champaign, IL
10/20: A USEFUL LIFE, Uruguay; 11/17: WHITE MEADOWS, Iran


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.62 © 2011 Jason Pankoke/C-U Blogfidential.

One Response to C-U Biz-en-scène: 09.30.2011

  1. Linda McElroy :

    Thanks to Michael Boedicker and his cast of “Revolting” for helping make the Friday Night Gala so much fun at the 10th Annual Route 66 International Film Festival. Check out the photos on our Facebook page: The Route 66 International Film Festival.