C-U Biz-en-scène: 10.07.2011

“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 3: Rise ‘n Shine Time for CMM

Last month, leadership changed hands in the three-year-old Champaign Movie Makers as founder Johnny Robinson bestowed the moderator’s handle upon Thomas Nicol, a recent University of Illinois graduate in engineering as well as creator of the shorts BEDTIME FOR TIMMY and THE WINDOW INTO TIME. It is not lost on Nicol, Robinson, or other club stalwarts who attended the September meeting in Robinson’s Urbana home that the time could not be better for CMM to reestablish its priorities with the advent of the CU Film Society, as we reported here. A through-line in that evening’s conversation involved defining a symbiotic relationship between CMM, focused on local camaraderie and collaboration, and CUFS, aiming for professional-level film appreciation and production education, while retooling CMM functions to better attract members and volunteers beyond the core “usual suspects.”

CMM has met monthly without interruption and hosted presentations, workshops, and discussions, but it has never quite gained critical mass in active participants or community presence. Robinson stated in an e-mail message to CMM members that work and time commitments have simply left him little room to take the lead in reestablishing momentum, which is understandable. C-U Blogfidential therefore endorses the choice of Nicol as successor given his openness, creativity, and tech-savvy nature. One can easily see the distinct value both groups can offer Champaign-Urbana, so we hope CMM’s second wind will help it achieve its potential in our fair twin cities rife with talent and ambition.

Even if the October CMM gathering is mainly for those “usual suspects” – which should not discourage the curious from attending, of course – why not get in the loop by November’s meeting? Write ChampaignMovieMakers [at] gmail [dot] com and politely request they place you on a contact list. Then, join CMM’s Yahoo! Group and Facebook Page to receive notices. The game is afoot, dearest readers, although the question remains – do you have genuine interest in helping author a new path for CMM and, by proxy, the cinematic life of Champaign-Urbana?


It’s all about the merchandise, folks, as October haunts us early with numerous Ghosts of CUBlog’s Past … We caught a Facebook announcement that southern Illinois micro-budget project FARM, covered right here a year ago, will be released nationally on DVD next Tuesday, October 11, by Florida distributor Green Apple Entertainment. Their product page for FARM reveals atmospheric cover art and little else, leading us to believe the disc will be bare-bones; still, one can pre-order it now through such resale heavyweights as Wal-mart, Best Buy, CD Universe, Amazon, Family Video, and Barnes & Noble … While compiling today’s CUBiz, we stumbled upon a listing at DVD Empire for the long-delayed digital release of the 1984 small town fantasia GRANDVIEW, U.S.A., which Paramount Home Entertainment issued this past Tuesday, October 4. Directed by Randal Kleiser (GREASE) and starring Jamie Lee Curtis, C. Thomas Howell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and the late Patrick Swayze, GRANDVIEW was filmed during the fall of 1983 in little Pontiac, Illinois, located close to Bloomington-Normal. There doesn’t seem to be a Blu-ray edition available … DVD Empire also offers the new Lionsgate release LIVING WILL, a comedy about a brah who dies and comes back as an obnoxious ghost. We noticed it because top-billed April Scott lived in the C-U for two years before hightailing it to Hollywood, seeking her fortunes as a model, actress, and producer. As she works hard to make her name, most everybody else will eyeball LIVING WILL since its cast includes the late JACKASS co-star Ryan Dunn as the best friend-cum-spirit … Lionsgate has also issued a flood of horror film four-pack DVDs such as this particular combination with CARNIVORE, a late Eighties science-gone-wrong flick left unfinished until the late Nineties and originally released to home video 10 years ago. We covered CARNIVORE way back in MICRO-FILM 3, partly because it was the first Illinois indie production on which your humble editor knew a crew member – in this case, co-director and co-writer Frank Kurtz, who worked at the flagship Graham Crackers Comics in downtown Naperville while moonlighting on the movie … In the present, our MICRO-FILM side is just beginning to show signs of life but we’ve already received our first unsolicited kick-ass product for review! A little black bubble mailer left outside MFHQ contained Tales From Beyond the Pale, a set of five audio CDs containing 10 original horror stories produced by Larry Fessenden (THE LAST WINTER) and Glenn McQuaid (I SELL THE DEAD) of acclaimed New York indie studio Glass Eye Pix. Amongst those contributing to the aural mayhem are Christopher Denham, a UIUC theater department alum and writer-director of the well received feature HOME MOVIE, and Joe Swanberg, a graduate of Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and prolific contributor to the “mumblecore” lo-fi movement with such projects as HANNAH TAKES THE STAIRS and UNCLE KENT. Set for release next Tuesday, October 11, via iTunes and Amazon, these Tales will be available as digital downloads as well as the box set and individual discs.


Produced by Champaign native and entrepreneurial indie hop-hop artist Edward Gene Hicks, a.k.a. G-Da-Man, THE DYING BREED is a low-budget Chicago/C-U drama about an ex-Marine played by Hicks who takes on the seedy side of his impoverished neighborhood for the sake of the youth. Right now, CUBlog knows very little about this project except that you can watch scenes in this YouTube trailer and the whole thing tomorrow night, Saturday, October 8, 8 p.m., at the Independent Media Center in downtown Urbana. G-Da-Man helped grow the C-U hip-hop movement before moving to Chicago to attend Columbia College; we take it from bits and pieces gleaned from on-line he has moved back to the ‘Paign, marked by this hometown premiere!


GRANDVIEW U.S.A.* U.S. DVD Release: Tuesday, 10/4, Nationwide via Paramount Home Entertainment, Hollywood, CA

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

THE DYING BREED* local premiere: Saturday, 10/8, 8 p.m., U-C Independent Media Center, Urbana, IL

FARM* U.S. DVD Release: Tuesday, 10/11, Nationwide via Green Apple Entertainment, Boca Raton, FL

@ The Art Theater, Champaign, IL: THE GUARD (10/7 on), OOSARAVELLI (10/7, 9:45 p.m., Telegu), Nabucco (10/8-10/9, 12 p.m., opera), 28 DAYS LATER (10/8, 10/12-10/13, 10 p.m.), A USEFUL LIFE (10/13, 5:30 p.m., free)

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL: THE EXORCIST (10/8, 1 & 7 p.m.)

@ Room 62, Krannert Art Museum, UIUC, Champaign, IL: Lecture/performance by Sam Green, director of THE WEATHER UNDERGROUND (10/10, 5:30 p.m., free)

@ The Canopy Club, Urbana, IL: PEARL JAM TWENTY (10/12, 7:30 p.m., free)

@ Danville Public Library, Danville, IL: THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (10/10, 6:30 p.m.)

@ The Avon Theater, Decatur, IL: REAL STEEL, DREAM HOUSE, SEVEN DAYS IN UTOPIA (10/7 on), THIR13EEN GHOSTS (2001; 10/7, 10:30 p.m., free), DOG SOLDIERS (10/8, 10:30 p.m., free)

@ The Normal Theater, Normal, IL: 2nd annual Your Normal LGBT Film Festival: CIRCUMSTANCE (10/6, 7 p.m.), THE WISE KIDS (10/7, 7 p.m.), TOMBOY (10/8, 3 p.m.), BEGINNERS (10/8, 7 p.m.), THE BIRDCAGE (10/9, 3 p.m.), THE TOPP TWINS: UNTOUCHABLE GIRLS (10/9, 7 p.m.), I AM THE QUEEN (10/10, 7 p.m., w/filmmaker, free)

@ Princess Theatre, LeRoy, IL: RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (10/7-10/9)


@ Centerbrook Drive-In, Martinsville, IN: CONTAGION, FINAL DESTINATION 5 (10/7-10/8)

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

@ Route 66 Twin Drive-In, Springfield, IL: “Spooky Nights” movies start October 14!

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

@ The Onarga Theatre, Onarga, IL: Closed for remodeling! Reopens October 28!

@ 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!


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

@ The Avon Theater, Decatur, IL, Midnight

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.

NEW! 10/25: B-Movie Marathon feat. PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE
@ SoDo Theatre, Champaign, IL, 10 p.m.

@ SoDo Theatre, Champaign, IL, 10 p.m., free

UPDATE! 10/27-10/29: Freeky Creek Short Film Festival
@ Sleepy Creek Vineyards, Fairmount, IL

NEW! 10/30: NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968) Screening & Zombie Party
@ SoDo Theatre, Champaign, IL, 10 p.m.

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

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

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

11/12: “John Waters: This Filthy World,” Indianapolis, IN

NEW! 11/18-11/20: Illinois International Film Festival, Chicago, IL

NEW! 1/20, 2012: Issue release: C-U Confidential ‘99
+ Paper Opteryx, Champaign, IL

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
UPDATE! @ The Art Theater, Champaign, IL
10/13: 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


We welcome your virtual presence in the Confidential scheme!

318 awesome (but way too few) peeps dig our Facebook page, while 23 astounding (yet way way way too few) comrades keep a watchful eye on our YouTube channel, the C-U Confidential Revue! We’d place our bets in a heartbeat that many more would enjoy our social/video outreach if they knew about us! Have you joined us on-line? Will you be ambassadors for our indie film cause and send your recruits in our direction? The more attention we receive, the better we can serve the interests of local artists and the movies of Champaign, Urbana, and the cities beyond!


Prior “CUBiz” | Next “CUBiz”


“C-U Biz-en-scène” no.63 © 2011 Jason Pankoke/C-U Blogfidential.

Comments closed.