Q&A du C-U: Joe Taylor on Freeky

“Five for Filmmaking,” Part 1
A short interview with Joe Taylor of the Freeky Creek Short Film Festival

by Jason Pankoke

When you pick up the next issue of C-U Confidential digest, you will find amongst its spoils a compact overview of four downstate Illinois film festivals that so happen to be taking place within the same two-week period. Due to production delays on our end, CUZine #7 will emerge in the midst of this movie madness, not prior as was our intent. Please make sure to look for a pamphlet edition of this preview article with the CUZine logo emblazoned across its front, both at these events and all around the Champaign-Urbana home front.

That said, we still want to give each camp their due so as to encourage our dearest readers to sample the many flavors of independent cinema offered between them. We’ll partly achieve this goal by presenting here on C-U Blogfidential the full conversations conducted with festival representatives for our print piece, including a bonus chat with Art Theater Co-op general manager Austin McCann about his venue’s 100th anniversary celebration. CUBlog will highlight the events in the order they kick off, sensibly enough!

First out of the film gate is the fourth Freeky Creek Short Film Festival, a creation of Sleepy Creek Vineyards co-founder Joe Taylor who is aided by local movie acting machine Bill Kephart of HOUSE OF THADDEUS and HEARTSHOT fame. It begins tonight, Thursday, October 31, at 7 p.m., with the program repeating Friday, November 1, and Saturday, November 2, both starting at 8 p.m. Ticket prices are $10 on Friday and Saturday, marked up to $12 on opening night due to special attractions, including an impressive “Freeky Cake” designed by Eric Woller of MeMe’s Treat Boutique in St. Joseph. The evening will consist of two or three film blocks, hosted by Kephart in horrifically outré get-ups, after which the audience will vote for their favorite entries in various “Best” categories.

Let’s find out what Taylor had to say about this year’s Freeky Creek Short Film Festival out at the vineyard in Fairmount, a cozy rural community just south of Oakwood and a few scant miles from Danville. Seating is limited and the festival may be sold out as of this writing; call (217) 733-0330 to confirm!

Read on, Duderino MacDuff…

C-U Blogfidential: Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk with us about the next Freeky Creek Short Film Festival, Joe! First, what qualities of Freeky Creek do you feel make the fest unique and attractive to both first-time and return attendees?

Joe Taylor: It’s a hybrid of a traditional film festival and a live play or performance art. Bill Kephart and I wanted to do something like you’ve never seen before. We also strive to show high-quality films. Dark comedy is what we love the most!

CUBlog: Where do the films shown at Freeky Creek hail from, then?

JT: We get submissions from all over the world. For some reason, we have a lot from Spain this year. We also get a lot of material from our local filmmaking community. I really love that many of the local filmmakers are doing projects specifically for Freeky Creek.

CUBlog: Whether local or international or anywhere in between, are there certain films scheduled for this year that you feel are exceptional or best embody the spirit of Freeky Creek?

JT: Nice try, but you have to [attend a show] to know what we’ll be showing this year!

CUBlog: Who of note do you expect to show up at this year’s Freeky Creek, particularly of a costumed nature?

JT: Well, I can say the Easter Bunny will return as the host. As many of you know, he suffered a near-fatal overdose while shooting a PSA in Amsterdam last year. He was thought to be dead, but through some sort of miracle he is still with us. I hear he is doing well and looking forward to doing the show again.

As to who else we might see, you just never know.

CUBlog: As co-owner of Sleepy Creek Vineyards, where Freeky Creek takes place every year, how do you feel they complement each other? Do you ever see Freeky Creek crossover potential with the vineyard or your Web series, UP THE CREEK, starring Bill and numerous other local film folks?

JT: Sleepy Creek, the winery, always strives to make wines that are fun and approachable. I think Freeky Creek, the film fest, fits right in with that. We are a winery that wants to be like a pub. UP THE CREEK was created in the same spirit: fun, comfortable, and a little weird!

CUBlog: To wrap up, what kind of future do you see for the Freeky Creek Short Film Festival assuming the attendance and support remain strong?

JT: It has really been building since we started almost four years ago. I wish we had more space to get people in to see it. My dream is to build a larger building in the future [to accommodate events].

• Schedule:

n/a [Read: Be there or be really freekin’ square. – ed.]

:: Part 2 ::


Interview conducted October 10, 2013, via e-mail.

CUBlog EXTRA! Interview No.6 © 2013 Jason Pankoke

Back to the fore, Duderino MacDuff…

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