In Your Background

We trust our message finds each of you well and productive on this day, the comparable Saturday in February to when we first wrote you via C-U Blogfidential a full decade ago. Taking the suggestion from peers back then, we leapt into Weblogging with the notion it could become a unique portal through which visitors explore the art and process of creative media production as personified by our own community. In a modest respect, we’ve managed exactly that with our constant output resulting in more than 1,000 posts, seven publications, seven public film shows, and numerous promotional excursions. As a low cost, highly accessible body of material that aggregates an aspect of the Champaign-Urbana experience once ignored or glossed over, it has been a successful project worth the time and effort.

And yet, as with the improving weather outside our windows, “mild” is the best descriptor for the prevailing mood inside the Subdued MICRO-FILM Headquarters. Our long-time hideaway in the original Champaign neighborhood has not been dressed with streamers, balloons, or confetti. Neither have we tricked out this very post with flashy visuals, boisterous proclamations, or gushing testimonials. A stillness fills MFHQ instead of hustle and bustle, save for the tapping on this lone keyboard. Call us old fashioned, but, we believe our proven longevity and distinct accomplishments can speak for themselves while, at the same time, we don’t exactly feel a celebration is in order. We must seriously ask ourselves the very same question first posed at 8:57 p.m. on February 25, 2006, on your humble editor’s whim:

“What is C-U Blogfidential, or rather, what will C-U Blogfidential become?”

It is much easier to succinctly respond to the former than the latter. CUBlog is a gratifying experiment in do-it-ourselves publishing, but has shown very little tangible growth over the run. CUBlog is passionate and cohesive documentation of our “scene,” but its coverage regularly falls short of the scope and immediacy offered by other area press. CUBlog is a respected forum in certain C-U circles, but has never gained a foothold in the C-U cultural zeitgeist. In sum, our profile in the C-U at large is considerably small, even after spending 10 consecutive years in the mix and organizing the semi-notable New Art Film Festival each of the past six years. This realistic assessment gives us more than a little pause. Let’s reconfigure the question, then. Where is the place of CUBlog in 2016?

We have obviously struggled to generate the kind of energy and excitement present in other areas of our “scene.” Whereas many individuals, organizations, and initiatives have received plenty of well-earned attention and accolades from the local to national, CUBlog itself seems relegated to running in the distant background like an aging operating system, providing support where needed but otherwise going about its business dependably until it requires an upgrade or replacement. Maybe it has been a needful twist of fate for CUBlog to inhabit this particular space and survive, if not thrive, especially in a Midwest campus town where alternative arts and entertainment flame out with regularity. Let’s now address the sense of purpose and urgency. Why is CUBlog still around in 2016?

If this total effort is never destined for widespread appeal or commercial viability in a community that apparently supports movie-related activity, then we should embrace our under-the-radar freedom to alter course for the better. We’ll soon discuss the philosophical and pragmatic thoughts behind CUBlog shifting gears and also define our refreshed pursuits and goals. An increase in posts of an archival, academic, or auto/biographical nature will supplant our reliance on “current events” reporting, while we devote more hours to shaping up our presentation instead of hammering out additional content. On top of this on-line overhaul, we plan to reconsider C-U Confidential and MICRO-FILM because reasons as well as stare agog at the Goliath of a question much grander than our own:

“What is film in Champaign-Urbana, or rather, what will film in Champaign-Urbana become?”

We’re not calling it quits here on CUBlog. We’re bidding adieu to a stagnant trajectory and self-imposed expectations that have worn out their usefulness. As we sort through and realize our best existent story ideas between now and year’s end, we will revolt against our milestone doldrums and invite key “scene” personalities to write about cinema and the C-U from their perspectives. We also have in mind a handful of limited series concepts we hope will encourage additional guests to join our anniversary stable. In parallel, Mr. JaPan will pull a few literary tricks from up his sleeve in order to provide context on this occasion. Expect us to introduce new-era editorial in moderation as these various contributions run their course. “Rush” is simply a four-letter word at this point.

C-U Blogfidential, et al., did not develop into the ubiquitous resource and community participant we had originally wanted to give our neighbors and onlookers. More significantly, we understand that we should not hesitate to change if it ensures the purposeful continuation of all things Confidential and personal investment by Ye Ed. Go forth, friends and filmmakers and followers of the movie culture of Champaign, Urbana, and the cities beyond! We still have your back no matter how we express it in the long run.

Thanks for your continued readership,

Jason Pankoke
Editor & Publisher
C-U Blogfidential
Champaign, Illinois, USA

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