‘I DO’ to set HCA ablaze tonight

“Sold out” is one of the operative phrases for the debut of the downstate Illinois film production BEFORE ‘I DO,’ set to enthrall a full house starting at 7 p.m. tonight, Saturday, April 30, at the Hoogland Center for the Arts, 420 S. Sixth St., Springfield, IL, in the main auditorium. Director, writer, and executive producer Kimberly D. Conner will introduce her newest big-screen story at the premiere, following a year-and-a-half-long post production stretch during which her freshman feature effort, JUMP IN, received national distribution. In the past two weeks leading up to show time, Conner graciously engaged C-U Blogfidential in an e-mail exchange about all things ‘I DO’ and Predestined Arts & Entertainment, the media studio she co-founded with sister Candice, and we’d like to share a few highlights with you!

When asked about what viewers might experience from ‘I DO’ as they watch it for the first time, Conner hints that “audience members and supporters can expect a myriad of surprises, twists, and turns when a secret is revealed, as the story’s plot unfolds” and also describes the film as “being more action-packed than JUMP IN” given its firefighting angle. The filmmaker goes on to compare the successive features in that “both stories contain strong plotlines that force the characters to react” but differentiates the projects in terms of whom is front and center for audiences to empathize with, stating that “the stories are told from two different perspectives. JUMP IN is told from a female’s perspective; ‘I DO’ is told from a male point of view and differs greatly.”

She also reveals details about the premiere itself, saying “the majority of the cast [from ‘I DO’] will be in attendance. The film’s lead, Jensen Atwood [who plays fireman-by-day, artist-by-night ‘Caleb Abrams’] will be there, along with costars Andrea Kelly, Danielle Ward, Thea Camara, Harold Dennis, Lamar Barnes, Kathleen Purcell-Turner, and Michael Pittman.” Collaborators from behind the camera will also partake, according to Conner. “In terms of crew, our director of photography Mike Ware plans to attend, along with wardrobe [coordinator] Brandi Armstrong of Cabryl Breotti Designs. A couple of our producers will be attending also – producer David Anderson and associate producer Sunday Akinyemi.” While a VIP gathering and after party will be held mainly for members of the production team, Conner offers that “the red carpet event [before the screening] is open to the public to show our appreciation for their support!”

A second show has been set for May 28 at the Plaza Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia, with many more certain to follow including, we hope, a local reprise for those who will not descend upon the Hoogland Center this evening. You can keep up with the progress of BEFORE ‘I DO’ by frequenting its Facebook page or checking in on its official Web site; once we receive concrete information on close-to-home developments, we’ll post them for you and watch the sparks fly! It simply warms our collective CUBlog heart to no end as we witness the tireless effort put towards a career in the cinema arts by this Capital City resident and Champaign native. Hurrah!

~ Jason Pankoke

p.s. “I write, produce, and direct my own films. I’m not waiting for permission.” ~ Kimberly Conner, posted March 5, 2016, with a photo on the BEFORE ‘I DO’ Facebook page

p.s.2 Consider the mic dropped.

p.s.3 That is, until the mic is picked back up and we continue our conversation with Conner in an upcoming article. Exercise those eagle eyes, dearest readers!

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