Alas, no NAFF 2019 show for you


As some of you have seen, dearest readers, I posted on the New Art Film Festival website last week to express dismay at the closing of the Art Theater and declare that our tenth event would not happen in 2019. You probably also realized that I’m taking the diplomatic route in what I say about the awkward timing of the closure as well as other issues that are shading my passive-aggressive approach in dealing with the delay. I have ideas on how and when to resume the NAFF, but it is probably just as well that I let them simmer in the background for a bit as family responsibilities and life maintenance have come to the fore with the holidays approaching – jingle bells, ho ho ho, and all that Charlie Brown jazz.

Drumming up the motivation and gung-ho attitude to push it through will be a chore. What remains of the Art Film Foundation hierarchy has no say on the NAFF – a curious topic for future discussion, that – and the potential for continuation is solely in my court. I need to find an appropriate venue that can handle the presentation needs of a film screening and a sizeable-enough audience without compromising too much on the quality of the former and the comfort of the latter, in addition to scheduling it on the calendar when it won’t compete with or be directly trounced by similar offerings. This is radically different than organizing the NAFF where our process was down to a science and the roof over its head guaranteed. I’d essentially be starting over to salvage or continue what we already had in the works.

Of course, it would be somewhat easier to replenish the NAFF if I was presently living in the C-U like a full-time resident. I’ve honestly been a bit surprised that I could pull it off from a distance the last two years. Yet, except for the precious few folks who have voiced their support privately, a handful of venue managers that have expressed interest in discussion, and our trusted colleagues who’d pitch in again were the show to go on, I have to advocate for the NAFF in our Twin Cities because no one else will. This is how we can still achieve an appreciation for the media storytellers in our ranks and teach everyone else in Champaign-Urbana the worth of propping up the local film culture. And, that is why I will do what I can to breathe life back into the New Art Film Festival no matter how well it pans out.

Besides, if you were the purveyor and public face of an idiosyncratic cultural gathering on the doorstep of its 10th anniversary and personally witnessed its unwarranted decline from a bundle of rambunctious enthusiasm by all involved …



… to a whiff in the public consciousness of a community distracted by the bigger picture gone dark …



… wouldn’t you want to recover on a clear-headed high in the face of adversity? I’d think so.

~ Jason Pankoke

p.s. In the wake of the foundation’s announcement about the Art shutting down, well-reasoned critique appeared at Smile Politely and WILL Online in regards to its ramifications. Please read both.

p.s.2 Yes, we know the crop on the first Art photo is a goof. “All Nite” referenced the all-night marathon of Shocktober. As presented, the statement still held true for the NAFF that year as it ran all night in prime time on its show date.

p.s.3 When will we also resume C-U Blogfidential reporting that is not tethered to the NAFF? It begins again next week. Give thanks!

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