Coming Soon: March 2007

Every now and then, C-U Blogfidential will highlight limited-run screenings in the area which often receive little to no press in traditional news outlets. The following events are “coming soon” in March; please support this diverse film programming in our community by attending and spreading the word. Multiplexes and television sets are no substitute for a true cinema experience!

With the university nearing the end of spring recess, it can only mean one thing – the next round of special-event movie shows are just over the horizon!

First, let’s give a shout to local filmmaker Alaric Rocha, whose short MERRY CHRISTMAS! will make its festival debut this Saturday, March 24, during the 5 p.m. block of the Wildwood Film Festival at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, 400 W. College Ave., Appleton, WI. Amidst the Yuletide comedy’s gunplay and yuks, the audience should enjoy Rocha’s nods to Appleton’s Lawrence University, which also happens to be his alma mater. Keep an eye on CUBlog for an exclusive Q&A with Rocha, which includes first news on his next film.

Closer to home, things will turn grisly later the same evening, March 24, at the Avon Theatre, 426 N. Water St., Decatur, IL, when ghost afficionado Troy Taylor hosts a 10:30 p.m. presentation of the shocking new documentary, ALBERT FISH. Directed by MICRO-FILM friend John Borowski, who first mined the true-life serial-killer genre with H.H. HOLMES (2004), this production focuses on an elderly cannibal-murderer that preyed upon children in Depression-era New York City, his mind twisting Biblical passages to justify his savage deeds as well as a sadomasochistic streak. Chicago native Borowski plans to be on hand to discuss both projects; admission will be $5 for those brave enough to stomach the truth. Facets Video is set to nationally distribute ALBERT FISH for Borowski’s Waterfront Productions on DVD beginning next Tuesday, March 27.

The following weekend, the Asian Educational Media Service (AEMS) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will launch its annual Korean Documentary Film Festival, a predecessor to the narrative edition that premiered in the fall (see item: 9/16/06). Three full-length pieces will play: FAMILY PROJECT: HOUSE OF A FATHER (Thursday, March 29, 7 p.m., English Building, Room 160), SHOCKING FAMILY (Friday, March 30, 12:30 p.m., Transportation Building, Room 103), and REPATRIATION (Friday, March 30, 7 p.m., English Building, Room 160). Filmmaker Jo Yun-kyung is scheduled to discuss FAMILY PROJECT in person; further information on all related events can be found on the AEMS Web site.

And then, we have Death by Design, Co., Stalks Charleston: Postmodern Meets Postmortem, on display at Eastern Illinois University‘s Tarble Arts Center through Sunday, April 1. Refreshingly, two female artists (Teena McClelland and Michelle Maynard) are responsible for deconstructing the horror film in this exhibit, comprised of custom-built settings in which willing “victims” have enacted their death throes along with looped tapings of said activity, peformed on-site at EIU and at other locations. Per the university’s original press release from January 10, “McClelland and Maynard see Death by Design, Co., as a safe vehicle for exploring ideas of myth, storytelling, cinematic illusion, celebrity, and our own mortality. They achieve this by incorporating the formal appeal of splattered gore with a narrative structure and providing a humorous encounter with death through extreme situations and stunning visuals.” Periodic screenings of “classic” slasher films – presumably the likes of FRIDAY THE 13TH and PROM NIGHT – as well as Maynard’s own underground blood-and-slime epic, THROB, help make things even more interesting than they already are.

To close out, we must report the demise of yet another local movie emporium. On December 24, 2006, mere days after Bloomington’s Castle Theatre shut down (see item: 1/5/07), the managers of the Heart Theatre in Effingham, IL, dimmed their own projector for the last time following a double-bill of the inspirational football drama FACING THE GIANTS and holiday perennial IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE. In this most recent incarnation, operated by Charles A. Zweck of Decatur and managed by Rodney and Judy Wiethop, the Heart attempted a mix of first-run Hollywood, Indiewood, and limited-release films along with an eclectic array of special events, a la the Castle. These included Super Bowl and World Series viewing parties, “audience choice” and student film festivals, and a Callan Films documentary showcase. The Heart originally opened in January 1940 with HIS GIRL FRIDAY, starring Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell; the “Zweck era” began in December 2003 with LUTHER.

~ Jason Pankoke

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