Calendar: April 19-25, 2024

Our movie and media Calendar appears every Friday/Saturday on C-U Blogfidential and caters to the downstate region anchored by Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, USA.


MILESTONES | Happy Birthday to You!

4/21: Brian Paris (multimedia producer, City of Champaign administration department, Champaign, IL)
4/21: William Kephart (scene shop chief clerk, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, UIUC, Urbana, IL)
4/24: Ron Bonk (producer/distributor, SRS Cinema, Syracuse, NY)
4/25: Marty McKee (writer, Johnny LaRue’s Crane Shot, Champaign-Urbana, IL)


FIELD REPORT DU HQ | From Wherever It May Be Said

Even though this makes for a mostly disappointing Report, we’re going for a dose of current news today given its timeliness. First, alleged details came to light via The New York Times that many Netflix projects in development had been shelved or turned down recently by the streamer under the watch of incoming film division head Dan Lin such as AURORA, an adaptation of the eponymous novel by veteran screenwriter David Koepp (JURASSIC PARK, KIMI) we told you about a few weeks ago; IndieWire turned to Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos for clarification in a piece run yesterday, Thursday, April 18, in which he denied much of what was claimed by the Times. So, who knows what is the true status of the global climate thriller, partly set in upstate Aurora, Illinois, that Kathryn Bigelow (THE HURT LOCKER, STRANGE DAYS) had previously been attached to as director. For now, sit tight and read the book.

And then, Variety broke the story on Tuesday, April 16, that Participant Media, the high-profile production firm that regularly put its weight behind narrative and documentary works with a socially conscious bent, would be shutting down after two decades in business; among its more than 100 features and five series is THE INFORMANT!, starring Matt Damon as the real-life corporate executive with Don Quixote tendencies who infiltrated the agriculture powerhouse Archer Daniels Midland for the FBI, which was largely filmed in Decatur and downstate Illinois in 2008 and released 15 years ago by Warner Brothers.

And, to finish on a level much closer to all of us in scope and budget, we belatedly confirm the shuttering of the genre streaming experiment ScarePlex that we introduced to you last fall; founded by Ash Hamilton and friends in 2023, the start-up only lasted a few months but its ambitious steward, also the editor of and director of the new found footage favorite HOLES IN THE SKY: THE SEAN MILLER STORY, has already rebounded with the completion of an apocalyptic horror anthology, F’D: TALES FROM THE END TIMES. It has apparently started festival play, landing a few early laurels in a continuation of HOLES IN THE SKY’s success, and a trailer finally dropped for it yesterday; the other segment directors with Hamilton, who works out of the Springfield area, are local talents John Isberg (FINAL SUMMER), Joshua Brucker (THE WOODMEN), and Ben Harl (AFTERLIFE) as well as Dillon Brown (TAJOE JOE 2) from Nevada. The C-U and beyond has spawned enough horror films recently that a homebrewed “Scare-a-Thon” is not out of the question during a future Halloween season. Sayin’…


CONFIDENTIAL ALMANAC | Dates in Film Culture History

25 Years Ago April 21-25, 1999: The famed Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic and television personality, Roger Ebert, hosts the inaugural Overlooked Film Festival at the Virginia Theatre in Champaign, IL, sponsored by the College of Communications at the University of Illinois. Ten films selected by Ebert, a native of neighboring Urbana and UI graduate in journalism, are shown between Thursday, April 22, and Saturday, April 24, to respectably-sized crowds at the 1,400-seat Virginia, which will receive a portion of the “Ebertfest” proceeds for its renovation needs. “There are countless festivals devoted to the premieres of new films,” writes Ebert in a welcome address that appears in the program, “but none dedicated to taking a second look at wonderful films that for one reason or another haven’t yet found the audiences they deserve.” For instance, the first movie shown is DANCE ME TO MY SONG, a recent Australian production with no American distributor that is being lauded for the uplifting and complex role played by Heather Rose, who wrote the screenplay with director Rolf de Heer and does not shy away from working her real-life cerebral palsy into the unconventional love triangle at its heart. Other picks in succession are AUTUMN TALE, SURRENDER DOROTHY, HAMSUN, MOBOROSI, HOUSEHOLD SAINTS, SHILOH, and THIRTEEN, while two well-known pieces represent forms as well as function: Sergei Eisenstein’s landmark epic BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN, a silent film and a progenitor of modern editing techniques, and Steven Lisberger’s science fantasy TRON, the de facto debut of extensive computer graphics in a Hollywood feature to be shown in the uncommon 70mm format, although it has been replaced by a crisp 35mm print at the last moment. Panels on campus, discussions after each screening, casual access to guests including Ebert himself, and private parties round out this novel experience for local residents and visiting film fans alike. “Eberfest” is directed by fellow UI alum Nate Kohn, produced by Nancy Casey, and dedicated to Ebert’s longtime friend and contemporary in the Chicago media, Gene Siskel, who passed away two months ago at age 53. The on-line movie critic James Berardinelli, another Ebert colleague and “Ebertfest” guest, predicts this show will go on for years to come. [R]


LOCAL FILMS & EVENTS | Support Your Media Storytellers

@ Normal Theater, etc., Normal, IL
Illinois State University Schools of Communication, Theater and Dance, and Wonsook Kim School of Art present the 2nd annual Foxtail Film Festival* (4/25-4/27)


NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
ABIGAIL, THE MINISTRY OF UNGENTLEMANLY WARFARE, SASQUATCH SUNSET, SPY X FAMILY – CODE: WHITE (animé) (English dub or in Japanese with English sub), BADE MIYAN CHOTE MIYAN (in Hindi with English sub), CIVIL WAR, DUNE: PART TWO, THE FIRST OMEN, GHOSTBUSTERS: FROZEN EMPIRE, GODZILLA X KONG: THE NEW EMPIRE, KUNG FU PANDA 4 (animation), MONKEY MAN (4/19 on), BOB MARLEY: ONE LOVE (4/20, 4:20 & 8 p.m.), AMC “Screen Unseen” (mystery movie) (4/22, 7 p.m.), CHALLENGERS preview (4/22, 7 p.m.),

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
ABIGAIL, THE MINISTRY OF UNGENTLEMANLY WARFARE, SASQUATCH SUNSET, SPY X FAMILY – CODE: WHITE (animé) (English dub or in Japanese with English sub), CIVIL WAR, DUNE: PART TWO, THE FIRST OMEN, GHOSTBUSTERS: FROZEN EMPIRE, GODZILLA X KONG: THE NEW EMPIRE, KUNG FU PANDA 4 (animation), MONKEY MAN, SOMEONE LIKE YOU (4/19 on), BOB MARLEY: ONE LOVE (4/19, 9:30 p.m.; 4/20, 4:20 & 9:45 p.m.; 4/22, 7 p.m.), The Metropolitan Opera: La Rondine (4/20, 11:55 a.m., simulcast; 4/24, 1 & 6:30 p.m.), HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE (4/21, 3 & 7 p.m.; 4/24, 7 p.m.), “Miracles at the Movies” feat. COME OUT IN JESUS NAME/THE DOMINO REVIVAL (religious documentaries) (4/23 7 p.m.), UNSUNG HERO (faith film) (4/24, 6 p.m.; 4/25, 6 & 8:30 p.m.), CHALLENGERS (4/25 on)

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Spring 2024 Weekend Films” feat. WONKA, Pine Lounge, 1st floor (4/19-4/20, 7 p.m.; free w/i-card)

@ Redbox (streaming), Champaign-Urbana, IL
Follow the link to view the hottest new releases! (4/16 on) Online rentals

@ Spurlock Museum of World Cultures, UIUC, Urbana, IL
PLAN C (reproductive rights documentary) (4/23, 7 p.m.)

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
College of Media at Illinois and Chaz Ebert present the 25th anniversary Roger Ebert’s Film Festival (through 4/20), Illini Radio Group presents “Mix 94.5 Throwback Thursdays” feat. PITCH PERFECT (4/25, 7 p.m.)

Events featuring locally produced movies are marked with an asterisk (*). Additional “Now Playing” and “Coming Soon” listings appear after the jump!


NOW PLAYING | The Cities Beyond

@ The Avon Theater, Decatur, IL

@ The Fischer Theatre, Danville, IL
No movies this week!

@ The Harvest Moon Twin Drive-in, Gibson City, IL
ABIGAIL (Screen 1), CIVIL WAR (Screen 2) (4/19-4/20)

@ The Lincoln Square Theatre, Decatur, IL
Dementia Friendly Decatur and the Lincoln Square present GREASE “dementia friendly” presentation (4/24, 2 p.m.)

@ The Normal Theater, Normal, IL
“Way Beyond Samba” series feat. PICTURES OF GHOSTS (4/19, 4/21), Keg Grove Brewing Company and the Normal present “Out of Your Element: a BIG LEBOWSKI Festival” (4/20, 5 p.m. street activities, 7 p.m. film), The Grand Prairie Bird Alliance presents FLUDDLES w/discussion (documentary) (4/22, 7 p.m.), Illinois State University Center for Math, Science, and Technology and Office of Sustainability present “Green Screen: A Climate Change Film Series” feat. JUST EAT IT (documentary) (4/23, 7 p.m.), FRIED GREEN TOMATOES (4/24), Foxtail Film Festival 2024: QATAR STARS w/director Danielle Beverly (documentary) (4/25, 6 p.m.)

@ The Onarga Theatre, Onarga, IL
CIVIL WAR (4/19-4/21)

@ The Princess Theatre, Leroy, IL
ARTHUR THE KING (4/19-4/21)

@ The Route 66 Drive-in Theater, Springfield, IL
GHOSTBUSTERS (1984), CIVIL (Screen 1), ABIGAIL, MONKEY MAN (Screen 2) (4/19-4/20)



@ Facets Multimedia, Chicago, IL
Chicago International Film Festival presents CineYouth Festival 2024 (4/19-4/21)

For detailed and curated listings of Chicago-area film presentations and related events, please visit the fine folks at Cine-File and subscribe to their definitive “Cine-List” weekly blast.


COMING SOON | Area-wide Events

UIUC Student Film Festival*
@ Spurlock Museum for World Cultures, UIUC, Urbana, IL, 7 p.m.

10th anniversary Dark History & Horror Con
@ Orpheum Champaign (The Orpheum Theater), Champaign, IL

23rd Route 66 Film Festival*
@ Hoogland Center for the Arts, Springfield, IL


COMMUNITY & CAMPUS SERIES | Champaign-Urbana area

Chambana Film Festival – Spring 2024 screening series
@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL, 4 p.m.

Illini Radio Group presents “Rewind 92.5 Movie Series”/“Mix 94.5 Throwback Thursdays”*
@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL, 7 p.m.
5/23: FAME (1980); 6/27: HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE*; 7/11: GREASE “sing-a-long” edition

Illinois Public Media presents “The Arthouse Experience Film Series”
@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL, 7 p.m.

Illini Union Board presents “Spring 2024 Weekend Films”
@ Pine Lounge, 1st floor, Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL, 7 p.m. Fri. & Sat, free w/i-card


Compiled by Jason Pankoke.


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