Calendar: April 26-May 2, 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!

4/28: John Isberg (director/producer, FINAL SUMMER PART II, Swede Films, Champaign-Urbana, IL)
4/29: Sophie McMahan Berkley (artist, Sophie McMahan, Urbana, IL)


FIELD REPORT DU HQ | From Wherever It May Be Said

This weekend will be a good weekend to stay indoors and keep active, which is what the continual chorus of drips and splatters coming from outside of MFHQ Deux are signaling to us, so we’d like to Report on the deluge of student body film showcases at our doorstep. That said, let’s be careful out there en route to the events as we navigate cicadas, storms, protestors, marathoners, and pre-finals revelers.

The larger opportunities are afoot in both pairs of Twin Cities, yet we’ll be damned if we can share much of anything about them, and we encourage you to take the chance by attending so you can see what tomorrow’s potential media storytellers are saying today. The Illinois State University-based Foxtail Film Festival continues its sophomore run at the Normal Theater in downtown Normal today, Friday, April 26, and tomorrow, Saturday, April 27, with 7 p.m. presentations; you can glean from the official website an itinerary of film titles and their youthful directors, as well as the promise of juried and audience honors, but there is little else across all their social media platforms. The featured (adult) filmmaker and workshop presenter is Danielle Beverly of Northwestern University, who introduced her recent documentary QATAR STARS at the kickoff event for Foxtail last night. Presumably, highlights and a recap will be forthcoming.

A similar sense of reservation could be noted with the UIUC Student Film Festival, now fully integrated under the College of Media and following closely on the heels of “Ebertfest,” which also takes place tonight, April 26, at 7 p.m. in the Knight Auditorium of the Spurlock Museum of World Cultures in Urbana. All the previous online presence that was designed for prior iterations of this event seems to be outdated or simply gone, and we’re left with a Facebook account that teases little except for a program with names and entries as well as a token post at Media with a show poster and livestream feed. We realize that both are the sum results of classwork team efforts – COM 334 at ISU and MACS 366 at Illinois, respectively – with the expected learning curves and corners cut due to time and resources. It just feels like the students themselves are all but expelled from the public face of the programs. Presumably, faculty has reasons.



We wonder if a smaller scale with less pomp and circumstance would be a better approach for these kinds of end-of-the-school-year capstones and, indeed, a scaled-back emphasis on the “feather in my cap” aspects for the professionals involved. There are ready examples scheduled for right around the corner, now that our area’s liberal arts colleges have been able to establish their own media production tracks, and you can go judge for yourselves while showing attentiveness and support for these kids. The fourth annual Phenom Film Festival at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, organized by associate professor of theater arts Thomas Quinn, will take place on Monday, April 29, 7 p.m., at the Hansen Student Center, while the Images in Motion Film Festival at Millikin University in Decatur, overseen by Eric Hector, associate professor in the School of Art & Creative Media, is scheduled for Sunday, April 28, 6 p.m., at the Perkinson Music Center’s Kaeuper Hall; the latter will also entertain a visit from Peter Hawley, director of the Illinois Film Office. Both are free to attend and open to the general public.

All told, we should be making a fuss about these formalized opportunities for young people to get a solid taste of the trades from our institutions that factor into filmmaking and film presentation. Ten years ago, we only had a precursor to the Illinois student showcase, called “Movies to the MACS,” and it was staged as an in-class final project with no intention of attempting to draw an audience outside of those enrolled in the course. (One year, it did draw a couple of guest judges: then-Art Theater operator Sanford Hess and your humble editor.) Instruction for credit on how to create media was also rare to find. Let’s value the not-far-from-home options of today for our students in higher education, as it’s not just them who can benefit in positive ways from what they accomplish. Keep up the growth, academic cinema folks du C-U.

p.s. The coincidence of today’s Almanac entry is not lost on us. It only took the colleges of downstate Illinois nearly a century to figure out how to not rely on camera-toting travelers to teach our children well.

p.s.2 Thirty years ago, Ye Ed was one year out of IWU and Ye Webmaster was about to graduate from Millikin. We attempted a couple of side projects at the time and, trust us, there was nothing doing with video on either campus. Therefore, we didn’t know what the hell we were getting into. True story.


CONFIDENTIAL ALMANAC | Dates in Film Culture History

105 Years AgoMonday, April 28, 1919: A lighthearted moving picture called LOVE’S YOUNG DREAM premieres at the New Orpheum Theatre in downtown Champaign, IL, the result of a unique collaboration that has kept the Twin Cities buzzing. According to several reports published by the Daily Illini in the past month, promoter Joseph Maddern and Orpheum manager R.V. Mallory set the intrigue in motion when they announced a casting call for a film comedy – “You may become a famous star!” the advertising boasted – to be made primarily at the Orpheum itself with local talent. Maddern, a former Broadway actor and producer for the Keystone and Pathé film companies, took up residence aside the Orpheum’s regular program of vaudeville acts to present “Making Movies,” during which audiences had the opportunity to watch the creation of LOVE’S YOUNG DREAM. Tom Ward, the director of the project, led his crew to use the Orpheum’s traditional stage as if it were a movie stage in Hollywood, completing one or two scenes per “performance” for a full week beginning on Monday, April 14. Panoramic views of the auditorium filled with curiosity seekers were taken at each show and figure in the final reel, just like the images these impresarios captured two weeks ago at the University of Illinois with students busying themselves on the quadrangle and in Lincoln Hall. The completed version of LOVE’S YOUNG DREAM will play the Orpheum through Saturday, May 3, sharing the bill with comedians, singers, dramatists, xylophonists, a jazz quintet, and Wanda, “the seal with a human brain.” Ward and Maddern would keep their demonstration on the road for at least several years, appearing as late as December 1923 in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago. The former is forgotten today except for this line of hucksterism and brief appearances on the silent silver screen; the latter is noted as a contract director on the Mack Sennett/Keystone comedy short, TWENTY MINUTES OF LOVE, regarded by some scholars as the first film where upcoming star Charlie Chaplin exerted his creative influence over the final product. [R]


LOCAL FILMS & EVENTS | Support Your Media Storytellers

@ Golden Corral, Springfield, IL
Central Illinois Film Commission* meeting (5/2, 6 p.m. dinner, 7 p.m. meeting)

@ Hansen Student Center, Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, IL
IWU presents the fourth annual Phenom Film Festival* (4/29, 7 p.m., Hansen Student Center, free)

@ Normal Theater, Normal, IL
Schools of Communications, Theatre and Dance, and Art and COM 334, ISU, present the second annual Foxtail Film Festival* (Workshop, 4/26, 3 p.m.; Regional Showcase, 4/26, 7 p.m.; Competitive Showcase, 4/27, 7 p.m.)

@ Perkinson Music Center, Millikin University, Decatur, IL
MU presents the Images in Motion Film Festival* (4/28, 6 p.m., Kaeuper Hall)

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
Chambana Film Festival presents TRAPPED BALLOON (4/28, 4 p.m.)

@ Spurlock Museum for World Cultures, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Department of Media and Cinema Studies and MACS 366, College of Media, UIUC, and the Jonathan Laxamana Endowment Fund present the UIUC Student Film Festival* 2024 (4/26, 7 p.m., Knight Auditorium, free)


NOW PLAYING | Champaign-Urbana Area

@ AMC Champaign 13, Champaign, IL
ALIEN (re-release), BOY KILLS WORLD, CHALLENGERS, THE MUMMY (1999) (re-release), UNSUNG HERO (faith film), WE GROWN NOW, ABIGAIL, CIVIL WAR, GHOSTBUSTERS: FROZEN EMPIRE, GODZILLA X KONG: THE NEW EMPIRE, KUNG FU PANDA 4 (animation), THE MINISTRY OF UNGENTLEMANLY WARFARE, MONKEY MAN*, SASQUATCH SUNSET*, SPY X FAMILY – CODE: WHITE (animé) (English dub or in Japanese with English sub) (4/26 on), Studio Ghibli Fest: SPIRITED AWAY (animé) (4/27, 3 p.m., 4/29, 7 p.m., 5/1, 7 p.m., in Japanese with English sub; 4/28, 3:15 & 7:15 p.m., 4/30, 7 p.m., English dub), THE FALL GUY, TAROT (5/2 on) *single screenings daily

@ Phoenix Savoy 16 + IMAX, Savoy, IL
ALIEN (re-release), BOY KILLS WORLD, CHALLENGERS, THE MUMMY (1999) (re-release), UNSUNG HERO (faith film), ABIGAIL, CIVIL WAR, DUNE: PART TWO, THE FIRST OMEN, GHOSTBUSTERS: FROZEN EMPIRE, GODZILLA X KONG: THE NEW EMPIRE, KUNG FU PANDA 4 (animation), THE MINISTRY OF UNGENTLEMANLY WARFARE, MONKEY MAN, SOMEONE LIKE YOU, SPY X FAMILY – CODE: WHITE (animé) (English dub or in Japanese with English sub) (4/26 on), SASQUATCH SUNSET (4/26-4/27), Studio Ghibli Fest: SPIRITED AWAY (animé) (4/27, 3 p.m., 4/29, 7 p.m., 5/1, 7 p.m., in Japanese with English sub; 4/28, 3 & 7 p.m., 4/30, 7 p.m., English dub), THE MATRIX (4/28, 3 & 7 p.m.; 5/1, 7 p.m.), THE FALL GUY, JEANNE DU BARRY, TAROT (5/2 on)

@ Illini Union, UIUC, Urbana, IL
Illini Union Board presents “Spring 2024 Weekend Films” feat. THE BOOK OF CLARENCE, Pine Lounge, 1st floor (4/26-4/27, 7 p.m.; free w/i-card)

@ Redbox (streaming), Champaign-Urbana, IL

@ The Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL
Illinois Public Media presents “The Arthouse Experience Film Series” feat. AMÉLIE (4/26, 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
NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968), DAWN OF THE DEAD (1979) (Screen 1), ABIGAIL, PSYCHO (1960) (Screen 2) (4/26-4/27)

@ The Normal Theater, Normal, IL
Foxtail Film Festival* 2024: Workshop (4/26, 3 p.m.), Regional Showcase (4/26, 7 p.m.), and Competitive Showcase (4/27, 7 p.m.), “Jazz On/Screen Series” feat. ARTIE SHAW: TIME IS ALL YOU’VE GOT (music documentary) (4/28, 7 p.m.), Stepping Stones YWCA McLean County and the Normal present OUR SIDE* (sexual violence and recovery documentary) (4/29, 7 p.m.), VAGABOND (5/1, 7 p.m.)

@ The Onarga Theatre, Onarga, IL
UNSUNG HERO (faith film) (4/26-4/28)

@ The Princess Theatre, Leroy, IL

@ The Route 66 Drive-in Theater, Springfield, IL
GHOSTBUSTERS (1984), ABIGAIL (Screen 1), ARTHUR THE KING, IMAGINARY (Screen 2) (4/26-4/27)



@ Gene Siskel Film Center, SAIC, Chicago, IL
Midwest Film Festival presents “Impact Night” (4/29, 6:30 p.m. doors, 7:50 p.m. films)

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

NEW! 5/8-5/9
Heartland Community College presents the Heartland Hawk Film Festival*
@ Normal Theater, Normal, IL, 6 p.m. (both evenings)

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
5/3-5/4: THE IRON CLAW


Compiled by Jason Pankoke.


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© 2024 Jason Pankoke/C-U Blogfidential

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