Acting alums find stepping stones

From January 23, 2009:

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Articles in Bloomington (IL) daily The Pantagraph about the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences nominating Illinois Wesleyan University alumnus Richard Jenkins for an Academy Award as Best Actor in the Overture Films drama, THE VISITOR, and recent Illinois State University graduate Ben Marten earning a role on the A&E television series, THE BEAST, starring Patrick Swayze. (Remember that the direct link to these articles will expire soon.)


Editor’s note: I think a lot of people saw the nod coming Richard Jenkins‘ way, for it’s the perfect underdog story – a reliable character actor finally lands his first lead role in a critically acclaimed movie, increasing his visibility and tacking a gold star (if not a golden Oscar statuette) onto his resume. Congratulations, my fellow Titan! I also like how the Ben Marten article skews towards his preference for living in Illinois while taking high-profile jobs through a Chicago talent agency. Of course, we can’t underestimate Hollywood‘s magnetic power over the young and adventurous, so we’ll see how long Marten’s Midwestern roots anchor him down.

Elsewhere, long-time MICRO-FILM friend Christopher Denham, a young playwright and stage and screen actor who graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2002, will see his directorial debut HOME MOVIE hit the rental shelves of Blockbuster Video on Tuesday, February 24, through IFC Films. We will be discussing this project with Denham in MICRO-FILM 8 as part of a special “C-U Confidential” section covering the recent films of artists who once resided in Champaign, Urbana, and the cities beyond.

~ Jason Pankoke

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