HOUSE, shorts to play on Porch

What’s that you say, dearest readers? You can’t wait to get your New Art Film Festival fix? Why not tide yourself over by revisiting a winning set of local film favorites – including one hot project playing its first public show in Champaign-Urbana – with an engaged audience and impassioned hosts this weekend!

Dr. David Gracon, the Eastern Illinois University professor in Communications who organized the recent “Cut & Paste” Zine Symposium, and Jason Pankoke, your humble editor and game “C&P” participant, team up to talk indigenous cinema tomorrow, Saturday, March 22, at the University of Illinois’ Figure One art gallery, 116 N. Walnut St., downtown Champaign. The show is a featured event of “Social Habitat: The Porch Project,” curated by Figure One faculty coordinator Rehema C. Barber and designed by Brooklyn, New York, environment artist Heather Hart. Essentially a raised wood floor with crawlspace emulating the open-air gathering places often found on the front or back of houses, Hart’s Porch is an installation piece occupying most of the square footage at Figure One that provides a platform, of sorts, for myriad events exploring themes of reclamation and transformation.

The Saturday event will have three distinct segments. At 2 p.m., Barber will introduce a local shorts program including two directed by Thomas Nicol, A BEAR IN THE WOODS and BEDTIME FOR TIMMY, several culled from last year’s Pens to Lens set such as FLUFFYSTEIN, SUPER DUPER LOW, INTO THE MINE, THE DEVIL USES PURELL, EVEN AND ODD, and UNEXPECTED TRIP, and the lively hot sauce documentary SRIRACHA created by Bloomington filmmaker Griffin Hammond. At 4 p.m., Pankoke and Gracon will join Barber in discussion about these works and the bigger picture of independent film culture in the C-U. To conclude, Figure One will screen the Danville-made feature HOUSE OF THADDEUS at 6 p.m., possibly followed by an informal talkback with attending cast and crew members.

We hope to see many of you pop a squat on the Porch and participate, especially if not working on the sets of THE GARDEN OF CHLOE or THE THINKING MOLECULES OF TITAN. It is a good opportunity to see the Figure One space while encouraging Barber and her student organizers, by our collective presence, to schedule more showcases in the near future. Let’s make the most of it!

“Social Habitat: The Porch Project” by Heather Hart is sponsored by the UIUC School of Art + Design, School of Architecture, School of Art + Design Visitors Committee, the Jerold Ziff Fund, George Grubb, and Robert Ballsrud. Admission is free. The exhibit closes after Saturday, April 5.

~ Jason Pankoke

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