Film festivals enliven September

Beginning today, September weekends will be filled with special events in downstate Illinois, promising to provide as colorful a palette inside darkened theaters as will the turning leaves of the great outdoors.

First up is the fifth annual edition of the Route 66 Film Festival, which will take place at the Hoogland Center for the Arts, 420 S. Sixth St., Springfield, IL, on Saturday, September 16, 1 p.m., and Sunday, September 17, 12 p.m. Conceived as a showcase of independent work featuring literal and figurative journeys as prominent themes, this event runs parallel with the state capital’s annual celebration of the legendary Mother Road. Admission for individual programs will be $5 while a festival pass runs $25; complete listings of film capsules and filmmaker bios can be found right here.

Next weekend, Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, IL, steps up with its second annual Embarras Valley Film Festival, which presents the film work of an EIU alumnus. Unlike last year’s honoree, the B-film character actor William Phipps (INVADERS FROM MARS ’53), this year’s marquee name should be relatively familiar with filmgoers from his acting credits and voice-over work – Burl Ives (1909-1995). Running from September 20 to September 23, Embarras Valley will offer numerous presentations regarding Ives’ lengthy, multi-faceted career as well as screenings of four classics: DESIRE UNDER THE ELMS (1958, 9/20), EAST OF EDEN (1955, 9/21), THE BIG COUNTRY (1959, 9/23), and CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF (1958, 9/23). Skim this blog for times and locations of all related events.

One week later, Boardman’s Art Theatre in downtown Champaign, IL, welcomes the fourth annual Asian Film Festival, organized by the Asian Educational Media Service (AEMS) of the Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Attempting to bridge cultural gaps through cinema, AEMS chooses its selections from the contemporary output of a specific country or region – such as Japan and Hong Kong in prior festivals – with this year devoted to South Korea. On Friday, September 29, at 7 p.m., director Yoon Jong-Bin will introduce and discuss his film, THE UNFORGIVEN (2005), while four additional features play on Saturday, September 30, beginning at 2 p.m.: EMPRESS CHUNG (2005), PLEASE TEACH ME ENGLISH (2003), SAD MOVIE (2005), and SYMPATHY FOR LADY VENGEANCE (2005), Park Chan-wook‘s follow-up to OLDBOY. Further information on the movies and AEMS itself is archived here; festival admission will be free to the public.

– Jason Pankoke

Comments closed.