New Art Film Festival 2016 [NAFF]

Presented by C-U Confidential & co-sponsored by ThirdSide, Shatterglass Studios, & the Art Theater Co-op, the NAFF will once again be emceed by co-founder Jason Pankoke.

Three shows will comprise the 2016 NAFF. The first will begin at 6 p.m. and share films that can be enjoyed by all ages, including a pair of animation treats created by a 9-year-old whiz kid and a Student Academy Award-winning graduate of DePaul University in Chicago. The second at 7:40 p.m. will debut for Champaign-Urbana the full-length drama Before ‘I Do’, produced and directed by Springfield, IL, filmmaker and Champaign native Kimberly D. Conner, which stars Jensen Atwood (Dante’s Cove), Omar Gooding (Family Time), and Thea Camara (Chi-Raq).

Beginning at 9:25 p.m., the first half of the final block will thoughtfully address the difficult side of the human experience in terms of personal loss, self-doubt, violence, or societal divide, introducing protagonists who rise to their respective challenges. After a short break, the last segment will delve into “strange and weird” territory, no more appropriate than in this year when the NAFF treads perilously close to Halloween! This programming is recommended for mature audiences due to adult situations (Before ‘I Do’), subject matter (Abandon Window through Rise), and thriller/horror themes (The Last through Hello Fear).

The NAFF dedicates this year’s festival to Trevor Alan Taylor, a Decatur native and former Champaign resident who passed away unexpectedly at age 34 earlier this summer. An installation artist, photographer, filmmaker, and Sundance Film Festival volunteer, Taylor recently adopted New Orleans as his home and helped establish their innovative new media collective, Cinema Reset. The NAFF celebrates Taylor’s memory at the Art, one of his hangouts and places of employment while living in Champaign-Urbana a decade ago.

Below is the complete schedule for the 2016 NAFF. Journalists and editors may contact NAFF program director Jason Pankoke with interview or media requests, Austin McCann with queries about the Art and its upcoming slate!

Jason Pankoke
Program Director, New Art Film Festival

New Art Film Festival – Complete Schedule
@ The Art Theater Co-op, Champaign, IL
October 30, 2016, 6 p.m.-11 p.m.


6 p.m. – Introductions
+ Film Block 01 [Ages 10+ recommended]

Horrors (comedy | puppetry)
2016, 13 min., Directed by Andrew Stengele, Forced Perspective Entertainment, for Pens to Lens/CUFS, Champaign-Urbana, IL
Monster kids act to save their world. Written by Fred Scher.

The Grass is Always Greener (comedy)
2016, 4 min., Directed by Andy Due, Rubber Chicken Films/RL3 Productions, Charleston, IL
A short film about chances, choice, and change.

Van Go Go (documentary | music)
2016, 10 min., Directed by Chelsea Yang, Chicago, IL
Van Go Go is a Chicagoland music band created by a group of artists with and without disabilities. Their deep love for life, music, and arts united them into a unique community.

Xavier Wants That Space (comedy)
2015, 1 min., Directed by Ripper the Clown (Jake Aurelian), Danville, IL
Xaiver wants Ripper the Clown’s chair. Based on true events.

The Weirder it Gets… (comedy | animation)
2016, 3 min., Directed by Rowan Fisher for Pens to Lens Student Film Festival/CUFS, Champaign-Urbana, IL
James starts his day at the beach where he encounters strange sea life, and his day just gets even weirder.

Die Flucht (drama | animation)
2015, 5 min., Directed by Carter Boyce, Champaign, IL
Die Flucht follows the story of a lonely figurine, traveling on a fixed track, trying to catch a red balloon. When the machine breaks down, the boy comes to life. Winner of a 2016 Student Academy Award for animated short film.

Playing America’s Game (documentary)
2016, 25 min., Produced by Kaitlin Southworth, Tim Hartin & Alison Davis Wood, UIUC Office of Public Affairs/Division of Intercollegiate Athletics for Big Ten Network, Urbana, IL
The documentary profiles University of Illinois history professor Adrian Burgos, Jr., a leading expert on Latino baseball history, and also examines issues faced by today’s Latino players.

7:40 p.m. – Film Block 02 [Ages 18+ recommended]

Before ‘I Do’ (drama)
2016, 61 min., Directed by Kimberly D. Conner, Predestined Arts & Entertainment, Springfield, IL
A firefighter in search of his passion finds love. Starring Jensen Atwood, Andrea Kelly, Omar Gooding, Thea Camara, and Danielle Ward.

9:25 p.m. – Film Block 03 [Ages 18+ recommended]

Abandon Window (experimental)
2015, 3 min., Directed by Todd Applegate, Danville, IL
Inspired by Jon Hopkins’ “Abandon Window,” a doll makes a brave decision to face the unknown world outside her window.

The Goldfish (drama)
2016, 6 min., Directed by Thomas Nicol for Pens to Lens/CUFS, Champaign-Urbana, IL
A little girl befriends a dead goldfish. Written by Katarina Blakeslee.

Fast Rodney, Who Was on His Way Out (drama)
2016, 13 min., Directed by R.R. Berry for Pens to Lens/CUFS, Champaign, IL
In a town of racism and violence, a high school boy named Rodney is about to leave the streets to run track at college. Written by Gabriela Delisle Diaz.

Labyrinth (drama | experimental)
2016, 8 min., Directed by Keenan Dailey, 7MovementsStudios, Champaign-Urbana, IL
David Stykes is an African-American activist who holds beliefs contradictory to what he speaks. The character study follows David and his inner struggle to find peace.

Rise (drama | experimental)
2015, 7 min., Directed by Kris M. Wilcox, ALT-TV, Champaign, IL
Rise is a story about a sexual assault against a young woman in her youth, where the pain and shame of what happened tries to trap her in her own mind.

Ordinary Video Series #8, “Between Borders” (experimental | documentary)
2016, 4 min., Directed by David Gracon, Champaign, IL
The Ordinary Video Series is a series of short haiku-like/minimalist observational documentaries that explore the intersection between nature, consumer culture, socially constructed spaces, and nothingness, shot on a consumer grade mobile Smartphone. Between Borders is a meditative drift between nations and mental borders. Sound by Obsolete Synthesis.

Intermission [5-10 min.]

Ordinary Video Series #46, “Snow Walk” (experimental | documentary)
2015, 3 min., Directed by David Gracon, Champaign, IL
The Ordinary Video Series is a series of short haiku-like/minimalist observational documentaries that explore the intersection between nature, consumer culture, socially constructed spaces, and nothingness, shot on a consumer grade mobile Smartphone. Snow Walk captures a late-night walk during a snowstorm that reveals mysterious nothingness. Sound by Brad Decker.

The Last (drama | science fiction)
2016, 7 min., Directed by Cody Prough, Red Lens Productions, Champaign-Urbana, IL
The Last takes place in the same post-apocalyptic, surreal world as the video game series, “The Last of Us.” A former Chicago police officer who joined the Fireflies in hope of finding a cure ends up alone.

Speaking in Tongues (science fiction)
2015, 7 min., Directed by Thomas Nicol, Sleepy Creek Studios, Champaign-Urbana-Oakwood, IL
Professor Prescott, head translator and curator of dangerous manuscripts, is having a very bad day.

The Speed Date (comedy)
2016, 1 min., Directed by Ripper the Clown (Jake Aurelian), Danville, IL
A beautiful British woman meets Ripper the Clown during a speed dating session.

Imaginary (drama | fantasy)
2015, 9 min., Directed by Jennifer Bechtel, Hot Diggity Productions, Champaign, IL
When a young girl is abducted, her imaginary friend is the only person who can save her.

Demons In, Demons Out (horror | dark comedy)
2015, 15 min., Directed by Shea Kelly, Seeping Light/Thousand Yard Stare Productions, Decatur, IL
A young, careless psychopath leaves an impassioned message for the police while battling his inner demons.

Divination (horror)
2016, 1 min., Directed by Jeff Kacmarynski, Vision Test Productions, Champaign-Urbana, IL
A woman finds herself plagued by grotesque images and one wish left to be granted. Divination appears in the upcoming anthology film 60 Seconds 2 Die.

Hello Fear (horror)
2016, 8 min., Directed by Andrew Gleason for Pens to Lens/CUFS, Champaign-Urbana, IL
A young boy becomes friends with a monster that lurks in the dark corner of his room. Written by Autumn Ellis.

As always, titles and sequence are subject to change without notice.


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