Downstate film festival features 40 homegrown shorts


Champaign-Urbana filmmakers command the screen Sunday, Oct. 4 when the 6th Annual New Art Film Festival presents some 40 short films at the Art Theatre Co-op in Champaign.

Program director Jason Pankoke of New Art Film has assembled a program of one- to 33 minute shorts that have been organized in three blocks by age groups, starting at 5 p.m. and running until 11 p.m.

There are wildly creative animated films, plenty of sci-fi, spoofs, comedies, experimental docs and dramas by mostly homegrown filmmakers, but also work from a few Wisconsites and one Chicagoan among them.  Among the highlights are: 

“The Thinking Molecules of Titan,” an 18-minute rare, big-screen version of the short film based on Roger Ebert’s unfinished sci-fi story by Roger Ebert, co-scripted by Andrew Stengele and Patrick Wang and directed by Stengele.

“Pens to Lens,” a  pioneering short-film program whose films were made by volunteer teams of C-U filmmaking’s finest; all adapted from movie scripts written by K-12 students living in the immediate area.

“The Crossing” a handmade, hand-animated film by Johnnie May, about a scrap-collecting robot in a vivid wasteland that happens upon the well-preserved remains of a cabin … and discovers it might not be deserted after all.

At 126 W. Church St. Doors open at 5 p.m., program starts at 6:30 p.m. Free and open to all.