Local features abound in Lake County Film Festival Feb. 28-March 3; focus on indies, fewer venues

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The 5th annual Lake County Film Festival continues its steady growth this year to 17 narrative features, 17 documentary features and 100-plus short films.

The festival, Feb. 28 to March 3, is housed this year at the College of Lake County in Grayslake, where festival director Nat Dykeman also runs monthly independent screenings.

“We were able to program so much stuff this year, which is great,” Dykeman said. “I think we’re the second biggest festival in Illinois now in terms of number of screenings.”

Dykeman refocused the festival on independent works and concentrated the range of venues after losing money on far-flung sites and more expensive screenings of studio works two years ago.

Eight local documentary features are playing at Lake County:

Ben Byer’s “Indestructible,” about the actor-turned-filmmaker’s battle with muscular-degenerative disease ALS, screens March 1 at 2:10 p.m. and March 2 at 10:50 a.m.

“An Alternative To Slitting your Wrist” chronicles filmmaker Owen Lowery’s year completing 52 unfulfilled wishes, one a week. March 1 at 12:10 p.m. and March 2 at 3:10 p.m.

Former Evanstonians Adrian and Roko Belic have two films in the festival: their acclaimed “Genghis Blues,” about blind bluesman Paul Pena’s journey to central Asia to learn Tuvan throat singing, and their new “Beyond The Call,” about Knightsbridge International, run by former soldiers delivering humanitarian aid to war zones.

“Beyond the Call” plays March 1 at 10:10 a.m. and March 2 at 3:20 p.m. “Genghis Blues” screens Feb. 29 at 6 p.m.

“Break-Up, Date,” Collin Souter’s “romantic comedy in documentary form” shows March 1 at 5 p.m. and March 2 at 1:10 p.m.

“Deportee” follows Rockford resident Octavio Salazar’s separation from his family when he was returned to his native Mexico after 10 years in the U.S. Feb. 29 at 6:10 p.m. and March 1 at 12:10 p.m.

Seth McLellan’s documentary “King In Chicago” follows Dr. Martin Luther King’s 1966 anti-segregation campaign, combining archival footage with contemporary interviews of participants including Jesse Jackson Sr. March 1 at 2:40 p.m. and March 2 at 3:30 p.m.

Bob Hercules and Keith Walker’s “Senator Obama Goes To Africa,” which follows the presidential contender on a 2006 trip to South Africa and his ancestral country Kenya, plays in LCFF March 2 at 3:30 p.m.

“Senator Obama” was pulled from a run at the Gene Siskel Film Center over concerns that it could jeopardize the Center’s nonprofit status over the appearance of partisanship ? it played at the Music Box Theater instead.

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