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C-U Blogfidential Expands from Champaign to other Illinois cities

March 23, 2011 | By | Add a Comment

C-U Blogfidential Expands from Champaign to Bloomington, Normal, Decatur, Springfield, and Danville (but still not Chicago).

On Friday, February 25, 2011, the one-of-a-kind news Weblog covering independent filmmaking, movie events, and cinema history in downstate Illinois, “C-U Blogfidential,” marked five successful years of activity. Creator and editor Jason Pankoke, who launched “CUBlog” in 2006 after putting its print predecessor “MICRO-FILM” on hiatus, intends to expand the reach of the Champaign, Illinois-based ‘blog beginning this year.

“I’ve been happy and somewhat amazed that ‘C-U Blogfidential’ has sustained for five years running,” says Pankoke, who originated the concept as the “C-U Confidential” segment of “MICRO-FILM” starting in 1999. “By focusing the ‘blog’s reach to film/video culture as it relates to our immediate area, I have been able to build a more cohesive body of reporting than with ‘MICRO-FILM,’ which took on the whole world as its canvas.”

Pankoke has always believed “C-U Blogfidential” can have a great impact on perpetuating the cinema arts in Champaign and Urbana, along with nearby cities such as Bloomington, Normal, Decatur, Springfield, and Danville. Apart from Internet presence, its current reach includes sponsorship of the New Art Film Festival (NAFF) at the Art Theater in Champaign, which presents movies made in the area as well as Illinois and other Midwest states, and publication of “C-U Confidential” print digest, issued during Roger Ebert’s Film Festival at the Virginia Theater, also in Champaign. Both occur each April.

“What I’ve been able to do through modest means, in terms of defining ‘local movie making’ as a valid body of work to aggregate, analyze, and preserve, has been satisfying so far,” says Pankoke, who brings his professional background as a graphic designer, preflight technician, illustrator, and journalist to bear on all “C-U Blogfidential” aspects. “Now, I would like to improve my output on three fronts,” he continues, “including increases in publishing frequency, public presence, and community involvement.”

Along with publishing the fifth annual issue of “C-U Confidential,” promoted as a “yearbook of the ‘blog,” Pankoke is developing related print tiles such as “C-U Confidential ’99,” a “one-shot” issue that will paint a picture of the year 1999 as a crucial turning point for cinema in the Champaign-Urbana area. He is also considering releasing several other themed issues with contributions from writers and artists in the local arts and entertainment scenes as well as the return of “MICRO-FILM,” which originally ran from 1999 to 2005.Pankoke wants to use the “C-U Confidential” name in conjunction with efforts that take his support of local film culture beyond the print and ‘blog pages. After launching Facebook and YouTube accounts in 2010, his ideas for the near future include establishing collections in video stores and libraries made up of local movies and documentaries, producing original material for Web streaming and DVD release, and hosting a “traveling show” at area universities, schools, and art centers during which filmmakers would talk about their craft, show examples of their work, and demonstrate technique.

Engagement on the home front remains important to the vitality of “C-U Blogfidential” and its offshoots. “It would be easy for me to just hover over my laptop and crank out articles and products about all this activity,” says Pankoke, “but if anything matters more to an eclectic film scene such as the one ‘C-U Blogfidential’ covers, it’s the people making up that film scene. I need to go out there and communicate with attendees of Ebertfest and the NAFF, student members of the Illini Film & Video club, community hobbyists and professionals who attend Champaign Movie Makers meetings, and so on. Collectively, they are my ‘Confidential’ inspiration.”

The editor, a Chicago suburb transplant who earned a BFA at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington before moving to Champaign in 1993, hopes the reverse is true as well, enough so that “C-U Blogfidential” can become a space for many voices about “the movies of Champaign, Urbana, and the cities beyond.” For instance, Pankoke encourages readers to help mark the fifth anniversary of “CUBlog” by submitting essays for possible publication through May 1 about five notable movie-related experiences they’ve had during the past five years. Other recent contributions have come from Monticello/Champaign producer Robin Peters of Dreamscape Cinema(“Act Your Age,” “Disposable”) and Indianapolis independent director Tyler Tharpe of Innerworld Pictures (“Freak,” “Return in Red”).

Interested readers should visit http://www.micro-film-magazine.com/cublog for more information!

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