February 10, 2010

Jurors selected for Big Muddy Film Festival

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Three filmmakers with distinctive artistic backgrounds will serve as jurors for the 32nd annual Big Muddy Film Festival later this month at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Kevin Willmott, Sasha Waters-Freyer, and Kristin M. Burke will judge films that will compete for recognition and possible cash prizes. The festival runs Feb. 19-28 at various venues on campus, in Carbondale, and around Southern Illinois.

This year’s festival theme is “Getting Back to our Roots.” Started in 1979, the film festival remains one of the oldest film festivals affiliated with a university in the nation. The festival features juried films in four categories: animation, documentary, experimental, and narrative.

Approximately 45 juried films comprise this year’s event, in addition to non-competition films showcased throughout the festival.

Festival adviser Michele Torre, a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Cinema and Photography, said organizers are pleased with the jurors. In addition to judging films, each juror will screen and discuss one of their films.

“I think we have a really good group,” she said. “They are all very excited and enthusiastic to come and be part of the festival.”

Willmott, an associate professor in the film studies department at the University of Kansas, is a screenwriter, filmmaker, playwright and actor. His work includes ”C.S.A.: Confederate States of America,” and “Bunker Hill.” Willmott earned a bachelor’s degree in drama from Marymount College, and attended graduate school at New York University, Tisch School of the Arts, where he earned his master’s in dramatic writing.

Willmott will screen and discuss “Bunker Hill” from 4 to 7 p.m. on Feb. 25 in Morris Library’s John C. Guyon Auditorium.

Waters-Freyer is a former Big Muddy Film Festival participant. An experimental documentary filmmaker, her films and videos appeared in venues including the PBS series Independent Lens, The Sundance Channel, and the Tribeca Film Festival. She is an associate professor at the University of Iowa, where she teaches film and video in the Department of Cinema & Comparative Literature.

She will screen and discuss her film, “Chekov for Children,” on Feb. 27 from 6 to 9 p.m., in Parkinson Hall’s Browne Auditorium.

Burke earned several awards for her experimental short films while attending Northwestern University, where she majored in radio/television/film and French Studies, and received training in costume design.

Her work in costume design includes more than 40 feature films, including, “Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2,” “Sex Drive,” Bangkok Dangerous,” and “Running Scared.” She is the author of two books, including “Going Hollywood: How to Get Started, Keep Going, and Not Turn into a Sleaze.”

Burke will screen and discus “Running Scared” from 6 to 9 p.m. on Feb. 26 in Morris Library’s John C. Guyon Auditorium.

Additional information is available at the festival’s Web site, http://bigmuddyfilm.com/32nd-2010/Allfiles/home.html.