February 15, 2013

Big Muddy Film Festival opens Feb. 20

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The annual Big Muddy Film Festival will once again bring the best independent films to the region.

The 35th annual festival at Southern Illinois University Carbondale runs for five days, beginning Wednesday, Feb. 20.  Started in 1979, the film festival remains one of the oldest film festivals in the nation that is affiliated with a university.  The festival features both competition and non-competition screenings daily, and has juried films in four categories: animation, documentary, experimental and narrative.

This year’s festival features 57 juried films from 11 countries -- Australia, Cameroon, Canada, Germany, France, India, Israel, Japan, Russia, Spain, and the United States. 

The complete lineup, along with information on jurors, juried films, special events, festival history, and other topics is available at bigmuddyfilm.com/

The majority of films will be shown at venues on campus, with a late-night screening of the 1990 film “Tremors,” set for Pagliai’s Pizza & Pasta, 509 S. Illinois Ave., Carbondale.  Unless noted, each showcase is free for SIU Carbondale students with student identification, and general admission to most screenings is $4.  Some screenings are free for everyone. A festival pass, good for all $4 screenings is $20; a $40 pass includes all screenings and the Filmmakers’ Brunch on Feb. 23.

The “Best of the Fest” showcase will be at 5:30 p.m., Feb. 24, in the University Museum Auditorium.  Tickets are $5 apiece for SIU Carbondale students and the general public.

The opening night film, “Future Weather,” is by Jenny Deller, a writer, director and producer who grew up in Carbondale.  Deller’s debut feature film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, and the film earned the Showtime Tony Cox Award for Screenwriting form the Nantucket Film Festival.  The Independent, a primary information source for independent films and video, listed Deller among the “10 Filmmakers to Watch in 2011.”  Deller will be present at the screening, set for 5 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 20, in the Student Center Auditorium. The opening reception, which will include a greeting by Chancellor Rita Cheng, begins at 7 p.m. in the International Lounge.

“Around Crab Orchard,” a documentary by Sarah E. Kanouse, is the John Michaels Award winner, and is set for 5 p.m., Feb. 22, in the Student Center Auditorium.  Admission is free, and Kanouse, a former Department of Cinema and Photography faculty member, will also be attending.

Filmmakers Bobby Abate, Jesse McLean, and Julie Wyman are serving as judges on juried films and offer workshops while on campus.  The jurors’ individual screenings are free.