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Naperville Film Fest: 8 days, 80 flicks
By Melissa Jenco | Daily Herald Staff

Actress Karen Black helped open the inaugural Naperville Independent Film Festival in 2008. This year's festival will feature appearances by Roger Ebert, Karen Allen, Jim Peterik and Rodney Lee Conover.

 

Daily Herald file photo

The Naperville Independent Film Festival will hand out 10 awards to filmmakers this year including best feature film, documentary, short subject, animation, foreign language and screenplay.

 

Courtesy Naperville Independent Film Festival

Edmond Coisson, Lou Ruiz and Daniel Nigg film the Glessna Coisson screenplay "Ring Me" outside the City Club restaurant in Naperville.

 

Courtesy Edmond Coisson

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Published: 9/17/2009 12:01 AM

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Naperville Independent Film Festival organizers are on a mission to change people's view of festivals.

While most area residents tend to think of carnival rides and bands, this one is all about movies and creativity.

The second annual Naperville Independent Film Festival runs from Saturday, Sept. 19, to Saturday, Sept. 26, at several venues around the city. The event will feature 80 movies by filmmakers from around the world and appearances by celebrity guests.

This year's event begins with a party that is part busting ghosts and part busting moves. The "Ghostbusters" Tribute Bash runs from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 19, at the Holiday Inn Select, 1801 N. Naper Blvd.

In honor of the film's 25th anniversary, the party includes samples of Dan Aykroyd's Crystal Head Vodka and a demo of the new Atari "Ghostbusters" video game as well as a buffet and dancing. There also will be a performance by musician Jim Peterik who is known for hits like "Hold on Loosely," and "Eye of the Tiger."

"Everybody knows 'Ghostbusters' and it's a great family film everyone can identify with and it will be a lot of fun," co-founder Gary Pradel said.

Tickets are $10 per person or $15 per couple.

Throughout the week, movie lovers will be able to check out 80 films that were culled from about 130 submissions, including screenplays. While they aren't the slick Hollywood films many are used to, Pradel said, they are clever stories that will "stretch your mind."

"It's fascinating to watch movies that are from the perspective of people around the world, how they view life, how they view the United States, how they view different cultures," Pradel said.

Some of the filmmakers will be on hand throughout the festival to discuss the pieces they created.

"At film festivals a lot of the time people that made the movies are there to talk about what they were feeling and going through when they made their films and you don't have that when you watch Hollywood movies," Pradel said.

Films will be shown from 5 p.m. to midnight Sept. 20 through 25 at Ogden 6 Theatre, 1227 E. Ogden Ave., and 6:30 to 11 p.m. at Holiday Inn Select.

Tickets to the screenings are $3 or buy two and get one free at Ogden 6.

Showing the movies only at night is one of the changes Pradel and his co-founders made this year as they learned lessons from last year's inaugural fest. Pradel started the event with area filmmakers Edmond and Glessna Coisson and Daniel Nigg. The event is presented by Pradel's nonprofit organization, the Arthur Ray Foundation.

The group also expanded one of its most popular features, Family Day, which will go from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 20, at the Holiday Inn Select. Family Day includes a "High School Musical" pep rally, performances by local actors and dancers, demonstrations, workshops and films created by kids and teens. All of the Family Day events are free.

Tonight, people who like to put in their two cents while they watch movies can try out MuVChat, new technology that allows moviegoers to post text messages to the movie screen.

MuVChat will debut during the grand opening celebration of the Hollywood Palms Cinema, 352 S. Route 59, during a free showing of "Zoolander" at 9 p.m.

Film fanatics also can earn more about the process of creating them as two pros share their knowledge Saturday, Sept. 26, at the Holiday Inn Select. Actor/writer/comedian Rodney Lee Conover will lead a panel discussion from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. Dan Decker will lead a workshop on screenwriting from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m.

The week culminates in an Awards Gala from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26, at Hollywood Palms. Filmmakers will be vying for 10 awards including best feature film, short subject, animation, foreign language and screenplay.

The red carpet also will be out for several celebrities who will be on hand to help celebrate. Guests include film critic Roger Ebert, actress Karen Allen from "Raiders of the Lost Ark" as well as Conover and Peterik. All four of the guests have Illinois ties. Ebert is an Urbana native, Allen is originally from Carrollton, Conover hails from Aurora and Peterik is from Berwyn.

Tickets for the gala are $25 each and include dinner.

For a full schedule of films and events, visit naperfilmfest.org.

Naperville Film Festival

The second annual Naperville Independent Film Festival runs from Sept. 19 to 26 with activities at the Holiday Inn Select, 1801 N. Naper Blvd., Ogden 6 Theatre, 1227 E. Ogden Ave., and Hollywood Palms Cinema, 352 S. Route 59. Tickets to film screenings are $3 or buy two and get one free at Ogden 6. Info: naperfilmfest.org.

SATURDAY

6:30-10:30 p.m. Opening night "Ghostbusters" Tribute Bash at Holiday Inn Select; tickets $10 per person or $15 per couple

SUNDAY

11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Family Day at Holiday Inn Select

11 a.m. "High School Musical" pep rally

11:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Workshops on acting, makeup and costumes, stage combat

Noon Kidz Kabaret

12:45 p.m. North Central College summer music program performance

1:30 p.m. Kidz Kabaret

2:15 p.m. Summer Place Theatre

3 p.m. Naperville Park District dance program

3:45 p.m. School of Performing Arts

4:30 p.m. "High School Musical" pep rally

5 p.m. to midnight Film screenings at Ogden 6 Theatre

5:15 p.m. School of Performing Arts

6 p.m. Youth film awards

6:30 to 11 p.m. Film screenings at Holiday Inn Select

MONDAY

5 p.m. to midnight Film screenings at Ogden 6 Theatre

6:30 to 11 p.m. Film screenings at Holiday Inn Select

TUESDAY

5 p.m. to midnight Film screenings at Ogden 6 Theatre

6:30 to 11 p.m. Film screenings at Holiday Inn Select

WEDNESDAY

5 p.m. to midnight Film screenings at Ogden 6 Theatre

6:30 to 11 p.m. Film screenings at Holiday Inn Select

THURSDAY

5 p.m. to midnight Film screenings at Ogden 6 Theatre

6:30 to 11 p.m. Film screenings at Holiday Inn Select

9 p.m. MuVChat text messaging during a free showing of "Zoolander" at Hollywood Palms

FRIDAY

5 p.m. to midnight Film screenings at Ogden 6 Theatre

6:30 to 11 p.m. Film screenings at Holiday Inn Select

SATURDAY

9 a.m. to noon Panel discussion with Rodney Lee Conover at Holiday Inn Select

10 a.m. to noon Workshop with Dan Decker on screenwriting at Holiday Inn Select

1 to 3 p.m. Panel discussion with Rodney Lee Conover at Holiday Inn Select

1 to 3 p.m. Workshop with Dan Decker on screenwriting at Holiday Inn Select

6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Awards Gala at Hollywood Palms; tickets $25 each and include dinner