Film festival to kick off week with horror theme

Madalyn Schoonover, Contributing Writer

Now in its 13th year, the Embarras Valley Film Festival kicks off this week with the theme “Nights of Horror and Thrills.”

The festival takes place from Wednesday through Saturday, with a screening of a different film each night.

According to a press release, it will begin at 7 p.m. on Wednesday with a screening of “The Brain Eaters,” directed by Bruno Vesota, in Coleman Hall’s auditorium. Before the screening, there will be a costume contest, which any person interested can participate in. Awards will be given to the three best costumes. According to the festival’s website, costumes will be judged based on creativity, quality and crowd appeal. Coleman Auditorium will be decorated for this event to set the mood for a Halloween-themed night.

At 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, there will be a screening of “Sita Sings the Blues,” an animated version of the Indian tale of Ramayana set to the 1920 jazz vocals of Annette Hanshaw.

The next day at 4:30 p.m. in Coleman Hall Room 3752, there will be a roundtable discussion led by Eastern professors Kevin Anderson, Robin Murray and Carrie Wilson-Brown. The discussion will cover topics such as “thriller,” “horror” and “monstrous nature.”

Murray will lead the discussion of monstrous nature, which she described as “the idea of the monster and how it connects to the environment.”

She said the idea that humans create the mess that creates a monster is a theme that is common in horror films.

Murray gave the example of Godzilla being created from waste that humans produced.

Wilson-Brown described her topic as “the politics of birth, domesticity and the female body in the horror film.”

“Some of my discussion will run through multiple genres of horror: supernatural horror, psychological horror, and body horror,” Wilson-Brown said.

Wilson-Brown said though students tend to view horror as something that makes an audience scared or “jump in their seats,” horror movies can tell political stories as well.

Following the discussion will be a screening of “The Exorcist” in Coleman Auditorium. The screening will begin at 7 p.m.

Murray said the festival is interesting because people don’t always know that a film was made by someone in Illinois.

“They might not realize that ‘The Exorcist,’ for example, was directed by a Chicago native,” she said.

Saturday, the final day of the festival, there will be a student-produced short film contest in Coleman Auditorium beginning at 2 p.m.

The 25 official selections will all be shown, and the three winning films will be announced during the screening. There were more than 400 entries submitted this year from student filmmakers throughout the U.S, according to the festival’s website.

At 4 p.m. there will be a showing of the 10 official selections from the Film Festival Horror and Thriller in Illinois Contest. The three winning films, all created by professional filmmakers in the Central Illinois area, will be announced during the screening.

The Embarras Valley Film Festival takes place once a year, honoring a person or theme relevant to the Embarras Valley.

This year, the festival is sponsored in part by the City of Charleston Tourism Fund, the Coles County Arts Council and the film studies minor.

All festival events are free and open to the public.

Madalyn Schoonover can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]