All Arts and Entertainment Content

All Arts and Entertainment Content

Academy Award winning director, UI grad returns to town

CHAMPAIGN – Director Ang Lee returned triumphant to his alma mater on Saturday, receiving a standing ovation at Roger Ebert's Film Festival after he first walked on stage, along with a surprise serenade of "Illinois Loyalty"" by the a cappella group The Other Guys.

Lee smiled, nodded and clapped. He thanked Chaz Ebert, who had introduced him as a leading filmmaker who apparently had come out of nowhere, and the audience.

"I'm so proud to be a Fighting Illini," said the 1980 graduate of the UI Department of Theatre and one of the world's leading filmmakers.

Irish-American piper to perform at UI

URBANA – One of the most respected performers on the Irish bagpipe, Kieran O'Hare, will perform at 8 p.m. May 15 at the Channing-Murray Foundation on the University of Illinois campus.

O'Hare not only plays the uilleann pipes, but also concert flute and tin whistle. Born into an Irish-American family, O'Hare started playing at home while in his teens. He moved in 1991 to Dublin, Ireland, where he received a degree in modern history from Trinity College. He now lives in Chicago with his wife, fiddler Liz Knowles.

The Chorale to present young artists scholarship concert

CHAMPAIGN – The Chorale presents "Encore," its free young artists scholarship concert, at 4 p.m. May 4 at First United Methodist Church, 210 W. Church St., C.

Donations are encouraged and go to The Chorale's scholarship fund. The three winners of the 2008 scholarship are Emelinda Escobar and Jennifer Roloff, both of Urbana, and Derek Maninfior of Mattoon. Escobar, a violinist, is the daughter of Urias and Margaret Escobar; Roloff, an oboe player, is the daughter of Jeff and Susan Roloff; and Maninfior, a pianist, is the son of Mark and Susan Maninfior.

Biopic rooted in writer-director's notion of suicidal glory

CHAMPAIGN – Like many young men, Paul Schrader once was enamored of the notion of suicidal glory.

"As a young man, I totally bought into it," the director and screenwriter said early Saturday morning at Roger Ebert's Film Festival after his biopic, "Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters," was screened.

They don't make 'em like that any more

James Bond, not the actor but one of the projectionists for Roger Ebert's Film Festival at the Virginia Theater, said working in film has become a luxury for most filmmakers.

"It's almost to the point now where there's not even a choice," Bond said Thursday between films. "People have to work in the digital domain, at least the young, independent market."

Director, distributor 'bask' in warm Virginia Theatre reception

When film consultant Hannah Fisher saw Israeli writer-director Eran Kolirin's directorial debut, "The Band's Visit," at the Cannes Film Festival, she "flat fell in love with it."

The first film showing Jews and Arabs relating together as human beings, it's filled with "much tenderness and humanity," she said Saturday at Roger Ebert's Film Festival, after "The Band's Visit" was shown.

Farmer's doc reaps event's first standing ovation

CHAMPAIGN – The first standing ovation of the 10th annual Roger Ebert's Film Festival greeted the close-to-home documentary, "The Real Dirt on Farmer John," on Friday evening.

The seventh film of the 13-film festival is about Farmer John Peterson, a quirky farmer who turned his longtime family farm in northern Illinois into a hippie/artist commune before losing it.

Moving film took writer-director home – and audience with him

CHAMPAIGN – Chaz Ebert said Friday at Roger Ebert's Film Festival at the Virginia Theatre that she had promised earlier in the week not to cry over her husband's absence from the event.

"It's allowed to cry over the movies," she said after Jeff Nichols's "Shotgun Stories" was screened.

Actor says 'Canvas' first step to taking apart social stigma of mental illness

CHAMPAIGN – Joey Pantoliano said Thursday night at the Virginia Theatre that he always wanted to be an actor, someone whom people would recognize on the streets.

It happened beyond his expectations. He has appeared in more than 100 films, among them "The Matrix," "Memento" and Steven Spielberg's "Empire of the Sun," and has won numerous awards, including an Emmy in 2003 for his supporting role in the HBO hit series, "The Sopranos."

Urbana High teens not shaken up by ceiling mishap

URBANA – For students performing in the Urbana High School musical, "All Shook Up," the show must go on – even if their performance space is shut down.

Sometime before school Friday, part of the ceiling fell in the high school auditorium, where the students planned to open their show next Thursday.