2006 film to become sitcom
CHAMPAIGN – Writer/director/actor Hadjii is back at Roger Ebert's Overlooked Film Festival and has good news to report to fans of "Somebodies," a film that he wrote, directed and starred in, which was shown at last year's festival.
Black Entertainment Television will begin shooting a situation-comedy series based on "Somebodies" in July in Athens, Ga. The network bought 1030-minute episodes; the first will likely air in late October. As with the movie, Hadjii will write, direct and star in the series, which will also be titled "Somebodies."
"We're excited," he said. "This is what we always wanted. It gives us a chance to really follow through with what we wanted to do. We want to deal with more issues that are really going on in the community, that most young people face, and we really want to entertain."
He likes the idea of a sitcom, saying he can deal with more issues in 10 episodes than in a 90-minute movie.
The executive producers of "Somebodies" the TV series are Hadjii; Urbana native Nate Kohn, director of Ebertfest; Jordan Levin, former president of the WB network; and Peter Aronson, executive producer of the "Bernie Mac" series.
Hadjii will also see the publication in January 2008 of his book, "loosely based" on his own life and childhood experiences.
Beyond the Valley ...
Kohn said Friday that a brand-new print of "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" was struck for the screening at noon Sunday at Ebertfest.
"It just came out of the lab yesterday," he said. The Dolby stereo sound was remixed as well."
Ebertfest projectionist "James Bond said it's just a spectacular print," Kohn said. "We're really happy that Fox did this."
Although a long line formed for "Perfume, the Story of a Murderer," on Thursday night at the Virginia Theatre, everyone got in. The screening had been sold out, but many festival pass and ticket holders do not show up for every screening.
According to the theater box office, all the individual tickets to the five remaining shows today and Sunday are sold out, but patrons wanting to see the films are advised to wait in line, starting at least 30 minutes before showtime, for tickets. So far, everyone who has waited in line at Ebertfest this week has gotten into the theater.
Australian director Paul Cox is back at Ebertfest for the third time, this year with his movie "Man of Flowers," in which German director Werner Herzog has a small role. Herzog arrived in Champaign on Friday, and at the green room he, Cox and Roger Ebert could be seen in an animated conversation earlier in the day, Kohn said.
Cox said he's more or less a regular at the festival, which he said he enjoys for the people and for the fact it features overlooked films.
"The best things in life are overlooked," he said.