Judson University’s Imago Film Festival Wraps Its 10th Year
(ELGIN, IL - April 9, 2014) Judson University's 10th annual Imago Film Festival was held April 1 - April 5 at Marjorie Hall Thulin Performance Hall (1151 N. State St., Elgin). The festival is designed to showcase independent films from around the world that deal with faith and ethics.
The festival opened on the evening of April 1 with a conversation with Ron Dean (“The Dark Knight,” “The Fugitive”); the actor discussed his 35-year history in film as well as his role in the recent film “Recalculating” made in Elgin. The evening continued with a screening of the first block of films in competition for the $1,000 grand prize.
On April 2, the festival continued with a retrospective program featuring some of the best of the past Imago award winners. These included Dustin Grella’s experimental film “Prayers for Peace” about his brother’s death and Pardis Parker’s satirical and touching film “Afghan” on racism in a post-9/11 world. That evening the festival also screened the second block of films for this year's competition.
On April 3, director Hugh Schulze joined festival-goers for a screening of his film “Cass” about a family whose lives are changed by an artist in the abandoned house next door, starring David Dastmalchian and James McDaniel. A former award winner at the Imago Film Festival, Schulze talked about the journey from the short film “Arc of a Bird” to the production of the major film “Cass.”
On April 4, actor Marshall Allman (“True Blood,” “Blue Like Jazz”) led an intensive actors workshop; later that night, he shared with the festival crowd hilarious stories about his work with Bruce Willis and thoughtful commentaries on how he made ethical choices as an actor. The evening's festivities included a screening of the third and final block of films in competition.
On April 5, filmmaker Braden Heckman, CEO of Wanderlust Productions, led an in-depth workshop on crowd-funding; later that night, the festival guests enjoyed the annual red carpet celebration, complete with paparazzi, a best-dressed contest, and live music by Ben Calhoun of Citizen Way.
There was also a screening of a 10-year anniversary documentary about Imago and a presentation of the festival’s lifetime achievement award to Martin Sheen; a recorded speech from Sheen was played in which he encouraged the festival crowd to find worthy causes to fight for in their creative work.
The evening ended with the awards ceremony and the screening of the festival winners. The winner of the audience choice award was “The Advocate” (from the United States). The judges’ choice for first place in the shorter time category was “Ngutu” (from Spain) and first place in the longer time category was “The Uneducated” (from the United Kingdom).
The grand prize winner was “Not Anymore: A Story of Revolution” (from Syria), a riveting and haunting documentary about the Syrian revolution told through the experiences of two young Syrians: a female journalist and a male rebel fighter.
The 11th annual Imago Film Festival is tentatively scheduled for March 24-28, 2015; more information can be found at www.imagofilmfestival.com and at Imago’s Facebook page. For specific questions, contact Terrence Wandtke (the festival director) at email@example.com.