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Thursday, Sept. 16, 2004 05:54 am

Route 66 Film Festival

Springfield's showcase of independent film has expanded in its third year, and the current crop is a vast improvement over last year's entries. Though the lineup includes dramas, documentaries, animation, and even a pair of silent films, comedy is king this year. The festival is now divided into six sessions to accommodate the increased number of offerings, with a separate admission price charged for each session. The festival is held Sept. 18 and 19 on the 29th floor of the Springfield Hilton, 700 E. Adams St. Some films scheduled for the two Saturday-evening sessions contain material that may not be suitable for children.



2:30 p.m.

Gorman (Zack Fox, 17 min.) A pizza-delivery boy deals with loneliness and a strange home life.

Hitch (Hannah Fruchtman, Jenna Friedenburg,12 min.) Two bored women play a competitive game of picking up male hitchhikers.

The Chef Within (Marcus Nash, 8 min.) Food comes to life and attacks a loutish man.

Ally (Jason Mirch, 19 min.) A modern-day Alice in Wonderland finds her adventure at a rave club.

Help Wanted (Shannon Matheis, 10 min.) Employees at a video warehouse become zombies and attack their boss.

Sally's Dream House (Julia Radochia, 12 min.) Sally's plans with her fiancé go awry when she is given a tour of her dream house.



4:15 p.m.

People Say I'm Crazy (John Cadigan, 87 min.) Cadigan turns the camera on himself in this detailed documentary about the life of a schizophrenic.


7 p.m.

Kitty (Peter Sleeper, 4 min.) Music video for an Oklahoma band featuring animation and footage of Route 66.

Roni vs. Lincoln (Matt and Greg Brookens, 10 min.) See "Festival Highlights."

Asleep at the Wheel on the Road to Nowhere (Takae Hoshina, 42 min.) A young man journeys with a pair of new friends in an attempt to atone for a past tragedy.


8:15 p.m.

Blackneck (Chris Seals, 13 min.) See "Festival Highlights."

Mardi Gras: Made in China (David Redmon, 76 min.) Documentary traces the manufacturing origins of Mardi Gras beads to Chinese sweatshops.



2:30 p.m.

Peel (Matt Grant, 90 min.) Crime spoof in which an array of characters fight over a very special banana.


4:15 p.m.

The Scapegoat (Darren Ng, 23 min.) See "Festival Highlights."

Flyaway (Danny Oakley, 11 min.) Animated film follows the adventures of a toy wooden airplane to the ironic tune of John Denver's "Fly Away."

The Bug Man (Mike Miley, 22 min) An exterminator becomes too personally involved with his clients.



Roni vs. Lincoln Matt and Greg Brookens have become festival regulars with their third entry in three years, and Roni vs. Lincoln is their best one yet. Roni, doing his best Horshack impersonation, is a moron who searches for the zombie of Abraham Lincoln, a creature that haunts Lincoln's Home here in Springfield. The film is goofy, to say the least, but its Abbott and Costello-style humor holds up quite well.


Blackneck Chris Seals directs and stars as an African-American born into a family of redneck Klansmen, none of whom notices the racial difference. Seals plunges into the sensitive material with bravado, but despite the potential to offend, Blackneck is never guilty of racism. Seals says he believes people need to be able to laugh at themselves.


The Scapegoat Buster Keaton is one of the icons of American comedy, and student filmmaker Darren Ng pays tribute to the movie genius with this wonderful homage. The image of silent comedy is perfectly duplicated as Ng, who also stars, becomes the prey in this comical foot chase through a college campus.


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