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Embarras Valley Film Festival

Archive of 2010 EVFF site
Silent Film & Illinois

Welcome to the Embarras Valley Film Festival (pronounced “Am-brah”) co-sponsored by Eastern Illinois University’sCollege of Arts & Humanities and the Coles County Arts Council. The EVFF is a yearly event honoring a person or theme relevant to the Embarras Valley, which encompasses much of East Central Illinois.

silent film  


Dr. Klevor Abo has a B.A. Music, English, Linguistics, and African Studies from the University of Ghana, an MMus, Ethonomusicology degree from Goldsmiths' College, University of London, and a Ph.D. in American Culture Studies from Bowling Green State University. His research interests include the Nature and character of the relationship between Africa and its diasporas and Processes of identity formation in the Global African world. He also applies his cultural studies background in the African Film classroom and in his work examining Oscar Micheaux.

Kevin Anderson has a Ph.D. from the University of Missouri and teaches courses in American government, political theory and African American politics. His research interests center on American and African American political thought, media and American politics and African American interest groups. His book project, Agitations: Ideologies and Strategies in African American Politics goes beyond the traditionally acknowledged divide between integrationist and accommodationist wings of African American politics to explore the diverse fundamental ideologies and strategic outcomes among African American activists that still define, influence, and complicate political life today. He is also working on projects involving the Black Panthers, as well as a media and politics project involving media coverage and the Mel Carnahan campaign in 2000 and the Paul Wellstone campaign in 2002.

Tim Engles teaches courses in contemporary and multicultural American literature, film studies, and a variety of writing courses. His doctoral research, a study of works by three novelists (Gloria Naylor, Don DeLillo, and Chang-rae Lee), was largely informed by his primary research area, critical whiteness studies. He is the editor of Towards a Bibliography of Critical Whiteness Studies (2006), and co-editor of Approaches to Teaching DeLillo's White Noise, (2006) and Critical Approaches to Don DeLillo (2000).

Dann Gire serves as the president and founding director of the Chicago Film Critics Association. He is a graduate of both Charleston High School and Eastern Illinois University where he earned BA and MA degrees in Speech-Communications. He has worked at the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago as a government reporter, crime reporter, Metro reporter (assigned to the Cook County Criminal Courts), and film critic on the Features staff. He worked as the film critic at Chicago's Fox TV News from 1988 to 1991, and for four weeks this summer, contributed film critiques to CBS Chicago's Monsters and Money in the Morning TV news program. He has won the prestigious Peter Lisagor Award for Exemplary Journalism in Arts Criticism six times. He has also won awards from the Association of Sunday and Feature Editors, the Associated Press, and other journalism organizations. Gire has taught journalism classes in the Communications Department at Aurora University since 2008. Gire is married to the former Peggy Burke, also a graduate of Charleston High School and EIU. They have two daughters: Lauren Elaine Taylor, currently on tour as Rizzo in the national Broadway production of Grease, and Morgan Gire, who recently served as assistant director for the independent film production Molly’s Girl.

Britta Grand graduated from Eastern Illinois University in 2010 with a B.A. in English and a Film Studies minor.  She served as the student coordinator and Chicago liaison of the festival and as an intern for the Film Studies Minor. She is currently working on a graduate degree in library science at North Texas University. After graduation, she plans to become a film librarian, hopefully working for a university archive out in California or the East Coast.

Joyce Jackson has worked in the children's area of Charleston Carnegie Public Library for 5 years and has worked in the Charleston Community School district as a library clerk for 10 years.  She is currently teaching art for grades kindergarten through fifth grade at the Arland D. Williams Elementary School in Mattoon for the past eleven years.  She received her MFA in studio art from SIU-Edwardsville and her BA with teaching certification from EIU.

Film critic and scholar Chuck Koplinski (Featured Speaker) has been participating in the EVFF since 2004, when he introduced Citizen Kane and Wuthering Heights to crowds of over 700 viewers at the Will Rogers Theater in Charleston. Having studied film at Columbia College in Chicago, he's been reviewing films for over 15 years for Central Illinois publications including the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette and Springfield’s Illinois Times. A member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association, he has a weekly film segment on WCIA-TV and MIX 94.5 FM.

Fern Kory teaches courses in modern American literature (including seminars focused on fiction of the 1920s and the Harlem Renaissance) and a variety of courses in literature for children and young adults (including a course in twentieth-century African-American youth literature). She has published book reviews in the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, and articles in the journal Children's Literature and in a collection of essays on Teaching Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises.  As a teacher of writing and as Assistant Director of the Writing Center, she is also actively engaged in the study of composition pedagogy, particularly as it relates to writing center work.

Robin Murray teaches courses in film studies, English education, and multicultural American literature. Her research and service interests are in ecocriticism and film studies, women's studies, and composition theory and practice. She has co-authored three books: Ecology and Popular Film: Cinema on the Edge (SUNY Press 2009) and That's All Folks?:Ecocritical Readings of American Animated Features (U Nebraska Press 2011), and Shootout at the Eco-Corral: Western Film and the Environment, under contract with U Oklahoma Press. She is currently drafting a book examining films responding to our basic needs, Ankle Deep in Blood: When Basic Needs Meet Progress in Documentary and Feature Films. She also directs the Eastern Illinois Writing Project and coordinates the Film Studies Minor.

Gabe Przygoda is a junior at EIU majoring in Electronic Media Production with a Film Studies minor. He's assisted with and taught basic animation courses in the past at the Tarble Arts Center.

Stace England and the Salt Kings hail from southern Illinois. From a review of their CD The Amazing Oscar Micheaux in BLOGCRITICS.ORG "Intelligent and musically as interesting as ever, England and the Salt Kings make another convincing argument that popular music has a role to play in helping us tell our histories."

Howard Taylor is an education specialist who has developed website and book resources for teachers and anyone.  He is a retired teacher of gifted children in the Charleston school system, and formerly a librarian and art teacher in Shelby County.

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Eastern Illinois University

600 Lincoln Ave,
Charleston, IL 61920
(217) 581-2223

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