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Embarras Valley Film Festival to Honor Danville Native Gene Hackman


This year's Embarras Valley Film Festival will honor Academy Award-winning actor Gene Hackman, who grew up in Danville.

A collaborative effort between the community and Eastern Illinois University, the film festival -- "The Versatile Gene Hackman" -- will offer film screenings and related events Oct. 27 and Nov. 1-3. All are free and open to the public.

Five Hackman movies will be shown:

  • In "Bonnie and Clyde" (R, 1967), a bored small-town girl and a small-time bank robber leave in their wake a string of violent robberies and newspaper headlines that catch the imagination of the Depression-struck Midwest in this take on the legendary crime spree of these archetypal lovers on the run. Hackman plays Buck Barrow, older brother of Clyde and member of the Barrow gang.
  • "Unforgiven" (R, 1992) blurs lines between heroism and villainy, and man and myth, when prostitutes unsatisfied by the justice served by Sheriff "Little Bill" (Hackman) in the death of one of their friends put a bounty on her cowboy killers. The bounty attracts a young gun billing himself as “The Schofield Kid” (Jaimz Woolvett), as well as aging and reformed killer William Munny (Clint Eastwood) and his partner Ned (Morgan Freeman), complicating conflicts between law and lawlessness in the West.
  • In "The Royal Tenenbaums" (R, 2001), an estranged family of former child prodigies reunites when their father, Royal (Hackman), announces he has a terminal illness.
  • Based on a true story, "Hoosiers" (PG, 1986) highlights Norman Dale (Hackman), a coach with a checkered past, and Shooter (Dennis Hopper), a local drunk, who train a small-town high school basketball team to become a top contender for the state championship.
  • William Friedkin's gritty police drama "The French Connection" (R, 1972) portrays two tough New York City cops trying to intercept a huge heroin shipment coming from France. An interesting contrast is established between "Popeye" Doyle (Hackman), a short-tempered alcoholic bigot who is nevertheless a hardworking and dedicated police officer, and his nemesis, Alain Charnier (Fernando Rey), a suave and urbane gentleman who is nevertheless a criminal and one of the largest drug suppliers of pure heroin to North America.

The 2012 EVFF is sponsored by EIU's College of Arts and Humanities, Tarble Arts Center, Doudna Fine Arts Center and Booth Library, as well as the Coles County Arts Council and Charleston Carnegie Public Library. The EVFF also receives support from City of Charleston Tourism Funds.

The co-project directors for EVFF are Jeanne Goble (also chair of community activities), Kit Morice and Robin L. Murray (also program chair). Other EVFF Planning Committee members are David Bell, website manager; Dan Crews, film rights, publicity/promotion; Robert Hillman, exhibits; Bonnie Irwin; and Patricia S. Poulter.

For more information on the EVFF, please email Morice ( or Murray (, or visit the website at

The full schedule follows. All events are on the EIU campus unless stated otherwise.

Saturday, Oct. 27

  • 10 a.m.-1 p.m.: Stop Motion Film Workshop for middle-school-age students, led by Gabe Przygoda, a graduate student in the EIU School of Technology. Classroom, Tarble Arts Center.

Thursday, Nov. 1

  • 2 p.m.: Colloquium: The Films of Gene Hackman. 3290 Coleman Hall.
  • 3:30 p.m.: "Bonnie and Clyde," with introduction by Robin Murray, who teaches in the EIU English department and serves as the coordinator for the College of Arts and Humanities’ film studies minor. Lecture Hall, Doudna Fine Arts Center.

 Friday, Nov. 2

  • 7 p.m.: "Unforgiven," with introduction by Chuck Koplinski, who been reviewing films for 20 years for central Illinois media. The Theatre, Doudna Fine Arts Center.
  • 10 p.m.: "The Royal Tenenbaums," with introduction by Koplinski. The Theatre, Doudna Fine Arts Center.

Saturday, Nov. 3

  • 10:30 a.m.-noon: "Heroes or Villains" art workshop for children ages 6-12 to create emblems, masks, finger puppets and cartoons. Led by EIU librarian Jeanne Goble and Charleston artist Karen Reed. Please register by Oct. 29 by calling 345-1514. Sponsored by the Coles County Arts Council. Charleston Carnegie Public Library, 712 Sixth St.
  • 1:30 p.m.: Student Stop Motion Film Premiere, featuring films created in the Oct. 27 workshop. Atrium, Tarble Arts Center.
  • 2 p.m.: "Hoosiers," with introduction by EIU men's basketball coach Jay Spoonhour, a self-described "movie junkie" who co-hosted the "Movie Show" on KFNS radio in St. Louis in the late 1990s. Atrium, Tarble Arts Center.
  • 7 p.m.: "The French Connection," with introduction by Dann Gire, a Charleston High School and EIU graduate who is president and founding director of the Chicago Film Critics Association. The Theatre, Doudna Fine Arts Center.



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Media Relations
Josh Reinhart, Public Information Coordinator

2142 Old Main
Eastern Illinois University
600 Lincoln Ave.
Charleston, IL 61920
Fax: 217-581-8444

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