Made in Peoria: 3 Films by Filmmakers of the Heartland (ICC Alumni) on April 28, 2023

Learn more about our screening event, Made in Peoria: 3 Films by Filmmakers of the Heartland (ICC Alumni), on April 28th, 2023.

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On Friday, April 28th, Peoria-based filmmakers and arts alumni of Illinois Central College will show three of their original films for a one-time screening at 7:00 P.M. at the East Peoria campus of ICC in the Lecture/Recital Hall, 127F. The evening begins with Moving Through the Day by John Voss, a summer stroll showing off Peoria’s beloved Donovan Park. Then, William Jacobs of Mourning Dove Films screens a selection from Poet in a Modern World, an artistically rigorous story about finding purpose and clarity. Finally, Wes Brooks screens his feature-length family adventure, Space Prairie, a large-hearted epic that took a decade to make.

Filmmakers John Voss, William Jacobs, and Wes Brooks attended Illinois Central College for several years while working on their movies. “It was a precious time,” recalls Brooks, who attended the college with Jacobs from 2015 through 2020. “I met Will on campus and followed him around, hoping he’d like my work as I marveled at his. We have enjoyed a collaborative bond since those early days of cranking out coursework while fighting those battles to stay creative. It’ll be a treat to showcase our corner of regional filmmaking at the place where so much of it began for us. A lot has happened in the world since we graduated in 2020, so I hope Peorians latch onto the kind of lyrical storytelling that we hope will be life-giving to moviegoers in April.”

“The Heartland needs a voice,” says Jacobs, founder of Mourning Dove Films. “What audiences will see at this screening is a glimpse of what is possible when filmmakers remain creating in the Midwest, untrammeled by politics and groveling studio executives. We are offering what Hollywood isn’t—beauty and heart. These three films are made by ordinary people who care for and love ordinary things. Building alternatives is no easy feat and so we hope that our projects receive the necessary support for the continuation of beautiful cinema made in Peoria.”

A Moment Is Enough, Space Prairie: Act I, and Moving Through the Day

Brooks began writing Space Prairie when he was sixteen, two summers before filming and starting college. “After years of health issues as a child, I began to heal as a teenager and wanted Space Prairie to be a joyride for us, a production journey that felt like a Sunday afternoon drive in a roofless car—a gleeful breeze blowing through us beneath puffy, sunbaked clouds. Alongside the enormously absurd effort we put in, that’s exactly what it was: a gift of healing and creative fulfillment for us.” In Space Prairie, an interplanetary taxman and a pioneer family sight a troubling anomaly in the starry skies above their isolated prairie world—a whimsical and epic tale of romance, robots, and the will to survive.

“I feel as though, for the very first time as a filmmaker, I am finally making a film,” reflects Jacobs after completing A Moment Is Enough, an ascetically demanding project created on 16mm film, an excerpt of the feature-length Poet in a Modern World, a story about “choosing Beauty in a world defying it,” now in production in Peoria. “What we experience in cinema ought to clarify the common linkage between us as human beings struggling to exist in this world as spiritual creatures—the very things that go beyond mere politics, celebrity, and social media,” says Jacobs. “It is beauty that binds us as a civilization; it is beauty that calls us to be more than what we are.” While filming in a “stifling and cramped room,” Jacobs lauds “what cinema really is: an edifying expedition into time.”

“Peoria is my home,” reflects Voss. “I’ve continued to find myself and so much beauty in it, primarily in its landscapes and its people. Moving Through the Day features my beautiful girlfriend, Taylor, spending a day in Peoria’s picturesque Donovan Park. I believe films are a place where modern myth flourishes. We’re all figuring out how to navigate reality with everything we do, including art. Over time, by using film to express myself through inspired images, I’ve further understood who I am and things I’m processing or ‘moving through.’ You could say that Moving Through the Day is a confrontation with the passing of the day and an expression of my love for a couple of things that I find a home in.”

General admission is $15, family and group admission is $8, and children’s admission is $5. Bring your family or a group of friends, and tickets are $8 for each person in your family or group. Tickets for kids 12 and under are $5.

The films are suitable for any audience.

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