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Changes to lineup at Roger Ebert's Overlooked Film Festival announced

Craig Chamberlain, News Editor
(217) 333-2894;


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Organizers of the fifth annual Roger Ebert’s Overlooked Film Festival, set for April 23-27 in Champaign-Urbana, have announced several recent changes since an April 7 news release:

orange dot Cyd Charisse, a featured dancer in "Singin’ in the Rain," one of the festival’s films, will no longer be able to attend the film’s showing. She and Donald O’Connor, one of the film’s stars, were announced as guests for the film. O’Connor is still planning to attend.

orange dot Midori Sawato, a Japanese "benshi," or silent-movie storyteller, will not be able to attend. The film she was to narrate and interpret, "I Was Born, But …," won’t be shown.

orange dot"Shall We Dance," scheduled to be shown at 3:30 p.m. on April 24 (Thursday), has been moved to 2 p.m. on April 26 (Saturday).

orange dot Added to the 14-film schedule, at 3:30 p.m. on April 24, is a benshi-inspired staging of a silent Mexican film classic, Enrique Rosas’ "The Grey Automobile" (1919).

Following in the Japanese benshi tradition, a handful of actors appear on stage, along with a pianist, to interpret the dialogue and action of the film, which recounts the exploits of a notorious band of thieves during the Mexican Revolution. Dressed in early 20th century costumes, the actors dramatize the voices and emotions of about 150 characters, accompanied by a mix of period music, from Japan, Mexico and by Scott Joplin.

The production, inspired by a performance by Sawato, and directed by Claudio Valdés Kuri, has traveled to Chile, France, Germany and Spain, in addition to playing extensively in its native Mexico.

For additional information, visit the Web site, or contact Mary Susan Britt, the festival’s assistant director, at or (217) 244-0552.