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The Illinois Parables

Rental Format(s): 16mm film / Digital File / Digital File - DCP

A suite of Midwestern parables that question the historical role belief has played in ideology and national identity.

An experimental documentary comprised of regional vignettes about faith, force, technology and exodus. Eleven parables relay histories of settlement, removal, technological breakthrough, violence, messianism and resistance, all occurring somewhere in the state of Illinois. The state is a convenient structural ruse, allowing its histories to become allegories that explore how we're shaped by conviction and ideology.

The film suggests links between technological and religious abstraction, placing them in conversation with governance. Locations are those where the boundaries between the rational and supernatural are tenuous. They are "thin places" where the distance between heaven and earth has collapsed, or more secularly, any place that bears a heavy past, where desire and displacement have lead us into or erased us from the land. What began as a consideration of religious freedom eventually led to sites where belief or invention triggered expulsion. The film utilizes reenactment, archival footage, observational shooting, inter-titles and voiceover to tell its stories and is an extension of previous works in which the director questioned foundational American tenants.

The Parables consider what might constitute a liturgical form. Not a sermon, but a form that questions what morality catalyzes, and what belief might teach us about nationhood. In our desire to explain the unknown, who or what do we end up blaming or endorsing?

Ravenwolf - Raven Wolf C. Felton Jennings II
Jacques Marquette - José Oubrerie
Alexis de Tocqueville - Daniel Verdier
Ralph Waldo Emerson - David Gatten
Enrico Fermi - Joshua Frieman
Wanet McNeill - Anna Toborg

Tornado Eyewitnesses: Pauline Gardner, Bob Hill, Mary Holder, Minnie Rieckenberg, Dolly Schwebel, Raymond Schwebel, Mark Wells, Josie Taylor Wells

Hanrahan's Raiders: Chris Bournea, Riley Cruttenden, Joshua Finnell, Paul Hill, Peter Morgan, Blake Turner, Adrian Waggoner

Okkyung Lee, Olivia Block, Jeanne Demessieux, Arvo Pärt, Les Porte-Mentaux, Lunenberg Travelers, Hauschka, György Kurtág, Gurdjieff & DeHartmann, Alfred Schnittke, Barry Adamson, JS Bach

List of parable locations & dates:
I Cahokia, IL 600-1400 CE
II Alton, IL 1673
III Golconda, IL- Jonesboro, IL 1838-1839
IV Nauvoo, IL 1839-1848
V Icaria/Nauvoo, IL 1849-1860
VI Gorham, IL - Crossville, IL 1925
VII Chicago, IL 1942
VIII Joliet, IL 1940-1976
IX Macomb, IL 1948
X Chicago, IL 1969
XI Buffalo Rock, IL 1985

Director, Producer, Screenplay, Camera, Edit, Sound Design: Deborah Stratman
Sound Mix: Jacob Ross
Sound Recordists: Steve Badgett, Melinda Fries, Edgar Jorge, Jennifer Lange, Chris Salveter, Deborah Stratman
Intertitles: Edgar Jorge

World Premiere: Sundance, January 2016
European Premiere: Berlinale, February 2016

Douglas Edwards Independent/Experimental Film/Video Prize - 42nd LA Film Critics Association Awards
The Stan Brakhage award at the 54th Ann Arbor Film Festival
Special Mention at the l'Alternativa Festival de Cinema Independent de Barcelona
Prix d'Aide a la Distribution Ciné + Award - EntreVues Belfort International Film Festival
Second Prize, Best International Documentary - Filmmaker Festival, Milan

Rental Fees

16mm film $240.00  
Digital File $240.00  
Digital File - DCP $240.00  

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