CARBONDALE -- A special movie event will open The Varsity's Peripheral Vision Film Series summer schedule. Director and producer Reiko Aylesworth will present her first short feature, "Veronica," on Thursday, June 13. Aylesworth will introduce the film and lead a question-and-answer session after the screening.
"Veronica" has been shown in more than 12 global film festivals and was featured on Cannes film fest webpage and in their online catalog. The film has just been chosen for screening at the Women Deliver 2019 Conference Film Festival in Vancouver, British Colombia, where Melinda Gates will deliver the keynote address.
"Veronica" is Alyesworth's directorial debut. The 2018 dramedy centers on the title character's seemingly perfect life. But when Veronica attends her first Transgender Identity Empowerment group meeting, she opens up about how she's convinced that a stranger's life is hers from afar. This confession spills over into a series of events where she battles with her desire to wholly adopt another woman's life and remain herself because of what society expects of her.
"It's first-rate moviemaking, thanks to the avant-garde plot alone," writes Ayurelia Horn Muller at filmthreat.com. "Writer and lead actress Tanya Perez proves to be a double threat in this 16-minute film. Thrilling and radical, the two (Alyesworth and Perez) combine forces to inject a pattern of delightful risk in the sequence of events."
Lead actress Perez has been seen on "Orange Is the New Black," "Jessica Jones" and "Blue Bloods."
Alyesworth, who will be in Southern Illinois visiting family, has a substantial career in theater and film and has been a working actor for nearly 30 years. She has performed on more than a dozen plays in regional theater, Off Broadway and in Los Angeles. Since the early 1990s, she has had starring and guest roles in television series. She was a central character in the cast of '24' when the show won a Golden Globe. She also has guest starred on "Law and Order," "Hawaii Five-O," Scorpion," "ER," "Lost" and many others.
Alyesworth has acted in more than 40 films, large and small, around the world, and has worked with Sydney Pollack, Ellyn Burstyn, Harrison Ford, Edie Falcon, Jim Carrley, Kevin Costner, Demi Moore and many others.
Aylesworth lives in Southern California with husband, Rob, and their son.
There will be a Q&A session with Aylesworth after the screening, where she hopes to share her experience in the film industry. She is especially interested in talking to and answering questions from young would-be directors and from women who are interested in making films.
The film is not rated but contains mature subject matter not suitable for children.
This special film event begins at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 13. Tickets are $7 or $5 for students with ID and are available in advance at www.thevarsitycenter.eventbrite.com. They are not available in advance at the venue, but will be sold on the night of the show when doors and the Varsity Bar open at 6:30.
The Varsity is downtown Carbondale at 418 S. Illinois Ave. To keep up with all events, go to www.facebook.com/varsitycenter.
Remaining Peripheral Vision schedule
The Varsity will show six films during its Peripheral Vision Film Series this summer. All movies are shown at 7 p.m. and tickets are $7 or $5 for students with ID. In addition to the opener, "Veronica," The Varsity will screen:
• June 20, Deconstructing the Birth of The Beatles (2018): This 2018 documentary details the origins of the band that conquered the world, from their music influences to the "real people" who crossed their paths between 1957 and the summer of 1962. Extemely rare audio and video clips are included.
• June 27, "All Is True" (2019) and WSIU's Preview of "Chasing the Moon" (2019): WSIU-TV will screen a preview of its new Ken Burns series, "Chasing the Moon." Afterwards, we will show "All Is True," a new feature film about Shakespeare's life after his greatest popularity. Kenneth Branagh directed and stars as the Bard, alongside Judi Dench and Ian McKellen. Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, suggestive material and language
• July 11, "The Last Movie Star" (2018): In the last film Burt Reynolds made, he plays an aging movie star who reflects on his life while accompanied by a brash millennial chauffeur (Ariel Winter) in this dramedy written and directed by Adam Rifkin. The film also stars Chevy Chase and Nikki Blonsky. Rated R for some sexuality and partial nudity
• July 18, "Shoplifters" (2018) A family of small-time crooks take in a child they find outside in the cold. Although the family is poor, barely making enough money to survive through petty crime, they seem to live happily together until an unforeseen incident reveals hidden secrets. The film won the Palme d'Or at Cannes in May 2018, was nominated for the 2019 Academy
Award for Best Foreign Language Film (Japan) and won the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Rated R for some sexual content and nudity.
• July 25, "They Shall Not Grow Old" (2018) Peter Jackson directs this homage to the British troops of the First World War with never-before-seen-footage of soldiers as they faced the fear and uncertainty of frontline battle in Belgium. Digitally remastered and now in color, the footage has been studied by lip reading experts whose transcripts were recorded and used as audio for the film. This historic revisiting marked one hundred years since the end of the Great War. Rated R for disturbing war images.