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Carrboro calls NC-connected auteurs

Illustration by Phil Blank

By Valarie Schwartz

Calling all Tar Heel filmmakers! This year, for the first time, the Carrboro Film Festival will accept film submissions with connections to anywhere in North Carolina.

For previous festivals, filmmakers had to prove a connection (past or present) to Carrboro – now it’s to anywhere in the Old North State.

“We’re always trying to take it to the next level in regards to the films that we get,” said Jackie Helvey, who co-founded the festival with filmmaker Nic Beery in 2006. “We want to get the best that we possibly can,” which they hope will happen by opening up the parameters for submissions, she added.

“One of the things that spurred it is that we’re viewing the films online this year, so there’s less of an administrative process involved,” Helvey said. Previously, the judges, who are the eight members of the festival committee, would each pick up a bag of films, watch them and fill out paperwork for each film, and then pass the bag along to another for judging.

“We’ve gone from completely 20th century with hard-copy applications to applying online, paying online and online reviews,” said committee member Chris Beacham, who set up the online process.

“The online submission process is quick and simple and environmentally friendly,” Beery said. “It’s all the things we wanted to achieve as we head into our sixth year of the festival.

“It’s quick because if a filmmaker has a short film or two, all they need to do is go to our site and click submit and the form is online.”

Beery further explained that if their films are online, filmmakers need only provide a link and password – no need to mail a DVD. “And at the end of the submission form, they are able to pay online, so no more writing a check and having town staff run to the bank and use gas,” Beery said.

The festival also provides an inexpensive submission cost – until Aug. 20, the submission fee is $10; after that, it’s $15 until the closing deadline on Sept. 30. There is no limit to how many films a person may submit, but a film may be no longer than 20 minutes. And those who apply don’t have to live in North Carolina – they must simply prove a tie to it.

“A lot of our award-winning films have been made by people who came to school here to learn filmmaking at UNC, but have moved on,” Helvey said.

Last year’s festival saw more than 100 submissions, but Beacham said that almost 20 have already been received this year.

“I’d say that 75 percent of them are from professionals and 25 percent are students,” he said. “They’re coming in pretty consistently, one about every other day. We’ll probably have the most to choose from ever.”

“The bigger the pool you have to choose from, the higher the quality,” Helvey said.

Anyone who has attended any of the previous festivals knows the quality has been stimulating.

Find out more (and maybe become inspired to shoot your own film) at carrborofilmfestival.com.

For those who just like to watch the films, mark your calendar to attend the festival on Nov. 20.

Contact Valarie Schwartz at 923-3746 or valariekays@mac.com

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