Archive for the ‘film’ Category

2018 Cucalorus Indie Film Grants Close Jan 31

Heads up, North Carolina Indie filmmakers – applications are closing on January 31 for the Third Annual “Filmed in NC” Cucalorus Indie Filmmakers Fund.  Funding ranges from $500 to $3,000 per project.

Cucalorus grant program Filmed in NC

Applications are open to permanent residents of North Carolina as well as full-time students at North Carolina colleges and universities. The grant program will fund projects by emerging and established artists with a proven record for producing singular and original work. Additionally, projects should exhibit potential for generating meaningful community impact and substantial economic activity in North Carolina. Funding is prioritized for female filmmakers and African American and Latino artists.  Additional information and an application are available on the Cucalorus website.

Cucalorus is a multi-disciplinary arts organization located in Wilmington, NC; it supports emerging and innovative creative professionals with an annual film festival, a residency program, a summer camp for teen filmmakers, a community cinema, and an extensive community engagement program. The Indie Filmmakers grant program is a project of the Cucalorus Film Foundation made possible through a partnership with the NC Film Office and by a gift from Artless Media in conjunction with The Magnifying Glass.

According to Cucalorus Executive Director Dan Brawley, “The Filmed in NC program holds so many of the values that Cucalorus champions. From celebrating emerging artists to building a sustainable film industry in our state, this program really has the potential to do great things for filmmakers in North Carolina starting from the ground up. There are so many talented people making films in our state, we wish we could fund them all.”

Grant recipients will be announced in March.

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Triangle’s Newest Film Festival Highlights All Aspects of Filmmaking

Beyond Film Festival Announced for The Cary Theater

The Triangle’s newest film Festival “BEYOND: The Film Festival” will be based out of The Cary Theater and seeks to celebrate the many facets of the art of storytelling through film. The Cary is already a hub and resource for the Triangle’s film community, hosting regular Rough Cuts Reviews (free screening nights for local filmmakers), as well as  Zombiepalooza and Sick Chick Flicks Film Festival and regular screens national new and classic independent films. Beyond will be a 4 day event, including workshops and other art forms exploring the Festival theme.Logo_Beyond.TFF_Cary Theater_BW.Reversed

It was The Cary Theater’s focus on cinema that led to creation of the festival.  Operations and Programs Supervisor, Joy Ennis, explains, “When we opened The Cary, we put “launch a signature film festival” on our list of goals. It’s been 3 ½ years and we feel like we’re at a point in our growth to take on a new challenge, so we decided to take the plunge. Our intention has always been to create an event that supports the mission of the theater – to provide a unique setting for cinema and live performance that creates a community centered gathering place in Downtown Cary and makes The Cary an institution in the downtown landscape. Since our primary focus is film – an event that celebrates the magic of this art form seemed like the perfect fit for us.”

Beyond will highlight all aspects of filmmaking, featuring a short film competition and screenplay writing competition. Each year, the festival will explore a new theme and focus on a different aspect of the filmmaking process. “We love the idea of looking “BEYOND” the final product of the finished film. Our intention is to highlight a “behind the scenes” area of filmmaking each year.” Joy added, “We’re starting with screen writing – because it is the bedrock that the film is built on. We envision each year to highlight a new aspect of filmmaking – cinematography, costume design, directing.”

Beyond 2018 – Focusing on Hometown Stories and Scriptwriting

For its opening year, the theme for the screenwriting competition and short films will be “Hometown Stories” and the Festival will explore the foundational aspect of filmmaking – the script. The call for applications elaborates: “Hometown Stories have a sense of place. It is where we grew up. Hometown has resonance of things past, things we hold dear, things we have abandoned. No other place we live will ever have the impact of our hometown. Whether the genre is comedy, drama, documentary or farce, the hometown always becomes a character and exerts its influence over the narrative. Hometown stories tell us about our beliefs, biases, dreams and nightmares. What’s your Hometown Story?”

To apply to this year’s Festival

Competition Short Films must have been completed after January 1, 2016 and should not exceed 30 minutes in length, including credits. All non-English language films must have English subtitles. Each film must follow the theme of “Hometown Stories”, but is not limited to genre.

Screenplays must have been completed after January 1, 2016. Submitted screenplays should be for short films and should not exceed 40 pages in length and written in English. Each film must follow the theme of “Hometown Stories”, but is not limited to genre. Click here to submit<

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Artist Link Project – Arts Access Promotes Accessible Arts & Artists with Disabilities

821364.aa-artist-link-projectby Annie Poslusny

Arts Access recently launched the Artist Link Project – a directory of North Carolina artists, teaching artists, and advocates. Program Coordinator Jennifer Marshburn explains, “The Artists Link Project is primarily designed as a database for artists of all mediums who identify as having a disability, and for arts educators who offer (or wish to offer) inclusive arts programming.” The Artist Link Project will allow the public to search for a unique artist based on a variety of search criteria or to search for teachers of varied art disciplines who welcome all abilities in their programming. Inclusion in the database will enable artists to exhibit and promote their work and fully participate in the cultural and artistic life of our state. To join the database, click here.

“We suggest three broad categories of art form: Visual Arts, Performing Arts and Literary Arts and allow our artists to categorize their work however they see fit.” Marshburn states, “Our current database is populated with 32 artists ranging from painters, photographers, actors, musicians, and writers. All of our artists range in skill level from the Novice or Hobbyist to Professional. The purpose of our program is to support and promote the work of artists who have disabilities and wish to develop in their craft.”

Arts Access also offers monthly opportunities for the group to get together and enjoy cultural events around the Triangle. These events double as a networking opportunity for the artists. Future meetings will include an evening at Imurj’s Just Make Something and a tour of the Museum of Natural Sciences’ current featured exhibit “Race: Are We So Different.” These events are determined based on polling members and venue availability. Check Art Access’s website for more details.

Arts Access, a nonprofit organization based in Raleigh, enables North Carolinians with disabilities to have full access to arts programs and facilities. Arts Access provides audio description, consulting and training services, as well as on online resources on their website which connects individuals, artists, educators and organizations throughout the state. To learn more about Art Access’s programs, click here.

Annie Poslusny is an art history major and interior design/studio arts minor at Meredith College. She enjoys drawing and creating three-dimensional works of art, writing, and research.

North Carolina Film Orchestra Expands State Film Production Resources

NCFilmOrchestraThe newest symphony orchestra in North Carolina is aimed at supporting the growth of the State’s movie and television industry. The Raleigh-based North Carolina Film Orchestra is intended to fill the gap of live recording needs of filmscore composers and producers for the independent film industry. Beginning with semi-professional community players, the intent is to begin commercial recording of selected filmscore music for these studios, in place of the synthesized filmscore tracks on which they have historically been dependent.

Currently the Orchestra’s repertoire includes four filmscore pieces, including a work by composer Julian Smyth- music graduate of Nottingham University, and former Orchestra Manager for the Ulster Orchestra, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra; his past collaborators include John Williams and James Horner.

The Orchestra’s member roster consists of 30 musicians, many of whom are music educators or have performance degrees. Local musicians who are at or approaching semi-professional playing level on either a strings instrument or double reeds and would like to be considered for a spot as a performing member, should contact or Patricia Pearce for further information.

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“Establishing Shot” Highlights Triangle Screen Talent

Like many in the Triangle, local filmmakers, producers and actors Andrew Martin, Paul Kilpatrick and Olivia Griego saw a need and simply jumped in to fill it. The need? A way to promote the strength and diversity of local talent to a broader audience. Martin explains, “We have talented neighbors, who excel in theater, improv, stand up comedy, music, dance, burlesque, roller derby, wrestling, fashion, photography, and film. Being filmmakers by trade, we wanted to encourage and showcase these incredible people and bring these diverse talents together on screen.”  So they created the website An Establishing Shot.

Establishing Shot is a series of short improvised films, starring local Triangle & NC-based talent, invoking the spirit of old Hollywood’s screen tests. An “establishing shot” in filmmaking terms is typically used to open a new scene and provide a wider view of a setting or location in the story. It’s a traditional way to tell the viewer where the action takes place and to initiate a contextual understanding of what is about to happen on screen.

Establishing Shot provides an easily accessible online resource for local talent to showcase their work and makes it easier for business seeking talent, both from NC and beyond, to easily view the breadth of local talent.  “We see Establishing Shot Raleigh as the first time many people outside the community will become aware of the range of screen talent we have living here. This is designed to be an intriguing tease of dramatic and comedic possibilities, casting light on many of the gifted performers who call this region home.” say Martin. The hope is that rather than bringing talent in from elsewhere for productions filmed here, Establishing Shot will make it easier for those casting films or other productions to view the work of local talent and “hire local”.


Katie Barrett, Liam O’Neill and Mikaela Saccoccio in “Why Do You Need to Get Away” on Establishing Shot.

Another reason for creating Establishing Shot was to reveal a new side to the Triangle’s well-established theater and performance talent, by giving them the opportunity and confidence to do more acting in front of the camera. Martin adds, “We also wanted to give the behind-the-scenes crew the chance to have some raw unscripted fun, play around with cameras and lights in a non-corporate or commercial setting, and to create a positive experience for everyone working together as a well-orchestrated team.”

Short term, the project will provide Triangle actors and performers the opportunity to create original material for a reel. Long term, the creators hope to generate increased interest and enthusiasm for the Triangle’s brand of unique characters and creators and inspire more original works of film, television, and visual art.


Paul Kilpatrick and Germain Choffart film a scene.

Getting the Project Started 

“We originally reached out to over 250 vetted and proven performers and were only able to make the scheduling work for 30 of them this time around. The wealth and depth of talent in this community is strong and growing.” says Martin. They shot 50 scenes over 2 days of filming and have been very gradually releasing each one. Having full time careers and families, the labor-intensive and time-consuming aspect of this project has been the editing.

What’s Next? 

Once Establishing Shot Raleigh becomes established, there will be an even greater chance for visual artists, musicians, writers, and creative people of all kinds to naturally integrate into the design and delivery of the scenes.  The creators are open to meeting and working with the large, diverse group of artists and artisans throughout our creative community. In the meantime, Martin adds, “We need editors, or even people who are dabbling in editing, to help us finish. Adobe Premiere only, since the project is organized and ready to share most easily in this format.  Next time around we will need help in every department.”

They also ask the Triangle Arts Community to be sure to share and comment on the video scenes to help get the word out. To be successful, they want to be seen in our local market, but it will be of even greater benefit if filmmakers and audiences outside our community begin to discover the talent available here.

Visit to get more info and contact Andrew, Olivia and Paul through the website.

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Do you know about? The Center for Documentary Studies

This is first in a series of articles on creative resources in the Triangle that are either little known, or you may have heard of them, but may be unaware of the extent of the services and resources they offer.  Have an idea for a future article?  Let us  know.

By Teri Saylor

Sparkle and Twang is an exhibit by country music singer Marty Stuart that was on display at the CDS

A commotion outside a classroom at the Center for Documentary Studies caused heads to turn as a familiar figure led a small entourage though the Center’s downstairs gallery. He paused to glance into the room and his carefully coifed hair gave him away.  It was country music singer Marty Stuart, on his way to a concert on the Duke Campus, showing off a documentary photography project he has cultivated over 40 years.  Starting with a portrait of bluegrass music legends Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs taken in 1969, and time traveling through the turn of the new Millennium, “Sparkle and Twang” depicts kings and queens of country and blues, and includes photographs of Loretta Lynn, Bill Monroe, and BB King.  A highlight of his exhibit is what is thought to be the last photograph of Johnny Cash, taken on September 8, 2003, just four days before he died.

The Center for Documentary Studies, founded in 1989 at Duke University offers and interdisciplinary program of instruction, production and presentation in the documentary arts: photography, film/video, narrative writing, audio, and other creative media.  The CDS serves as a resource for individuals and groups wishing to learn or develop documentary skills. Under graduate degrees are available to Duke University students. A certificate program in documentary arts and continuing education classes are open to anyone interested in expanding their documentary talents or taking their interest in the genre to a new level.

The Center made news recently when a new masters degree was introduced at Duke University. A unique initiative, the new Masters in Fine Arts in Experimental and Documentary Arts couples experimental visual practice with documentary arts in a two-year program.  “We continue to raise the bar,” said April Walton, learning outreach director. “We encourage people to think outside the box.”

The Center for Documentary Studies offers programs for documentarians and those who love the genre.

As far as the CDS is concerned, its students don’t have to be professional documentarians. Anyone with a good idea or a dream is welcome to take classes and to develop their ideas into projects.  “’What’s the point?’” you might ask,” Walton said. “The process is the point. The skills you gain are invaluable, and everyone is interested in adding to their skill set.”  The CDS is also home to a diverse populations of students, from the youthful college-age set, to professionals from different occupations eager to flex their creative muscles, to retirees who believe it’s never too late to see a dream project come to fruition.  “Good work is good work,” Walton said. “We don’t differentiate between student work and professional work.

Continuing education classes cost money, most of which goes to the instructors, Walton said. Duke employees get discounts, and there are unpaid internship programs, teaching assistant opportunities, partnerships with nonprofit organizations, and other ways people can participate in CDS programming.

Some documentary-lovers don’t want to create a body of work themselves, but instead enjoy the work of others.There’s room for spectators too.  “We want to provide an open and welcoming atmosphere,” Walton said. “Come visit; see our exhibits; sit on our porch; be our guest.”  The CDS hosts receptions and special events. Lectures, film screenings, and project presentations are open to the public, and most of the events are free.

For more information, check out the Center’s websites: or

Teri Saylor is a freelance writer and photographer in Raleigh. Follow her tweets @terisaylor or contact her by email.

Do you know of creative resources in the Triangle that others may not know about?  Tell us about it at!

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Triangle film community needs leaders.

Triangle Film Society event at Trailblazer Studios

Nene Kalu, after participating in FilmSpark 2009 and missing the community she experienced there, founded the Triangle Film Society.  Its most recent event, hosted by Trailblazer Studios, was well attended and alive with conversation and networking.   It is clear from the overwhelming response to the TFS events that there is a strong need for networking and support in this discipline in the Triangle.

Today, I am turning over my blog to Nene Kalu:

The film community in the Triangle is beyond any community in the Triangle that I have been a part of. Although nearly all within the community maintain a day job, there is always someone willing to pitch in for an interesting project or to crew a seemingly insignificant short film. What makes the film community here special is that people are willing to put aside their own ambitions in order to help others achieve theirs. As far as I know, there is no backbiting or backstabbing, no jealousy or simmering discord as is likely to happen within small creative communities. Rather, people who care about film and media here lend a helping hand on projects and support the greater good.

I have seen filmmakers and media professionals establish friendships and working relationships with each other through the variety of film meet up groups in the area. Additionally, great independent works have been allowed to circulate and enrich the wider Triangle community. Having a vibrant creative base in a growing metropolitan area such as our own should not be underestimated. I think that the bevy of talented and passionate filmmakers in the Triangle have contributed to this new creative class, nurturing its growth and spearheading its influence.

Triangle Film Society founder, Nene Kalu (photo by Teri Saylor)

Triangle Film Society founder, Nene Kalu (photo by Teri Saylor)

In order to protect the treasure that is the Triangle film community, individuals who make film, distribute film, or crew for film need to rise up to the task of leadership. Right now, there is no one to lead SparkCon’s filmSPARK 2011. Many film groups, including the Triangle Film Society, cannot and will not continue without leaders who are willing to give of their time and skills. If you care about preserving the creative film talent that has been fostered here in the Triangle, please consider leading an initiative — filmSPARK, Triangle Film Society, etc. Not only will you be doing a great service to your community, but you will also help bring out the depths of talent and ingenuity found in the features, short films, and documentaries of our area’s outstanding filmmakers.

If you want to get involved in filmSpark, the interest meeting will take place on March 16, 7pm at Morning Times in Raleigh. If you have questions about filmSpark, email Sarah Corpron at Visual Art Exchange.  If you want to learn more about Triangle Film Society, contact Nene Kalu.

Have something to say to the Triangle Creative Community?  Email me at

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