Monday, March 5, 2012

Do we really need a Charlotte Film Festival?

You might think the question answers itself. Any film festival can't help but lend a little glitz and coolness to a city not conspicuous for either. But it's not that simple.

After all, Asheville had a delightful fest: premieres from major independent distributors, documentaries that went on to Oscar nominations, strange but satisfying feature narratives -- and it took place in early November, right after the peak of leaf season in the mountains. But it collapsed in 2010 after the city withdrew funding, partly because it hadn't brought new visitors to the city.

The Charlotte Film Festival begins today in a crowded field: The Charlotte Jewish Film Festival is going on, the Charlotte Black Film Festival ended Saturday, and the Projecting Hope Film Festival for family-oriented movies will start Friday. So do we even need an all-purpose festival?

I'd say we do. The other three all speak to specific audiences, however much they reach out beyond their communities. (Or don't, as the Black Film Festival didn't contact me; I found out about it by chance.) But the Charlotte Film Festival belongs to the whole city.

I judged student films this year, watching entries that ranged from a Kuwaiti political fable based on "Alice in Wonderland" to a British short about fairy tales with Julian Sands in a leading role. (Some of those students must be rolling in dough.) Even from those five films, I got a sense of the broad, fascinating world of cinema that no other festival locally gives us. And that's why we'd be poorer if the Charlotte Film Festival went away.


Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

Of course we need this Festival. And, the taxpayers need to cough up more money to keep this going. We could raise taxes when the money runs out; after all, we all know they are not paying their fair share.

Megatodd said...

I concur. (...not with the comments, I mean with the blog.)