By Gary Popp
Carrboro Commons Staff Writer
While the event celebrates the work of the filmmakers, it is a behind-the-scenes effort of an eleven-member committee that provides the filmmakers the forum to present their craft.
Selena Lauterer, the committee chairwoman, served as a committee member for the two years before taking on the lead role. While Lauterer and other committee members have a deep passion for independent filmmaking, there is also a commitment to engaging the public with the art form.
“I love Carrboro, and the idea of doing something in the community is great,” Lauterer said.
Nic Beery is one of the festival’s co-founders. Like many of the other festival organizers, Beery is also a filmmaker. Two years ago, Beery forfeited his role as committee chairman so he could be eligible to enter his own films in the festival he helped create.
“There is nothing more rewarding than sitting in a room watching my film with a few hundred other people,” Beery said.
As an organizer and filmmaker, Beery has witnessed the success of the festival which has attracted a sold-out crowd every year.
“The community really loves art, and film is an art,” Beery said. “People want to come out and see films made by their friends and neighbors.”
The festival exclusively features short films. The average length of the films is 10 minutes, with the longest film running 20 minutes and the shortest a mere 36-second animation.
The committee asks that all films be submitted only by filmmakers who have some relationship with Carrboro.
Jim McQuaid has served as a committee member since the inauguration of the festival in 2006.
“We are radically local,” McQuaid said. “We expect about two-thirds of the filmmakers to be at the festival.”
The growing popularity of the festival among local filmmakers is evident. In 2008, 66 films were submitted to the committee for review. This year, 105 films entered. Of all the entries, only 27 were selected to be part of the festival. Organizers correlate the popularity of the festival partly to the increased participation of women and student filmmakers.
Sifting through the 15 hours of submitted film footage to select a more manageable three and one-half hours to show at the festival was a three month process for the committee members.
The festival is divided into three blocks, with a question and answer session in between, that gives the audience a chance to speak directly to the filmmakers.
“The festival is really coming into its own,” Lauterer said. “The festival brings people of all ages and all walks. It is very lively with a lot of excitement.”
The festival not only offers entertainment for the public, but it provides a network for filmmakers.
Jackie Helvey, a festival co-founder, sees the festival as a resource to an already thriving film scene in Carrboro.
“There are so many creative people in Carrboro making films.” Helvey said. “And people who make films want them to be seen.”
Tickets are $5 and all ticket holders have the option to leave and re-enter throughout the six-hour festival. All children 10 and under are admitted free of charge.
A detailed schedule and brief summary of the films is available at carrborofilmfestival.com.
Films are played throughout the year at the Carrboro Century Center as part of Century Center Cinema. Upcoming films include “A Christmas Story” and “The Wizard of Oz.” You can learn more about Century Center Cinema at centurycentercinema.com
For those who have not attended a past festival, Beery warns the fast pace of the festival may be a bit intimidating for some viewers.
Beery also offered a bit of wisdom that is applicable for a short-film format.
“If you don’t like one of the films, wait five minutes.”