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Published: Nov 17, 2006 12:30 AM
Modified: Nov 17, 2006 03:50 AM

A festival for locals ...
Carrboro event will showcase filmmakers who live, work or play in Orange County
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Info

What: Carrboro Film Festival.

When: 2 to 7 p.m. Sunday

Where: Carrboro Century Center, Century Hall, 100 N. Greensboro St.

Admission: $3. Children 10 and younger get in free.

Details: http://www.carrborofilmfestival.com/

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When filmmaker Nic Beery moved from D.C. to Carrboro a year ago, he wanted to get away from the rat race and live in a neighborly spot where he and the Mrs. could raise their kids. But he didn't expect that once he was settled, he would have a film festival dropped in his lap, ready to be organized.

Since the Carrboro Film Festival was OK'd by the town's Arts Committee earlier this year, Beery has been in charge of getting films, seeking sponsorship, rounding up judges, finding a venue, pressing programs and T-shirts, etc.

"It's a lot of work to put together a festival," Beery says. "I didn't know it would be so much work."

After months of preparation, the festival will make its debut Sunday from 2 to 7 p.m. at the Carrboro Century Center. Out of the 87 short films that were submitted, 22 will unspool.

Each will be eligible to win one of four Kay Kyser Awards, named after the late, Rocky Mount-born bandleader, radio host and filmmaker and designed by Carrboro sculptor Mike Roig. The awards will be presented at the end of the night by Kyser's granddaughter Amanda Bryan.

The winning films will be shown in an encore screening Dec. 3 at the ArtsCenter in Carrboro.

What exactly does this festival offer that the oodles and oodles of film fests all over the place don't?

How about beaming pride for the region it's in.

"The films can be about absolutely anything," Beery says. "You just have to live, work or have stepped foot in Orange County to be eligible to submit a short film. 'Live, work or play' is what we're calling it."

Not all the filmmakers are feeling the criteria. Raleigh filmmaker Nick Karner, whose film "The Beaver" is in the festival (one of three he submitted), says the fest leaves out struggling North Carolina filmmakers who don't have ties to the county.

"Not to bad-mouth them, but I find that a little unfair, considering that it's their first year," Karner says. "It's cool of them to do that, but I think it would be a better idea if they had waited, if they do a couple of more years. And then, once they've sort of established themselves, I think they'll have a little more clout to say, 'OK, now we're just gonna keep this to regional.' "

Carrboro Arts Committee member Jackie Helvey, who came up with the film festival idea, says this is more about giving local filmmakers their chance to shine.

"There are already several film festivals in this area that take in films from around the country and around the world," Helvey says. "That's great, and they're wonderful. But there are so many great filmmakers right here that we wanted an event that would just highlight the folks from here, the folks in our own neighborhood."

But don't forget that Beery is also letting in filmmakers who have "stepped foot" in the area. The 9 1/2-minute short "Sunday" was made by a New Zealander who recently had some downtime in North Carolina.

"The guy had vacationed in Chapel Hill this summer," Beery says, "and he sent us his short film."

So you see, not all the filmmakers are required to have roots in the O.C. Sorry -- couldn't resist.

Staff writer Craig D. Lindsey can be reached at 829-4760, clindsey@newsobserver.com or blogs.newsobserver.com/unclecrizzle.
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