Happy Anniversary ChathamArts Sustainable Cinema Series – Now heading into its Fourth Year!
by program director Linda Booker
In 2008, then ChathamArts President, Gilda McDaniel and I started talking about our dream of getting a film series started in Chatham county (where no movie venue or theater exists.) Around the same time, The General Store Café in Pittsboro expanded and owner Vance Remick asked if ChathamArts would like to screen some films there. We started out as the “100 Mile Film Series” July 8, 2008 and showed the “Anytown NC Pittsboro” short documentaries produced at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. From the very beginning, we wanted the series to shine a light on local filmmakers and their work and we featured projects from regional filmmakers including Matt Barr, Mark Barroso, Jim Haverkamp, Cynthia Hill, Brett Ingram, Mike O’Connell, Carlye Poteat and Todd Tinkam that summer and fall. We were showing films every two weeks in 2008… wow, was that ambitious!
In 2009, the program moved to the Fearrington Village Barn and since then we’ve evolved into the ChathamArts Sustainable Cinema Series featuring documentaries, narrative and independent films involving producers, directors, subjects and/or locations from all over North Carolina.
We are very proud that our series has used the film arts to spark dialogue about issues such as race relations and history, homelessness, capital punishment, artists with mental illness and disabilities, the Lumbee Indian tribe, immigration/migrant workers, chained dogs, American Factory workers losing jobs and sustainable agriculture. And we’ve been incredibly grateful and honored to have many filmmakers, animators and panelists attend and engage our audiences in discussion about their work and the subject matters and social issues addressed in their films.
But we’re not always so serious, we’ve also enjoyed laughter and song with films that featured puppets, musicians, quirky politicians, an etiquette camp, outsider artists, Siamese Twins, vampire beasts, zombies, moonshiners and nuns!
In 2010 the series won the Diversity in Media Award for our RACE in NC Film Forum and we’re proud to say that the series is frequently selected as a “Best Pick” by the Independent Weekly. This year we received support from the NC Humanities Council for our 2nd Race in NC Film Forum: Justice and Reconciliation, which enabled us to host out of town filmmakers such as Adam Zucker (Greensboro: Closer to the Truth) and Godfrey Cheshire (Moving Midway).
We are especially grateful to our sponsors R.B. Fitch and Fearrington Village for contributing a special venue for the series and also to local radio station Life 103.1 for their support this year. But most of all we are thankful to our film series volunteers and audiences. Without them we could not keep this program going. Our filmmakers often remark what a wonderful community we have and that screenings with the ChathamArts Cinema Series have been very special experiences for them. It’s been a very special experience for me too, to have the opportunity to share and experience so many wonderful film projects, discussion and outreach with my community and fellow film artists.
The film series takes a summer break in July and August, but we’re back on September 27th 2011 with Dr. Charles Thompson’s latest documentary Brother Towns/Pueblos Hermanos. Hope to see you there and in the meantime, keep supporting our North Carolina independent filmmakers and film festivals!