Longleaf Film Festival is a free-to-attend film festival that highlights the best short and feature-length documentary and narrative films in a place that recognizes filmmakers and film fans DO make history. The weekend festival screens films that demonstrate a Tar Heel State connection, through the people involved in making them or through their subject.
How many years has Longleaf Film Festival been running?
We are in year four! of this event that started as a program of an exhibit on North Carolina’s film history. Alas, Starring North Carolina! is gone, but the festival continues, as a testament to the importance of this craft and industry in the Tar Heel state.
What makes this festival unique?
We work to improve the festival each year for filmmakers and film fans.
This year we are adding an outdoor film block on Bicentennial Plaza, Movies-N- Moonlight (fingers crossed for good weather!) and are excited to have members of the North Carolina Film Orchestra here to perform on Friday evening during our Filmmakers and Friends reception. For the first time, everyone is invited to attend this reception; tickets are available through our website.
Another change for Longleaf 2018 is that the focus for submissions has narrowed. Previously, we accepted films made anywhere by anyone—and we enjoyed some amazing work from around the country and around the world! However, our Advisory Board, our judges, and museum staff believed we should connect more closely with our home base, the North Carolina Museum of History, and its mission.
Hence, this year we limited submissions to films and/or filmmakers with a strong North Carolina connection. An important caveat is that we do allow submissions from former Official Selection filmmakers—we have made friends we want to keep!
What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned about running a film festival?
As with any endeavor, good manners go a long way! We sincerely respect the incredible amount of work that goes into making a film and hope to demonstrate that respect before, during, and after the festival. And I have become part of a wonderful and supportive community of folks involved in film—behind the camera, in front of the camera, and in film events around the Triangle. It does take a community to make and support independent film.
What kind of prizes are available for the filmmakers who have official selections in the festival this year?
Each year, we connect the art and craft of filmmaking with the North Carolina traditional art of pottery, with our award tiles. This year, Meredith Heywood of Whynot Pottery is making our awards. You can learn more about her and why “Whynot” on Longleaf’s blog, Pining. We also award three cash prizes of $500 each for Judges’ Choice—Documentary Film; Judges’ Choice—Narrative Film; and Best Middle and High School Student Film.
The festival is free to attend. Why is that important?
The North Carolina Museum of History is everyone’s museum.
We hope all folks visiting see themselves in our past and as part of our present and future. As a program of the museum, Longleaf Film Festival hopes to connect as many folks as possible with the art and craft of storytelling in film and so is also free to attend.
I’m not saying it’s easy—but it’s worth it. While some Longleaf attendees are devotees of independent film, others are new to this world and we want to make the festival economically accessible.
What kind of workshops and panel discussions are happening this year?
Two panels will engage filmmakers and film fans at Longleaf.
On Saturday, May 12, at 11:00 AM, Beth Yerxa of Triangle ArtWorks will moderate a panel on “Women in Film, North Carolina Style.” Panelists include filmmakers Kelly Creedon, Lana Garland, Nicolle Jones, and (drumroll!) Camden Watts.
At 2:00 PM, Eric Johnson of Trailblazer Studios will host a panel on “Distribution Platforms and How to Get There,” with panelists including entertainment attorney Thomas Varnum and filmmakers Elisabeth Haviland James and Evan Kidd.
Panels are free to attend, but registration is required and is available on our website.
Any potential logistics people should know about attending the festival?
Longleaf is held at the N.C. Museum of History. Parking is free after 5:00 PM on Friday and all day Saturday. A public parking lot is behind the museum with entrances on Jones and Edenton Streets.
We screen films in three spaces and seating is first come, first seated.
After the awards presentation on Saturday evening, we will celebrate at a public Wrap Party hosted by Oak & Dagger Public House!
ABOUT SALLY BLOOM
Sally Bloom wants everyone to know that they actually DO love history. Whatever your passion, it has history and knowing that history enriches your passion! At some point in her past, Sally received a BA in religion and history from UNC and an MA in history from GMU. Sally also writes and produces educational (and entertaining) videos about our past(s) and directs Longleaf Film Festival. She teaches via Live Streaming events and runs Professional Development Workshops for Educators. And herds cats on occasion.