Most people can remember a specific interest that burned in their childhood hearts and led to like-minded friends, a secret club and glorious endeavors of creation. For the founding members of Foxshire Films, each person remembers one passion very clearly: love of motion pictures.
Foxshire Films currently consists of four of its founding members — Samuel Heble, Brendan Alspach and brothers Nicholas and Gage Long — and recent recruit Kathryn Holden.
“We want to challenge ourselves and the community around us to go forward artistically and just do it; pursue your dreams,” said Alspach. Heble agreed, adding, “I want our films to give glory to God in a way that’s truthful and destroys Christian art culture. We want to preach the gospel through messages that are really raw and in unique ways, straight from our hearts.”
On December 12, 2015, Heble, the Long brothers and others who are no longer with the group met up at Coffee Scene to talk about film. At that meeting, everyone was full of restless energy and ready to turn their love for film into commitment and action. “It was very organic in a surprising way. … We got together and it was so collaborative that (the group’s formation) kind of just happened on its own,” Gage said. “The lack of things happening pushed us to commit,” added Nick.
That’s not to say it was a picture-perfect start. They were working with a small amount of basic film equipment and an essentially non-existent budget. Their communication and organizational skills needed much improvement.
But they committed. They met every Wednesday for two to five hours. They spent time outside of that weekly meeting doing individual tasks like writing short film scripts, storyboarding or scouting film locations.
And as they continued to meet, they just started doing it: making films, trying on roles and skills and getting their hands dirty. Their first production was “John Johnson” in January 2016, a one-and-a-half minute film that was shot in one day, in one room, with one actor — that actor being founding member Nick.
Since then, they’ve made five more short films. Their most recent release, “One Night…,” is an 11-and-a-half minute comedy-suspense with five actors and an original score composed by Greensboro musician Andrew Beach and performed by music students at UNC Greensboro, with atmospheric lighting aided by a homemade fog machine. Another one of those five films, “Through the Treeline,” was accepted into Fayetteville’s Indigo Moon Film Festival in October 2016.
This year, Foxshire showed its films and spoke at two public events, FTCC’s Off the Record: Artist Series night, and SKD’s Cultural Arts Festival. They plan to continue their forward momentum, aiming to build a growing network of film-lovers and dream-chasers in Fayetteville.
Last summer, Foxshire made its first big effort to reach out to the community with a project titled The Fox Gathering. For this five-month project, Foxshire put out an open call to those interested in any aspect of filmmaking, like screenwriting, directing, acting or sound. The goal was not to create perfect products, but to give people a chance to jump into the filmmaking process and learn together regardless of skill level. A total of 33 people participated, and the result was three short films. Collin Tubbs, Fox Gathering participant, said, “(It) was really open to whoever was interested and invested in it. …It was like a breath of fresh air.”
The resounding theme of my interview with Foxshire was, “Just do it.” So take note, dreamers. Go forth and do. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to connect with the group, and follow their progress by liking their Facebook page. Watch three of their films at vimeo.com/foxshirefilms and watch their Fox Gathering films at vimeo.com/thefoxgathering.
Photo: Foxshire Films members Nick Long, Kathryn Holden, Gage Long, Brendan Alspach and Samuel Heble