Some people simply love going to the movies. Others dream of making films themselves. Many in both camps want to explore stories and genres they can’t find at mainstream theaters. Fayetteville has its own film festival that creators Pat Wright and Jan Johnson debuted in 2016 for just these reasons. Indigo Moon Film Festival returns to downtown Fayetteville Oct. 12-14, offering a chance to meet many of the filmmakers responsible for the more than 70 films that will be shown. The films represent local, regional, national and international talent.
The festival kicks off Friday, Oct. 12, with the opening night film and reception. Watch Susan Kucera’s docu-mentary “Living in the Future’s Past” at Cameo Art House Theatre from 7-9 p.m. Narrated and produced by Academy Award winner Jeff Bridges, “Living in the Future’s Past” explores concepts about humankind and Earth’s inhabitants in relation to the past, present and future. Then, stroll over to SkyView on Hay to mingle with filmmakers and enthusi-asts while enjoying drinks, light fare and live music.
Saturday is the longest and fullest day of the festival. Over the course of about 13 hours, 70-plus films will be shown at various locations in downtown Fayetteville. The films range from 2 minutes to 2 hours long and include a wide range of genres. Categories are narrative feature or narrative short, documentary feature or documentary short, student and animation.
“It was very difficult this year because we had so many great submissions,” Wright said. “We got (submissions) from around the world: the Russian Federation, (former) Yugoslavia, India, Greece, Romania.”
Films at the festival from North Carolina-based creatives include “27 West,” “Almost Cured,” “Birds of the Sky,” “Calcutta Mercy,” “Facing Navassa,” “Ground Zero Goldsboro,” “Introduction,” “Learning Man,” “Robeson Rises,” “The Maestro,” “This Time It’s Shopping” and “Lens Flare.” Many of these films involve state-specific stories, themes, social issues and locations.
Directors of many of the films will be present for 30-minute Q&A sessions following the screenings. “That’s one of the cool things about a film festival; you’ve got the filmmakers on-site talking about why they made the decisions or how they got that shot or what their motivation was,” Wright said. “You can ask any question you want.” Nearly all the North Carolina-based filmmakers are planning to be present for the Q&A sessions, along with others who will travel from out of state and out of country.
“Last year,” Johnson said, “We had 44 filmmakers come and had only built in 15 minutes for Q&A. People were wanting to stay and ask more and more questions. And we felt like this was the really special thing about film festivals, so we wanted to add more time.”
She and Wright won’t be sure of how many directors will attend this year until about 2 weeks before the festival, but she added that films’ editors, cinematographers and actors sometimes attend as well.
In addition to the Q&A sessions, festival-goers and casual passersby alike are invited to attend free “Out Takes” on Saturday, half-hour sessions where film industry professionals share insight on various topics. At Revolutionary Coworking (the Sustainable Sandhills office) is “How to Change the World Through Film” from 12:15-12:45 p.m. and “Coal Ash” from 5:45-6:15 p.m.
At SkyView on Hay is “Doing Distribution” from 12:15-12:45 p.m. and “Why Every Director Needs a Producer” from 5:45-6:15 p.m.
All festival venues are within easy walking distance of each other, inviting attendees to make a day of it and browse downtown’s shops and eateries in between viewings. Wright and Johnson said they’re proud of the event’s walkability. “We’ve become a certified Green Festival,” Johnson said, referring to a designation given by the NC GreenTravel Initiative. “It’s really critical in this day and age that we all do everything we possibly can to reduce our carbon footprint.” She added that the opening night film “is all about what we all can do to save our beautiful planet.”
The festival, which partnered with PWC and Sustain-able Sandhills in going green, will rely on recycling and composting for waste disposal. There will also be a Green Demonstration Area adjacent to Revolutionary Coworking, the film’s “Green Venue” that will specifically host films relating to environmental concerns. Visit the Green Demonstration Area to get information and freebies from environmental groups across the region.
Sunday, come back to celebrate and reflect at the Awards BBQ Banquet. At 11:30 a.m., at SkyView on Hay, enjoy a barbecue meal with vegan-friendly options, then watch the presentation of audience awards and jury awards for each film category. Audience awards come with a $200 cash prize. Juried award winners receive a beautifully designed trophy along with the coveted laurel leaves. Laurel leaves are visual markers on trailers and posters for award-winning indie films. Throughout the rest of the day, three encore screenings at the Cameo will include the juried winning entries along with the opening night film.
It’s not too early to start planning to submit for next year’s festival. This year’s submission period ran from March-May 2018 and into July for late and extended deadlines. Notification of acceptance went out at the end of August.
“More support by local filmmakers makes a better festival,” Johnson said. Her and Wright’s efforts represent just one example of local visionaries helping to build a community that brings creatives in rather than forcing them to seek opportunities and growth elsewhere.
IMFF film screening venues are the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County at 301 Hay St.; Cameo Art House Theatre and The Loge at 225 Hay St.; Hay Street United Methodist Church at 320 Hay St.; and the Sustainable Sandhills office at Revolutionary Coworking at 100 Hay St. Parking is free in the Franklin Street Parking Deck or in the Maiden Lane lot across from Cumberland County Public Library Headquarters Branch. Street parking is also free after 5 p.m. Friday and all day Saturday and Sunday.
The Rainbow Room at 223 Hay St. serves as box office, logo merchandise sales and volunteer check-in. For $100 ($90 for military, student or senior), the VIP All-Access Pass grants entry to all the festival’s films and events. Tickets to the opening night film and party are $25. Individual tickets to any film or shorts block except the opening night film cost $10 ($9 for military, student or senior). Tickets to the Awards BBQ Banquet are $15.
Purchase tickets online at https://squareup.com/ store/indigomoonff. Click “Shop” and “Tickets & Festival Events.” Pick up online purchases during box office hours of Oct. 11, noon-6 p.m.; Oct. 12, noon-7 p.m.; Oct. 13, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; and Oct. 14, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Passes and tickets are non-refundable.
Visit www.indigomoonfilmfestival.com for a full list of films and showtimes and for more information.