The Carrboro Film Festival

| August 14, 2016

The annual Carrboro Film Festival is currently accepting submissions thru September 30, 2016. What are you waiting for?

Celebrating its 11th Anniversary this year, the Carrboro Film Festival of Carrboro, North Carolina is one of the largest film festival in the south. It was founded in 2006 by Carrboro Arts Council members Jackie Helvey and Nic Beery. It is always held in Carrboro’s Century Center on the weekend before Thanksgiving, and this year, that lands on the weekend of November 21-22, 2015, and will be hosted by the ArtsCenter in Carrboro, North Carolina.

Compared to other film festivals, film submission requirements for the Carrboro Film Festival are relatively lenient. For example, it is not necessary that the film was shot within the last eighteen months, which is standard for most Film Festivals. “Films can have been completed ANYTIME in the past 200 years.” Entries can be narrative, documentary, experimental or music video, including short and full-length feature films. The only requirements are that films must be submitted exclusively through Film Freeway with an online screener, in the h.264, mp4, 720p format, and films must be available for screening during the Carrboro Film Festival, November 19-20, 2016.

The best part is the entry fee: a mere $15 for professionals, and just $10 if you are a student.

Co-founder Nic Beery says, “In the past, we have gotten submissions filmed by cell phones, as well as high-end, professionally-shot movies.” All film genres are represented, including documentaries, dramas, comedies, animations, horror films, music videos, and love stories. Out of hundreds of entries, an average of only about 45 films are selected to be shown during the festival weekend. Typically, there are 500-600 people who attend the show, which is incredible exposure for the filmmakers.

In typical Carrboro fashion, the Film Festival awards are handmade works of art in and of themselves. Local sculptor Mike Roig designs these unique sculptures every year out of recycled materials mostly found in and around Carrboro. He creates these awards every year, and each year, he comes up with a unique, new look for the awards. Sometimes they weigh 50 pounds and are made from scrap metal. “It is called the Kay Kyser Award,” Beery explains. “The first year of the Film Festival, Amanda Bryan, who was Kay Kyser’s granddaughter, happened to be on the Arts Committee. We were looking for a famous person from Carrboro to name the award after and we could not come up with anyone. Then Bryan suggested using Kay Kyser, since he was a UNC graduate and an accomplished bandleader and radio personality. We all agreed. Every year, Mike Roig plays with different symbols and themes from the life of Kay Kyser for the award. Sometimes the figures are wearing a mortar board. Two years ago, they all spun. That’s Carrboro. That’s what it’s all about. We couldn’t call the plexiglass bowling trophy guy. That’s not Carrboro.”

“The wonderful thing about this is that the town of Carrboro fully embraces this,” says Beery. “Financially, they are our presenting sponsor, and we also get funding from local businesses and residents. Many people provide ‘in kind’ services, like getting the HD projector for a drastically reduced price, and dedicated volunteers help out during the show. We all come together and we make it work. It’s a great afternoon!”

Co-founder Jackie Helvey adds, “The Carrboro Film Festival is my favorite committee, because it brings together so many people from so many different perspectives to judge films, so the reviews vary wildly. What I may think is a fabulous film, somebody else on the committee may not like at all. But, when it all comes down to it, great is great, and there’s no second guessing that. After months of watching films alone, watching and discussing in groups, defending and discovering, in the end, we have a day of amazing films.”

If you would like to submit your short film for the Carrboro Film Festival, there is still time. The deadline is September 30, 2016. To fill out a very brief application and pay the nominal fee online, visit: For more information about The Carrboro Film Festival, visit the web site:

For more information about The Carrboro Film Festival’s co-founder Nic Beery, and how he ended up in Carrboro, read The Chapel Hill Recorder article: “Nic Beery”


Category: Arts & Entertainment

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