Devoted moviegoers – or anyone bored with uninspiring multiplex fare this summer – will be reeling in July and dancing in August. Festivals on back-to-back weekends give you a chance to dip into unexpected waters and let a charity dip into your pockets.
The first event, Kings Mountain’s Real to Reel Festival, holds its 17th annual outing July 27-30 in Joy Performance Center. The second, Charlotte’s Joedance Film Festival, has its seventh go-round Aug. 5-6 in the 10th Street Townhomes Courtyard of Fourth Ward.
Charlotteans will be more familiar with Joedance, which set up shop in 2010 to honor the late Joe Restaino and raises money for research and treatment of rare pediatric cancers at Levine Children’s Hospital. The festival will smash the $100,000 mark in donations this year and, if it sells out – as it does every year – get close to $120,000.
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Things have changed for Joedance. First, judges decided to devote Friday evening exclusively to shorts. Saturday night will, as usual, be a number of shorts capped by a feature-length documentary: “A Man Named Pearl,” about self-taught South Carolina topiary artist Pearl Fryar. Second, Joedance will fund an internship to Levine Children’s Hospital and Levine Cancer Institute with the proceeds of the festival.
Joedance remains the only film festival limited to people who have lived and worked in Charlotte or shot movies here. So its 14 entries have a local flavor of some kind, and you never know what you’ll see: Joseph Cato’s short “Newport Manner” played Joedance last year and turned up at Cannes this spring. Filmmakers range from a UNCC student to professional documentary-makers Scott Galloway and Brent Pierson (who made “Pearl”). And for the first time, animation will be part of the fest.
Real to Reel Festival
The name suggests a documentary fest – what would be more “real” than that? – but this event actually recruits films of all genres and lengths. It casts its net internationally, so movies this year come from Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, China, Germany, Greece, Israel, Japan and Spain.
The Friday and Saturday night programs will be anchored by features. Friday brings “The Life and Death of an Unhappily Married Man,” about a man who’s disillusioned with his failing marriage and dead-end career and visits his past to see where he went wrong. Saturday concludes with “Last Man Club,” Bo Brinkman’s drama about a World War II vet on a cross-country trip to a soldiers’ reunion; en route, he runs into a sassy young woman escaping mobsters.
Real to Reel aims to provide your money’s worth in two ways. First, ticket prices stay low: $8 in advance, $10 day of show, $30 in advance for all five programs. (There’s a Saturday matinee.)
Second, the programs start at 7 p.m. (1 p.m. on Saturday afternoon) and pack in so many films that there are intermissions. Take opening night: You get nine films – shorts, documentaries and animation – totaling three hours and 15 minutes without the break.
And here’s a tip: A $50 VIP pass puts you in the balcony of Joy Theater for all five programs, sitting among extra-comfy chairs with free popcorn and a complimentary drink. To learn more, go to ccartscouncil.org or call 704-484-2787.