Did you know that Longleaf folks make films for our home base, the North Carolina Museum of History? No, “the festival” doesn’t make films (and neither does “the museum”), but two festival staffers do. Basically, that would be Jerry Taylor—the cofounder and codirector of Longleaf: a sort of behind-the-camera, behind-the-festival sort of guy—and me.
Some of our films are made to be seen in exhibits, like the museum’s current World War I exhibit or The Shape of Fashion that opened this month. Others are videos that stand alone and are created to present North Carolina history in narrative shorts that are accurate but also entertaining. We’ve always liked this part of our jobs, as it provides that frustrating yet satisfying outlet of “creating.” However, now it allows us the added benefit of better understanding—on a different scale—what you, as indie filmmakers, go through.
Like you, we’ve improved over the years (well, Jerry was always pretty amazing, but I’ve been on a learning curve). And, probably like you, while we don’t always agree on what story to tell or how to tell it, in the end, we come together as a team that, like your crews, works better than either of us individually. (Except when it comes to cable pick-up; I suck at cable pick-up.)
Be sure to join us for our free First Fridays event, on October 6, for clips from filmmakers who worked in North Carolina “Before the Talkies.” Imagine their challenges—and successes.
And, hopefully like you, sometimes we get a bit silly (really, that’s me; Jerry just goes along with it) . . . Like that time we created talking artifacts who argued over their relative importance in the American Revolution. Or that time I “wrote” a musical about our entire state history—even though I don’t read or write music.
We’ve also faced challenges: telling the story of North Carolina during World War I without trenches; locating actors who could speak French, Russian, Turkish, or German; re-creating Valley Forge on a sunny and unusually hot spring day; and improvising a silent film because the actors showed up with braces while the setting was the 1830s.
Whether it’s the 25th round of edits, the 1st round of auditions, the 9th outline, or the 100th revision of your to-do list—know that we feel for you.
What did you do for your film today?
May 11–12 at the North Carolina Museum of History.
Film, Fun, and Community.