Friday evening featured an opening-night reception for filmmakers, while Saturday’s events included a meet-and-greet session that allowed viewers to mix with some of the people associated with many of the screened films. The day ended with a public awards ceremony that acknowledged the best and the most in Daniels Auditorium. More than 400 people attended the free daylong festival. In addition, the festival’s online presence generated 3,220 hits on the festival’s web pages and social media efforts reached 24,000 people—both in only a few months.
Of the entries received, judges nominated the following for screening and awards consideration:
*Note: While these independent films are not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), most would fall within the PG-13 range. Films that may fall outside the PG-13 range will be noted with an asterisk.
Raleigh resident, family man, and undocumented immigrant Miguel Cortes is ordered to leave the United States in “120 days,” but how far will he go to keep his family together and his American dream alive? Click here to watch a trailer.
A Letter to My Son
A would-be father pens a hypothetical letter to his unborn son.
Because No One Else Would
From the wreckage of the Civil War to the rise of America’s tobacco capital, from boom to bust and back again, Because No One Else Would tells the amazing story of the American Tobacco Company and the Durham Renaissance. Click here to see a trailer.
On the first anniversary of a traumatic life changing event, 16-year-old Daisy attempts to get through to her increasingly withdrawn mother. Is her only solace beneath water?
Bragg N East
Inspired by true events, a life shattering tragedy unites two former adversaries in search of answers: a police officer and a gang member, both hardened by years of working the streets. Click here for a trailer.
Death and the Robot
Two lonely souls, bored of their safe havens, venture into new worlds and share an encounter that will nurture a friendship and an everlasting legacy.
Dust of War*
In a post-apocalyptic American frontier, one soldier fends off a brutal warmonger to rescue a girl who is fated to be the savior of humanity.
Clark is a 24-year-old man whose views on relationships are put to the test when his recently widowed mother marries a man his own age.
Danica Cullinan and Neal Hutcheson
First Language: The Race to Save Cherokee
This documentary film follows current efforts of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to preserve their native language, a vessel of knowledge and identity for the Cherokee people. Click here to watch a trailer.
Hugo P. Thomas
Damien recently became a hobo, and he is about to beg in the subway for the first time. But how to beg?
At age 6, Jan was miraculously revived after her body is retrieved from the frozen river that consumed her parents. Now 13, after a lifetime of experiencing visions of others’ pain and suffering, she hopes to intervene on fate and prevent a murder.
An adopted ten year old climbs to the top of an oak tree in hopes of catching his unborn baby brother as he falls from space. Click here to watch the trailer.
Leah confesses her true feelings to Chayse in the school library while unknown malice lurks in the hallways.
Elisabeth Haviland James
In So Many Words
The life of 77-year-old Lucy Daniels is portrayed in abstract relational reenactments and visualizations and animations of her dreams.
Into the Silent Sea
Under desperate circumstances, and across vast distances, an intense connection is made.
I’ve just had a dream
Irene is eight and she just woke up from a horrible dream. Click here to watch a trailer.
Braving the general public’s critical eye, a female graffiti artist reveals her talents and takes us through the struggles she faces in her art form.
Love at First Sight
A shy and lonely young man is not giving up on attracting the attention of his beautiful neighbor.
This is the dramatic story of John Allen Midgett Jr.’s legendary maritime rescue and an analysis of his leadership abilities and legacy.
This biographical story of a high school–aged Elvis Presley in 1953 Memphis features his tender relationship with his loving mother, a devoted teacher, and the senior year talent show that changed everything. Click here to watch a trailer.
Not Anymore: A Story of Revolution*
One story of the Syrian revolution is told through the experiences of two young Syrians: a male rebel fighter and a female journalist, as they fight an oppressive regime for the freedom of their people. Click here to watch a trailer.
Oh Crappy Day
On a blind date with a charming young woman, a film student struggles to keep his OCD tendencies on the down low.
One Armed Man
Oscar-winning writer Horton Foote’s chilling drama features a wealthy cotton gin executive who is confronted by a disgruntled former employee—who is demanding the return of an arm lost in machinery.
One Band Indivisible
The students, heroic parents, and directors of Hillside High School’s charismatic show-style marching band (Durham, North Carolina) show us what it takes to pull together, step out, and make things happen when the pressure is on. Click here to view a trailer.
One man’s silent protest against America’s entry into the first World War led to the deadliest shootout in Arizona history. Click here to watch a trailer.
A routine mission turns into more than Sergeant Joe Townsend and Private Issac Webley intended. Betrayal and deception lead to an unlikely connection between the two strangers.
Something You Can Call Home
With intimacy and touches of dark humor, this film—set in the coastal city of Wilmington, North Carolina—explores what is essential for physical and emotional survival. Click here to view a trailer.
This film noir “essay” involves a lunch break that grows unexpectedly intense.
The Art House
Ginger Westray, a retired teacher, finds her liberty through art. Her house is her canvas.
A soldier’s boots are ready to fight until they see what war does to boots . . .
Ian Michael Gullett
Ava, a bored young girl out shopping with her parents, wanders off in an antique store, then finds herself locked in the shop’s back room. There, she discovers a mysterious door that opens to different places and times. Click here to watch a trailer.
The Doll Dilemma
Years after her mother has passed, Jo feels trapped by an enormous doll collection that was left behind.
The Doughnut Dance
Things take an interesting turn at a cafe when only one doughnut remains.
The Emotional Dimensions of the James River
This experimental film provides an emotional roller coaster experience that was musically and visually designed based on a neuroscience research project that correlates a mathematical parameter (fractal dimension) of sounds and images with the selective triggering of emotional states.
The Road Home
A young gunslinger tries to escape his life of crime by getting back his lost love.
This powerful story details how the past and the present can be connected by one simple item. Click here to watch a trailer.
Two Hours in the Dark
Blindsided by the success of It Happened One Night, a comedy that swept the 1935 Oscars, Frank Capra became a director crippled with fear. Convinced his next film would fail, he deteriorated to the brink of death—until the day a mysterious stranger appeared and changing his life, and his films, forever. Click here to watch a trailer.
Frank Hall Green
Mackenzie, a troubled but daring teenage girl, is sent by her struggling mother to live with her uncle in Juneau, Alaska. Lost, and with no one else to turn to, she begins to shadow a loner backpacker—an unlikely father figure with scars of his own. Together, they cross the wilderness and discover sanctuary in the last frontier.
Despite discouragement from his older brother Luke, an idealistic young boy named Elliot attempts a fanciful form of self-aviation in order to reunite with his deceased father.
ZomRomCom: The Musical!
One. Deadly serious. Love story.
In German, the term zugzwang means having an obligation to move. Life and chess are not so different.