Filmmakers and movie buffs turn out for first film festival

Published 7:35 pm Monday, April 17, 2017

The doors to the Turnage Theatre opened Friday night to movie buffs. They weren’t the average moviegoers. Instead, among their number were filmmakers and their friends and family, there to watch their movies on the big screen.

The inaugural Glass Tulip Film Festival, held April 15-16, was a success, according to Arts of the Pamlico organizers.

“We weren’t sure having it on a holiday weekend and it being our first, how it was going to go, but we wanted to start small,” said Debra Torrence, executive director. “It went really smoothly.”

A crowd of approximately 70 people attended the opening night reception and the screening of Best Film winner “After Yesterday,” a short film by student filmmaker Andrew Brewster that explores the growing complexities of a relationship between a grandfather with dementia and his granddaughter.

“It was just beautifully shot,” Torrence said. “This kid has so much talent: his screen shots, his logic through it all. It’s just beautifully done.”

The Friday night participants came back for a second round of movies on Saturday, including the filmmaking crew from Northside High School that submitted its film “Love at Second Sight” into the Glass Tulip festival. Torrence said the smaller affair and the pace of film screenings promoted interaction between the students, other filmmakers and the audience.

“I think for (the students), they really got an experience seeing and talking with filmmakers. I think it was a really good eye-opener for kids in our community,” Torrence said.

Torrence credits the community feel of Glass Tulip to coordinator Crystal Holman, who, as a finishing touch, made sure all the out-of-town filmmakers and their families were given welcome kits that included general information about the town, coupons for downtown businesses and more.

Torrence celebrated that AOP broke even on the festival, even with modest submission fees for films and $5 tickets that bought entrance to both days of movie viewing. With the feedback AOP has received from several filmmakers, Torrence sees a growing movement for film events.

In a review of the festival, Best Film winner Brewster wrote, “We were honored to receive the award for Best Film this year for our short, After Yesterday. Though, even without that recognition, this is a great new festival. It’s small (for now), but it’s an amazing venue and this year had a great atmosphere with several high quality films from across the state. Hospitality was top notch and Washington, NC is a beautiful little town. Every non-professional filmmaker in NC needs to submit and attend Glass Tulip!”

As fall, and another film festival — this one open to student and independent filmmakers from across the world — approaches, Torrence sees the interest, as well as future ways for AOP to encourage interest in the genre, such as a screenwriting contest.

“My hope is that this will start feeding or creating more of a film presence,” she said.