01/16/12 — Film festival launches this weekend at Wayne Community College

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Film festival launches this weekend at Wayne Community College

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on January 16, 2012 1:46 PM

Growing up in a military family, Anita Croasmun's weekends were typically spent at the movie theater.

"You could go to the movies for a nickel," she recalls.

She has parlayed her love of movies -- a celluloid version of the short story -- into Praxis Film Festival, a venue for independent filmmakers to present their work.

The second annual festival will be at Wayne Community College this weekend and is free to the public.

Ms. Croasmun, hired last year as a communications instructor at WCC, said she enjoyed attending other festivals to choose the 14 films that will be shown in Moffatt Auditorium.

"This year we have more films, more shorter films and more from UNC-Wilmington film school," she said. The student films will be featured Saturday at 1 p.m., followed by a panel discussion with the filmmakers.

The event actually kicks off Friday with a reception in the atrium, followed by films from 8 to 10 p.m.

Other showtimes Saturday will be 10-11:45 a.m., 2:45 until 6:30 p.m. and again at 8 p.m.

Right now, it's a "fledgling film festival," but Ms. Croasmun said she hopes it will gain momentum and popularity.

"The goal is to open up the community to art, culture and film, and to open up the campus," she said. "The way that I measure success is through the quality of films that we're showing."

This year's entries come from filmmakers around the world -- including Spain, Israel, Scotland and Argentina.

Fe Finch, languages instructor at WCC, accompanied Ms. Croasmun to a couple of film festivals and helped choose the selections.

"I like things that are different, that would obviously show students a different way of life, a different perspective from the typical North Carolina perspective, just the whole idea of all these people getting together and enjoying films and commenting on them," she said.

It's also an opportunity to display work by independent filmmakers, some as short as three and seven minutes, others 99 minutes in length.

"Some of them are just on a shoestring budget, no money, but they're high quality," Ms. Croasmun said.

"They're made all over the world," Ms. Finch said. "We hardly ever get a chance to watch them. It's the short story version on film."

The films and a brief synopsis are:

* Friday at 8 p.m. "Little Horses," a 17-minute film about the rivalry between Dave, a small town postal worker and his former wife's new boyfriend, resulting in the buying of extravagant gifts for a child's birthday. Dave gets the best pony he can afford -- a blind and deaf one that he stores in a shed behind his trailer. "Five Time Champion," a 92-minute movie from a Texas filmmaker, centers around a teenage boy who envisions life working out as neatly as his science experiments.

* Saturday morning beginning at 10 is "Captain Fork," a 13-minute dark comedy about a father's desire to get out of fatherhood permanently. It is followed by the 99-minute film, "The other 'F' Word," a documentary exploring the punk movement of the '70s and '80s. It features interviews with veteran punk musicians and athletes like Flea, Blink-182's Mark Hoppus and Tony Hawk.

From 2:45-4 p.m. are six short films: "Fresh Skweezed," about an 11-year-old girl who sets up a lemonade stand, a respite to escape absent parents and the neighborhood bully; "Shoot the Moon," about a woman who, facing possible home foreclosure, focuses on a national game show that promises once-in-a-lifetime financial freedom; "Manhattan Melody," a young aspiring actress in New York witnesses a robbery and becomes entangled with its handsome perpetrator; "Cataplexy," story of a man who is literally paralyzed when he feels love; "The Hunter and the Swan Discuss Their Meeting," where a Brooklyn couple has dinner with a hunter and his girlfriend, a magical swan woman, discussing those early, magical first moments of their relationships; and "Un Novio de Mierda," a film from Spain about a girl who receives a visit from her ex after months without seeing him.

Two films will be shown from 4:15 until 6:30 p.m. "Oro Verde," a 15-minute award-winning documentary from Argentina, follows three generations of Ukrainian farmers into their workday on a team farm in Argentina. "Restoration," from Israel, is 105 minutes and follows a triangle of fatherhood ties, love and a 70-year-old businessman holding onto his life's work.

At 8 p.m. is "Caretaker for the Lord," 17 minutes, followed by the 91-minute film "The Wise Kids." The former is the story of a 78-year-old maintenance man for a church, musing about the dying church's future as he mops the floors and changes lightbulbs. The documentary takes a lighthearted look at the secular uses of the church and efforts to keep the building vital.

"Wise Kids," by South Carolina filmmaker Stephen Cone, is a coming-of-age story of a Baptist church community in Charleston.