01/20/13 — WCC to hold annual Praxis Film Festival Friday, Saturday

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WCC to hold annual Praxis Film Festival Friday, Saturday

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on January 20, 2013 1:50 AM

A free film festival planned for next weekend at Wayne Community College has the potential to become a regional event.

"We started this two years ago and I had 75 to come. Last year, we had 150. This year I'm looking to have at least 300," said Jack Kannan, executive director of the WCC Foundation, sponsor of the Praxis Film Festival. "If I am successful at having at least 300, then I'm looking to make this a regional film festival.

"I have already been talking to Lenoir and Johnston community colleges and the next move after we fill up Moffatt (Auditorium) is to ask the Paramount to come in."

His five-year plan is to expand the festival to draw patrons to the area, he said.

In the meantime, it remains the Foundation's gift to the community. There is no charge for admission, except for the purchase of popcorn and snacks sold during intermission, in keeping with the theater atmosphere, Kannan said.

The Friday evening/Saturday venue is an opportunity for independent filmmakers to present their work to the public. This year's schedule features 21 films of varying lengths, seven from student filmmakers and 14 from professionals.

"Praxis," Kannan explained, refers to the "art of practicing" and for the independent filmmakers, there can be no better outlet than providing a screen on which to present their work.

With the success of film festivals of the magnitude of Robert Redford at "Sundance," the WCC effort may be lesser known but nevertheless a great opportunity for the creative.

"These are the wanna-be's," Kannan said. "We're not Robert Redford but we can at least start."

In addition to choosing an impressive lineup this year -- the bulk gleaned by Anita Croasmun of Raleigh, in her third year as director of the festival, and Fe Finch, from WCC -- several of the student filmmakers from UNC-Wilmington will be on hand to discuss their work. Kannan said in the future, he hopes to also bring in some of the producers.

"North Carolina's the second, outside of Hollywood -- Wilmington is the second most movie-making venue around," he said. "We're trying to connect the dots.

"So if the public supports it, will we continue? You better believe it. Will it get better? It can only get better."


The event kicks off Friday evening with an opening night reception at 7 p.m.

Two films will be shown, starting at 8 p.m.

* "O.V.N.I.," a 6-minute film from France, is the story of Marianne as she walks the streets of the city, sinking slowly into madness, passing from anxiety to paranoia, from schizophrenia to megalomania.

* "Kings of Pastry" is an 84-minute film from New York, described as the "culinary "Hurt Locker." It follows the exploits of a pastor chef who travels back to his childhood home in France to prepare for a competition.

Saturday's lineup starts at 10 a.m. and runs into the evening, and includes a short panel discussion with some of the student filmmakers. The schedule and a brief synopsis of each movie follows:

* "House," from a German director, a 4-minute movie depicting generations of a generous family welcoming guests to their lavish home. Then one guest arrives with a different plan in mind.

* "¡Vivan las Antipodas!" is also from Germany. The 104-minute documentary portrays four regions of the earth that are diametrically opposite, yet mythically connected.


After a break for lunch at noon, the festival resumes at 1 p.m. with several of the student filmmakers answering questions about their work, followed by an hour of short films from North Carolina directors.

* "Play Day," a 7-minute documentary on the alternative pre-school education at the School of Learning Arts.

* "In India," a 2-minute series of still images set to a soundscape.

* "Indeterminate Electro-Phenomena," a 2-minute silent, real-time performance of "video-piano."

* "Baptism," an experimental 3-minute film about unifying humanity.

* "Illusions of Grandeur," an 8-minute film about Mangus, a not-so-magnificent magician with dreams of the perfect magic trick to impress his tiny village.

* "Rheum," an 11-minute film from Kentucky, invites the audience to determine who is sleeping, the main character or others around her.

At 2:15 p.m. "Paul," a film from Israel, covers the aftermath of a break-up. The main character's life is worsened by the burglary of his rented apartment, forcing him to investigate the underworld of Tel Aviv.


The afternoon session continues from 3 to 6 p.m.

* "Irish Folk Furniture,"an 8-minute film from Ireland, explores the domestic and agricultural reason for the 500-year survival of local furniture making, repair and recycling.

* "Zeinek Gehiago Iraun" is a 12-minute entry from Spain about how a dangerous children's game disrupts the lives of Ander and his family forever.

* "In Passing," 13-minute Brazilian film, features the challenges of Abel, a narcoleptic, who attempts to distinguish dreams from reality.

* "Crescendo" covers a series of events in the 18th Century Holy Roman Empire, when a woman's extraordinary experience transforms an ordinary day. The 10-minute film is from a Los Angeles director.

* "Aunt Louisa" is a 15-minute movie submitted from New York, about a young man living in Manhattan. When his very weird aunt from the country visits unexpectedly, she arrives with a cryptic message.

* "Cataplexy" -- Sidney Sanders is literally paralyzed when he feels love, opting to rely on impersonal encounters to meet his needs. That works until an anonymous paramour turns out to be an old friend. From Los Angeles director John Salcido, the film is 7 minutes in length.

* "Pen Pal," a dark comedy about a 13-year-old who joins a prisoner pen pal ministry to fill the gap her best friend left when she got a boyfriend.

* "Exit Elena," 72 minutes in length, is the story of 19-year-old Elena, who takes a job as a live-in aide, finding herself thrust into the middle of a family in crisis.


After a break from 6 to 8 p.m., the festival concludes with two films starting at 8 p.m.

* "Henley" is about a 9-year-old who collects roadkill to earn his sparse allowance. When his father's motel cash register starts to run dry, he begins collecting bigger game. The 11-minute film comes from New York director, Craig Macneill.


The final presentation has not only North Carolina but also Goldsboro ties.

The 95-minute movie, "Jimmy," was directed by Mark Freiburger and written and produced by Gary Wheeler.

Wheeler is based in the Boone area and has his own film company, Level Path, with his wife, the former Jodie Sutton from Goldsboro.

He has also produced and directed limited-release movies, "The Trial" and "The List," and directed "The Heart of Christmas," a TV movie in 2011.

Shot in North Carolina and based on the novel by best-selling author Robert Whitlow, "Jimmy" is a story about a boy others think is "slow" but has an uncanny ability to see and hear, which is why his attorney father asks him to testify in a criminal trial.

For more information on the Praxis Film Festival, visit the link on the WCC website, www.waynecc.edu.