A&E roundup: Locally produced short film debuts at two festivals

PHOTO SYNTHESIS: "com•pas•sion” writer/director Jeff Corpening, left, and director of photography Brad Hoover, center, collaborate on the film's set. The short work will debut at a pair of virtual film festivals over the next month. Photo by Soren Candell

Asheville-based filmmaker Jeff Corpening’s original short com•pas•sion will have its premiere as part of the 12th annual Burbank International Film Festival, which has pivoted to an online presentation. The three-part anthology movie, which the writer/director describes as “focused on redefining compassion to include taking action,” is part of BIFF’s Short Film Block 6, which becomes available Friday, Sept. 11. Tickets are available at avl.mx/83q.

The film will then screen during the eighth annual Raleigh Film and Art Festival, Friday, Oct. 2-Sunday, Oct. 4, likewise online. The North Carolina festival is free to virtually attend, though registration is required at avl.mx/83r.

“The word ‘compassion’ is defined as a type of empathy, or pity, but it shouldn’t simply be a passive emotion,” Corpening says. “‘Compassion’ should be a word of action — action taken based on one’s empathy, which results from the knowledge of suffering. It needs to be an act of kindness and caring, and I hope to help redefine the word so we can raise our expectations.”

com•pas•sion was filmed in Asheville, Brevard, Arden and Bryson City from 2018-20. The movie stars Lavin Cuddihee, Camila Escobar, Victor Hough, Emily Tynan McDaniel, Alina Strauss and additional regional talent. corpeningmedia.com

Bunny business

Rabbit Rabbit is operational as of Aug. 27. The open-air event space, a joint venture between Asheville Pizza & Brewing Co. (whose Coxe Avenue location is next door) and The Orange Peel, was set to debut in early June with shows featuring Andrew Bird and Iron & Wine and Calexico (June 10) and Vampire Weekend (June 12), but had its opening delayed due to pandemic-related restrictions. The lone major concert on the schedule is Australian rock band King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard on Oct. 25, 2021, but outdoor movie screenings and small evening concerts will be announced over the next week or two.

The colorful, spacious venue is open Monday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Food from AVL Taco Co. and various cocktails and local beers are available to purchase. For the time being, parties are limited to no more than six people, and masks must be worn to enter and kept on at all times when not seated at one’s table, which customers are encouraged to reserve via the Open Table platform. Limited walk-up spaces are also available. rabbitrabbitavl.com

Quantitative impact

The Asheville Area Arts Council’s Buncombe County Arts Business Impact Survey finds that arts businesses in Asheville, Black Mountain, Weaverville and in between have experienced an $18.7 million loss in revenue since March. Over 100 of the estimated 500-plus arts entities that existed in the county prior to the pandemic participated in the survey, with 69.5% of responses coming from for-profit businesses and 30.5% from nonprofit arts organizations.

Other findings from the survey include that out of 806 jobs, 70% have been lost or furloughed; 16.2% of businesses have yet to open in any capacity; and 17.1% are still unable to bring in any revenue. In addition, 24.7% have received aid from Paycheck Protection Program loans and 22.1% were awarded Buncombe County Tourism Jobs Recovery Fund grants. Of those that have reopened, 77.4% report having little to no trouble with patrons wearing masks and social distancing. Full findings are available at ashevillearts.com.

Prolific profiler

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, local drummer Jon Lauterer has been profiling notable artists from the WNC music scene via his podcast, “The Asheville Sound.” Each week, he publishes multiple in-depth phone interviews, discussing “current events, adapting to a new way of life, streaming live concerts, the creative process” and concludes the conversations with “the showcasing of choice original tunes.”

Guests have thus far included Mike Savino (Tall Tall Trees), Claude Coleman Jr. (Ween), Ashley Heath, Seth Kaufman (Floating Action), Andrew Scotchie, The Moon and You, Shane Parish, Daniel Shearin (River Whyless), CaroMia Tiller, Amanda Anne Platt, Lo Wolf, The Get Right Band, Jamar Woods (The Fritz) and Molly Rose Reed. Episodes are available on Spotify, Anchor.fm and Apple Podcasts. WPMV 103.7 also broadcasts episodes each Wednesday at 5 p.m. anchor.fm/the-asheville-sound

Auxiliary tunes

While many of the Asheville-area musicians featured on “The Asheville Soun”d have released new albums during quarantine, numerous other artists also continue to share fresh collections. Among those with recent material out in the world are Taino/Cherokee musician Akitchitay, whose full-length We Are Calling features log drums made by the Indigenous artist; The Maggie Valley Band with its latest “dark Appalachian” work, the EP Something New Vol. 1; and guitarist/vocalist Ryan Sullivan, who describes his album Finally as “full of variety with lots of references to today’s political environment.”

Also in the mix are folk rock singer/songwriter Jim Swayzee, whose Paddle to the Moon features fellow locals Debrissa McKinney (backing vocals) and Taylor Pierson (keys), and is summed up by its creator as “mostly ballads produced to convey a dreamlike state.” And A Country of the Mind by Poor Horse, the one-man project of Waynesville-based Speedy Greenawalt, who plays guitar, keyboards and percussion on the album. In his words, he also sings about “themes of domesticity and restlessness, love and anxiety, and freedom and confinement, while pulling on a wide array of influences, including Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Wilco, The Beatles and Pavement.”


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About Edwin Arnaudin
Edwin Arnaudin is a staff writer for Mountain Xpress. He also reviews films for ashevillemovies.com and is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA) and North Carolina Film Critics Association (NCFCA). Follow me @EdwinArnaudin

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