The N.C. Film Critics Association has named Minari the best narrative film of 2020. Lee Isaac Chung’s ’80s-set drama about a Korean family attempting to start a farm in Arkansas also earned the best original screenplay award for Chung and best supporting actress for Youn Yuh-jung. In addition, co-star Will Patton, who attended the N.C. School of the Arts, received the Ken Hanke Memorial Tar Heel Award. The prize is named in honor of the late Xpress film critic and recognizes a film or performer with a special connection to North Carolina.
The remaining three awards for performing went to Frances McDormand (Nomadland) for best actress, Delroy Lindo (Da 5 Bloods) for best actor and Sacha Baron Cohen (The Trial of the Chicago 7) for best supporting actor. Other winners include Chloé Zhao (Nomadland) for best director and best adapted screenplay; Joshua James Richards (Nomadland) for best cinematography; Tenet for best special effects; Soul for best animated film and best music; Another Round for best foreign language film; and Dick Johnson Is Dead for best documentary film. The 4K Blu-ray release of The Lord of the Rings trilogy was awarded the inaugural best restoration prize. ncfilmcritics.org
Flat Rock Playhouse’s Studio 52 is offering an array of virtual classes this winter. Courses are designed for artists ages 5 and older, and will be taught by theater professionals and playhouse alums, aka Vagabonds.
Elementary-age artists can explore improvisation, characterization, costume design and musical theater; middle school and high school students can take acting, musical theater, Broadway dance, audition preparation and acting for the camera classes; and adults can join Playhouse scenic designer Dennis C. Maulden to learn the process of designing a show or study acting basics with Bill Muñoz. The semester begins the week of Monday, Jan. 25, and runs for nine weeks. frpstudio52.org
The singing journalist
Asheville-based musician/reporter Jonathan Ammons releases American Splendor on Friday, Jan. 15. The former Xpress contributor spent the last year and a half writing and recording the album, on which he plays every instrument used in the 10 genre-bending songs, with an assist from area violinist Olivia Springer.
“It is largely a record of stories based on conversations I have had through interviews for local publications, radio shows or podcasts,” Ammons says. “All everyday stories from everyday Americans struggling to achieve that American dream.” jonathanammons.bandcamp.com
In honor of Carl Sandburg’s Jan. 6 birthday, the Carl Sandburg Home in Flat Rock invites storytellers to submit a five-minute video of them reading a true story. Works should reflect the theme of “seasons,” such as nature’s change of seasons, a story from a favorite season or the seasons of life. A panel of judges will award a $100 first prize, $75 second prize and $50 third prize, and all storytellers will receive a small thank-you gift for participating. Submissions are due by Friday, Jan. 22. Videos will be posted on the Sandburg Home’s Facebook page Wednesday, Jan. 27-Friday, Jan. 29, and the winners will be announced on Saturday, Jan. 30, at 10 a.m. nps.gov/carl/planyourvisit/slam.htm
Smoky Mountain arts stroll
Artists with studios in Haywood County are invited to participate in the annual Haywood County Studio Tour. Applications are due by Friday, Feb. 5, and the free, self-guided tours will take place Saturday, June 26, and Sunday, June 27.
Studio artists may choose to open their workspaces to the public or join with another studio host. The Haywood County Arts Council will act as a liaison between artists needing a host site and studios that have space for additional artists. haywoodarts.org