Around town: Cat Fly Film Fest returns with live events

CINEMA SHOWCASE: Brittany Jackson, left, and Madeleine Richardson founded the Cat Fly Film Fest in 2017 because “there was no true platform for up-and-coming filmmakers of the area,” Richardson says. The festival returns Thursday-Sunday, Aug. 26-29, at various venues around town. Photo courtesy of the Cat Fly Film Fest

Asheville’s reputation as a place to make movies took a hit when state legislators revamped North Carolina’s tax incentives program in 2014. The organizers of the Cat Fly Film Fest hope to remedy that by showcasing the work of local indie filmmakers.

“Asheville is still a great place to make movies,” says Brittany Jackson, programming director and co-founder of the festival. “There’s a lot of potential here for Asheville to be a hub of activity for the film industry. What we lack currently is funding and the opportunity to have our needs met as humans.”

After last year’s virtual event, the fifth annual indie film festival returns to in-person gatherings, Thursday-Sunday, Aug. 26-29. Participating venues include Fleetwood’s, The Orange Peel, Grail Moviehouse and the Asheville School of Film. Masks will be required at all happenings regardless of vaccination status.

Cat Fly will include more than 25 short films, two feature films and educational components (including a low-budget monster special-effects class), social mixers and multimedia collaborations by local and regional filmmakers and performers.

“I always hope that filmmakers from this area will meet each other and become future collaborators, further strengthening the creative community we have in the Southeast,” says Madeleine Richardson, the festival’s creative director and co-founder. “For general audience members, I hope to share stories that resonate and break apart the stereotypes of the South we often see portrayed in movies made on the West Coast.”

The four-day format is a first, expanded from three days in past years, and organizers have scheduled two days of workshops instead of one. Additionally, the fest has added a Bring Your Own Film event, “basically an open mic for filmmakers,” Jackson says.

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Fringe benefits

The next Asheville Fringe Arts Festival won’t be until January, but people can get a sneak preview of some works in progress during upcoming Fringe Summer Nights.

The shows will be Wednesday, Aug. 25, at Sly Grog Lounge, 271 Haywood St., and Wednesday, Sept. 8, at Fleetwood’s, 496 Haywood Road. Doors open at 7:30 both nights.

“The series is a chance for fringe performers to try out new ideas, for artists and audience members to reconnect and catch up,” says Alli Marshall, a festival board member and one of the performers at the Aug. 25 show.

The Asheville Fringe Arts Festival began in 2003 and includes dance, installation, spoken-word, music, theater, comedy, puppets, film, burlesque and more. “There’s often an element of experimentation or pushing boundaries,” Marshall says.

During the Aug. 25 performance, for instance, Marshall will be performing four of the 10 vignettes of The Top Ten Superpowers of All Time with musician Ryan Glass. Marshall wrote the poems; Glass composed the music.

“The spoken-word pieces play with the idea of superheroes and superpowers in relation to being human and fallible,” Marshall explains. “So, for example, the theme of invisibility correlates to how many of us feel invisible in our lives. The theme of superstrength correlates to how many of us feel we carry the weight of the world on our shoulders.”

Also at the Aug. 25 show, Amanda Levesque and Tom Kilby will perform a movement piece, and Toybox Theatre will be showcasing puppetry. On Sept. 8, Katie Jones will perform her original theater work The Marvelous Martha Monday, which she says is “about my great-great grandmother, who became a family legend after running away with the circus as a teenager.” Asheville Contemporary Dance Theatre also will take the stage.

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All that jazz

Greenville, S.C.-based jazz musician Shannon Hoover will provide the soundtrack for Downtown Hendersonville’s Coolest Happier Hour, taking place Thursday, Aug. 26, 6-8 p.m.

The Shannon Hoover Trio will perform at the Center for Arts & Entertainment, 125 S. Main St. In addition to live jazz, those who attend can purchase wine, craft beer and snacks from the event’s charcuterie bar.

Hoover is a multi-instrumentalist, composer and the founder of The Greenville Jazz Collective. He plays a variety of styles, including jazz, classical and world music, and has played with such legendary artists as Branford Marsalis, Dionne WarwickRoy “Futureman” Wooten and Clarence Clemons.

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Making history

UNC Asheville’s Darin Waters has been appointed deputy secretary for archives and history at the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. The appointment was announced by D. Reid Wilson, secretary of the department.

Waters concluded his role as associate professor of history and the executive director of UNCA’s Office of Community Engagement on Aug. 23. Waters taught courses in American, North Carolina, Appalachian, African American and Brazilian history. He also specializes in the history of race relations in the U.S. and Latin America, notes a press release from UNCA.

He will begin his new role on Tuesday, Sept. 7, which will include serving as North Carolina’s state historian, overseeing the N.C. Historical Resources Commission as well as the state’s 27 historical sites, including the Thomas Wolfe Memorial in Asheville.

“Darin’s experience and expertise in both North Carolina history and community engagement will accelerate our efforts to provide more comprehensive stories of the people, places and events that have shaped the state we live in today,” Wilson stated in a press release.

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Shows delayed

Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre, which reopened to live audiences in June after more than a year, has postponed its fall production of Milestones until 2022 due to surging COVID-19 numbers. The two-act dramedy by Gale Gooch Alexander was scheduled to run Sept. 30-Oct. 17.

“The safety of all patrons and staff is at the forefront of all decisions made when postponing or rescheduling programing,” the Mars Hill theater said in a press release. SART officials have started the process of contacting people who already bought tickets.

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Traditional music boost

The Community Foundation of Henderson County recently awarded The Will & Deni McIntyre Foundation a $15,000 grant to help fund the sixth season of “David Holt’s State of Music,” an Emmy-nominated PBS series.

The show features music from emerging and veteran performers in Southern Appalachia. It is shot on location in North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and South Carolina.

“The traditional music of this region is a treasure we’re privileged to share,” Asheville’s Holt said in a press release. “Whether it’s bluegrass, gospel, a string band or the blues, the artists we feature are performing at the very highest level. We’re proud to shine a light on these deserving musicians.”

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About Justin McGuire
Justin McGuire is a UNC Chapel Hill graduate with more than 30 years of experience as a writer and editor. His work has appeared in The Sporting News, the (Rock Hill, SC) Herald and various other publications. Follow me @jmcguireMLB

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