Screen scene: Local film news

Filmmaker Richard Breyer in a still from 300 Miles to Freedom

Update: 300 Miles to Freedom is now schedule to screen at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 20, not 5:30 p.m. as originally reported. 

Want to watch a documentary, learn about sustainability or gay rights, or support a local filmmaker? Here’s where to watch, discuss and donate.

• Born a slave in Virginia, John W. Jones fled north in 1844. Following the Underground Railroad, Jones made his way to Elmira, N.Y., where he became a homeowner and the sexton of the town’s First Baptist Church. 300 Miles to Freedom follows Jones’ journey. It screens at UNC Asheville’s Carmichael Humanities Lecture Hall on Friday, March 20, at 7 p.m. Free.

• Queer Youth Movie Night, an event organized by Youth OUTright and PRiSM, launches with a screening of Milk. The film, which stars Sean Penn, tells the story of Harvey Milk — California’s first gay elected official — and his fight for gay rights. Penn won an Oscar for the role. “We’re excited that Hendersonville resident Tony Schlarb will join us to introduce Milk and explain why he believes this is an essential film for queer and allied audiences,” says a press release. The showing takes place in the Patton Auditorium at Blue Ridge Community College in Flat Rock on Friday, March 20, 7-10 p.m. Refreshments are provided; free and open to youths ages 14-23.

• Asheville-based video production company Industrious Productions — the creative team of Rod Murphy, Adams Wood and Francine Cavanaugh — recently won two ADDY awards. Ads “Cheap vs. Frugal” for Frugal Backpacker and “The Map to the Great Outdoors” for Diamond Brand took home gold and silver, respectively, in the best local ad category.

• The Beneath the Waves Film Festival is “a global platform for ocean conservation, education, and discovery,” according to the UNCA Student Environmental Center website. “Our mission is to raise awareness regarding critical marine issues, foster the advancement of science and promote the protection of our oceans.” The event, sponsored by the center and the UNCA Biology Club, takes place at the Carmichael Humanities Lecture Hall on Sunday, March 22, at 6 p.m. Free.

• The second film in the WNC Film Society‘s current season is Shining Night: A Portrait of Composer Morten Lauridsen. The documentary “is a tribute to a living legend, celebrating the life and music of the artist who musicologist Nick Strimple has called ‘the only American composer in history who can be called a mystic,'” according to the Film Society’s website. Held at Grace Center on Tuesday, March 24, at 7 p.m. $12/$10 advance/$5 students.

• UNCA’s biannual Greenfest offers a number of events focused on sustainability. Among them is a screening of Coal Ash Stories, four short documentary films on the toxic impact of coal ash on communities. Emma Greenbaum of the Asheville Beyond Coal Coalition leads a discussion following the viewing. Held at the university’s Highsmith Mountain Suites on Tuesday, March 24, 6-8 p.m. Free.

• Local filmmaker Brian Olson is in the process of making Honduras: The Other Face, which explores regions of the Central American republic, along with innovations of its farmers. The film is told from the perspective of Rolando Lopez, a humanitarian concerned with supporting his impoverished countrymen. “We connect people with resources that would not typically meet in order to help people in areas that need support,” says Olson in an Indiegogo campaign for the project. Olson is offsetting the costs of his documentary by importing Honduran coffee, but he seeks financial contributions for production expenses as well as providing an ambulance and musical instruments to communities featured in the film. Learn more at

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About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall has lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. She is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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