The Tryon International Film Festival is only in its second year, but director of media services Kirk Gollwitzer already has big plans in mind as its reputation grows. “We want to be known as ‘Tryon,’” he says. “A single name, like Sundance or Tribeca.”
The 2016 installment of the festival takes place Friday, Oct. 7, through Sunday, Oct. 9, at the Tryon Fine Arts Center, Tryon Theater and Tryon Depot. It continues the town’s rich film tradition. Gollwitzer says David Niven used to spend time in Polk County, as did occasional screenwriter F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sherlock Holmes stage actor William Gillette and Kenneth Lackey, one of the original Three Stooges.
Selections for this year’s festival include the music documentary American Epic, executive produced by T Bone Burnett, Jack White and Robert Redford; and the narrative feature Hate Crime, starring Redford’s daughter, Amy. Fellow second-generation artist Cecilia Peck, daughter of Gregory, also has her documentary, Brave Miss World, in competition.
Regional topics and filmmakers are also represented throughout the weekend. The documentary 32-0 chronicles the undefeated run of Rutherfordton-based R.S. Central High School’s men’s basketball team in 1980, while Hendersonville director David Weintraub’s Come Hell or High Water examines Western North Carolina’s great flood of 1916.
True to its name, the festival is indeed an international event as films from the United Kingdom, Kazakhstan, India, Portugal, Spain, France, Iran, Israel and Poland will be screened. Gollwitzer credits an exponential increase in the festival’s name recognition for the rise in global entries. He and his selection committee were contacted by interested filmmakers this year just as much as they actively recruited submissions.
Closing out the festival on Oct. 9, awards will be given in the categories of top Feature Film, Short Film, Documentary and Student Film as well as the Best Overall entry and Best Human Right & Dignity Film. Ticket options range from $20 one-day passes to a VIP all-access pass that includes access to galas on Oct. 7 and 8 and all films for $90. tryoninternationalfilmfestival.com