Screen scene: Local film news

A group of film and theater students from Western Carolina University has launched a Kickstarter campaign for its film "Up the Hill."

• Asheville’s Mechanical Eye Microcinema invites all interested parties to share their short films and videos with a live audience. The free open screening takes place at The BeBe Theatre on Tuesday, May 19, at 8 p.m.

All genres and styles are welcome and can be new, old or a work in progress. Submissions may be no more than 10 minutes in length and should be received by Sunday, May 17, but may also be brought in the day of the show on a first-come, first-served basis and as time allows. Accepted formats are DVD, QuickTime or MPEG file, 16mm and Super 8.

A short discussion will follow each work, allowing filmmakers a chance to gather feedback from attendees. Email to register.

• The investigative documentary Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret returns to Asheville for a screening at Carmike 10 on Wednesday, May 20, at 7:30 p.m. Directed by Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn, the film follows Anderson as he delves into the animal agriculture industry and why the planet’s leading environmental organizations are hesitant to address the major cause of numerous environmental ills.

As Andersen approaches leaders of such activist groups as the Sierra Club and Surfrider Foundation, he increasingly uncovers what appears to be an intentional refusal to discuss the issue of animal agriculture. Meanwhile, industry whistleblowers and watchdogs warn him of the risks to his freedom and even his life if he continues to dig.

Cowspiracy includes interviews with authors Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma), Dr. Richard Oppenlander (Food Choice and Sustainability), Dr. Will Tuttle (The World Peace Diet), Will Potter (Green Is the New Red), animal activist Howard Lyman and Greenpeace Alaska founder Will Anderson. The film lasts 90 minutes, and tickets are $12, but since it is an independently sourced event through the website Tugg, 78 people must reserve a seat online by Wednesday, May 13, at 7:30 p.m. for the screening to happen.

• A group of film and theater students from Western Carolina University has launched a Kickstarter campaign for its film Up the Hill. Principal photography will take place in Cullowhee with plans to utilize other locations throughout Western North Carolina.

According to the Kickstarter page, the dark romantic comedy short film is “about Jack (Cory Phelps), a drug addicted loner, and Jill (Sarah Luckadoo), an optimistic vegan call girl who also happens to be a pastor’s daughter. When Jack incidentally saves Jill from the clutches of an overly aggressive client, he gains Jill’s attention and unwanted interference in his life.”

The cast and crew have set a $5,000 goal as the bare minimum needed to make Up the Hill a reality with enough left over to submit the film to various festivals. The campaign ends the evening of Saturday, June 6, and backer rewards include a signed prop from the film, a personal photo shoot from writer/director Jesse Allard and a handmade print inspired by the film from producer/director of photography Abigail

About Edwin Arnaudin
Edwin Arnaudin is a staff writer for Mountain Xpress. He also reviews films for 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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