A group of committed, creative people could make a new, thriving Asheville Film Festival

The Asheville Film Festival can indeed survive with private support ["A Moving Picture", July 7, Xpress], as the Singapore International Film Festival has for 23 years. It was started by a small group of dedicated individuals who recognized that government funding would be difficult to obtain and would inevitably constrain the festival's scope. It soon gained both local and foreign support and today is arguably the foremost annual film event in Asia — all with private funding.

If this can be done in a small city-state with a history of censorship and heavy constraints on public discourse, it can surely be done in creative, freewheeling Asheville. The requirements are a similar small group of dedicated people with a broad, international perspective, some imaginative corporate sponsorship and public support.

The city of Asheville and the region will gain immensely without using scarce resources that, understandably, need to be directed elsewhere.

— Richard Pigossi

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3 thoughts on “A group of committed, creative people could make a new, thriving Asheville Film Festival

  1. Bob Pest

    My wife and I recently bough a second home in Waynesville, so I have been carefully folowing the film festival issue. We are the founders and operators of the Ozark Foothills FilmFest in Arkansas. We celebrate our 10th anniversary in March 2011. Our organization is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit. With a very few exceptions, festivals that thrive are led by people who understand non-profit culture and can start and run a non-profit. Our festival takes place in Batesville, Arkansas, a town about the size of Waynesville. The festival is small in comparison with Austin or Nashville; however, we have been steadily funded by the NEA, our state arts council, our state humanities council, AMPAS, Namac (National Alliance for media Arts and Culture, and a number of foundations. We were featured in the NEA Annual Report a few years back and selected one of the Top 20 Southeast Tourism Events for March 2010.

    The discussion I have been following about the Asheville festival suggests that the only options are government run (always a bad idea for the arts) and some kind of private, entrepreneurial approach (usually collapses when the organizers find out what a festival actually costs and brings in.)

    We bought a home in WNC because of the vital cultural scene (and the restaurants). I am surprised that the non-profit approach hasn’t been discussed. It works everywhere else–even in a small rural community in Arkansas.

    Whatever happens, I wish everyone involved great success. I’m looking forward to lots of great films, panels, guest speakers, and surprises.

    Bob Pest

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