By Zach Goins
July 20, 2020
With movie theaters around the country closed and film festivals being canceled left and right, these are dark times for movie lovers. Many are getting desperate, longing to return to the theater, but the last few months haven’t stopped a group of local cinephiles from doing their best to give Charlotte something to look forward to on the big screen.
On Saturday, July 25, Charlotte will kick off the inaugural 1CLT Film Fest, a two-day virtual festival featuring a slate of award-winning short films from both local and international filmmakers. Collectively, the event will include over 20 films.
Tre’ McGriff, CEO and founder of the Charlotte-based CineOdyssey Film Festival, helped organize the event with the help of 11 other local film festivals and organizations. After witnessing Tribeca Enterprises’ online We Are One: A Global Film Festival last month, the group became inspired to give Charlotte its own spin on a virtual film festival.
“As lifelong fans of all types of films, we wanted to create a festival that both celebrates the diversity of Charlotte and our respective organizations,” said McGriff. “My mentor, the late Dennis Darrell (a pioneering Charlotte film promoter), taught me that we cannot live in silos if we want to build and sustain a real film community. There’s strength in community.”
So, McGriff decided to lean on that strength. On July 16– just nine days before the event’s launch date– he and five other local film organizations, Carolina Film Community, Cine Casual, Charlotte Film Festival, CineOdyssey, and Carolina Film Festival, came together on a Zoom call to lay the groundwork for the festival. With an opening on nearly every organization’s schedule for the end of July, the date made the most sense for everyone, despite the limited planning time.
Angel Truesdale of the Charlotte Film Festival compared the group’s decisiveness and quick response to another recent display of art in the Queen City.
“So, can we come together and build community through art?” Truesdale asked. “Hopefully everyone saw the amazing effort that was put into the Black Lives Matter mural on South Tryon Street in Uptown Charlotte. Within 72 hours, Black artists and friends were able to bring a concept to life.”
The festival isn’t just about promoting the short films and sharing a mutual love of cinema, though. It’s also serving as a fundraiser in support of local nonprofits that have made tremendous differences in the Charlotte community through workforce development, arts education for youth, and assisting COVID-19 frontline workers. The online event will be free of charge, but festival attendees will be encouraged to donate generously to a number of foundations, like Creating Exposure Through The Arts and Frontline Food Charlotte. Other nonprofits may also be added to the program prior to the festival.
While this year’s event will be limited due to the extenuating circumstances of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the groups hope to see 1CLT Film Fest extend beyond 2020. The event already has possible future sponsors onboard, and McGriff said he sees the festival having the potential to become a yearly event.
Learn more about 1CLT Film Fest and check out some of the featured short films:
Curated by the Cine Casual Film Series
Nos Vamos Pa’ Paris
Curated by the Carolina Film Community
Buy One. Get One.
The Grounded Astronaut
Curated by the Carolina Film Festival
Guest of Honor
Beyond Us – After the Collapse
Fall of Matador
Curated by the CineOdyssey Film Festival
La Madre Buena (The Good Mother)