LINCOLNTON – Many well-made films may never make it to the big screen but they are often celebrated at small film festivals like the Micro Film Festival to be held at Gallery 27. And several of the films being shown are made by filmmakers living in the Lincoln County area.
This is the second year that the Micro Film Festival has been held at Gallery 27 and this year there will be two screening dates, the first on Friday, Jan. 11 and the second on Saturday, Jan. 12. The films are all “shorts,” meaning they’re 20 minutes or less in length.
This film festival is the brainchild of local filmmaker Michael Helms.
“Last year was an experiment to gauge the interest in a small film festival in our little town,” Helms said. “It turned out to be a surprising success. We packed the house at Gallery 27. So, this time around we wanted to expand to two evenings and cast a wider net for more film submissions. We feel really good about it. Our hope is to bring awareness to the world of short films and to eventually make short filmmaking an artistic staple in Lincoln County.”
Some of the films being shown have toured throughout other festivals, a few even winning awards, Helms added. Most of them are local to the Piedmont Triad and Charlotte areas.
“We wanted to keep it local so we could bring our filmmakers together for fun interaction and potential collaboration,” said Helms, who is exhibiting one of his films at the festival. “This festival is about putting these local filmmakers together and enjoying the evening. I’m just happy that we’ve garnered an interest in this and hopefully it can catch on and become something.”
Grayson Taylor, 17, is exhibiting his first short film, “Remember the Promise,” which he made after taking a filmmaking class taught by Helms and offered through Gallery 27.
“It was an amazing experience,” Taylor said. “I was lucky to have the opportunity to take the class when so many people my age have to wait years to do anything even close to that. I’ve always been interested in filmmaking and it started with acting. When I was 12 I did my first play with a homeschool group, then I started doing plays with the Lincoln Theatre Guild. That has really been a life-changer for me. Being homeschooled, I don’t always have an opportunity to be around kids my age, so that was a new experience. It helped me get comfortable with speaking with people I don’t know and being more social. Without that experience I probably wouldn’t have done the film class.”
Gallery 27 owner Stacey Smith also took the filmmaking class and helped Taylor with his film.
“Michael had us go through everything from start to finish and the end result was a film,” Smith said. “It was really inspiring to see what we filmed. I’ve never been a part of anything like that. This festival is intended to help bring awareness to local filmmakers. There’s all different types of art forms and that’s what this film fest is about.”
The Micro Film Festival is a free community event, however, tickets will be required to ensure adequate seating. Due to the success of last year’s festival, a second screening date was added. The festival will be held at Gallery 27, at 808 N.C. 27 W. in Lincolnton, and the same films will be shown during both screenings. The screenings will be followed by a discussion with local filmmakers.
Film festival works are intended to show the many ways that film and video can be used as an art form to inform and express. Parents should review the lineup and decide if the films are appropriate for their younger children. A listing of the films being shown is available at Gallery 27’s Facebook page. Tickets can be acquired either through the Facebook page or by visiting the gallery.