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Movie Missives

What's new on the local cinema scene

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The Light Factory will no longer simply be booking and promoting regional films but will also begin encouraging Charlotteans to make their own motion pictures. In an ambitious move, the venue will start offering a number of film classes this summer in an effort to get local movie fans to better appreciate and understand the different facets of moviemaking and even try their hand at creating their own slice of cinema. One of the courses being offered is "Digital Video Crash Camp" (Saturdays and Sundays, May 31, June 1, 7 & 8, with another class to be held October 11, 12, 18 & 19), which will provide students with access to professional equipment and instruction from veteran moviemakers that will allow them to make their own short films. Cost is $400 members and $450 nonmembers. Another course will be "Film Criticism" (Thursdays, July 10-31), which will be taught by my friend and colleague Lon Bumgarner, currently the film reviewer for Charlotte Theatre Magazine. The movies that Bumgarner will have his class analyze are Rear Window (an excellent choice), Amelie (a fine selection) and Signs (uh, say what, Lon?). Cost is $80 members and $100 nonmembers. For a complete schedule of courses, call 704-333-9755 or go online to www.lightfactory.org.

The Main Library recently announced this year's theme for its annual summer movie program. When Cult Films Attack!!!! will offer a wide range of motion pictures that have developed cult followings over the years. The series will include the likes of Terry Gilliam's Brazil, John Carpenter's Assault On Precinct 13 and Charles Laughton's Night of the Hunter. And while there's no Rocky Horror Picture Show, there's another rollicking 70s musical that's even better: Allan Arkush's Rock "n' Roll High School, featuring The Ramones. The series will run Mondays July 14-September 8; most movies start at 7pm, although a couple of the longer ones will commence at 6:45pm. For a complete schedule, call 704-336-2020.

The Charlotte Film Society has unveiled its Second Week/Second Chance film series lineup for the months of June, July and August. Among the buzz-heavy titles being presented are David Cronenberg's Spider, starring Ralph Fiennes and Miranda Richardson; the Oscar Shorts Series, featuring this year's winners and nominees; Russian Ark, which has been internationally praised for having been filmed in one long, continuous take; and the restored version of Fritz Lang's silent-era masterpiece Metropolis. For a complete list of titles, or for CFS membership information, call 704-414-2355 or go online to http://charlottefilmsociety.com.

Entries are presently being accepted for two Carolina film festivals. The Seventh Annual Colossal Film Crawl in Columbia, SC, seeks films and videos with a running time of 30 minutes or less for its fall festival. All types of genres and subject matter are welcome; entry fee is $10 before the June 27 deadline, and $20 for late entries. For details, call Amanda Presley at 803-765-0707, ext. 122. Meanwhile, Colored Pictures, a short film festival by and about filmmakers of color, also seeks films no longer than 30 minutes and in all types of genres for its July 11 event in Durham. Entry fee is $10, and deadline is May 30. For more information, go online to ColoredPictures.com.

The Wilmington-based Working Films, co-founded by former Mint Museum film curator and Charlotte Film & Video Festival coordinator Robert West, recently received a $250,000 grant from the Ford Foundation to support a community engagement tour for its film Two Towns of Jasper, an intriguing documentary about the racist murder of James Byrd Jr. in 1999. Jasper aired on PBS this past January and was screened locally last year as part of the Light Factory's Factory Films Series.

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