Charlotte isn’t a great place to be if you are a film buff (especially since the takeover of all independent theaters by Regal). Many notable independent films and documentaries never play in town, and we never get to see them unless and until they are released on DVD.
It is in that context that our frequent contributor Jeff Jackson started the Noda Film Festival in early 2006. Starting with African-American Film, in 2 years’ time we were treated to seven exciting and different fares, which became popular far beyond the imagination of the founder. But then it also fell victim to the same affliction that many such non-profit grassroots ventures suffer from in this town — as the attendance kept rising, the funding and volunteer help kept dropping, until finally the series was put on hold.
So it is great news that the festival is returning this weekend after a hiatus of nearly 2 years. The reborn NoDa Film Festival won’t be a “festival” in the conventional sense, but a series made up of a single special film shown every few months. The first one would be this Sunday (April 25), and it will start with a (literal) bang with the legendary and controversial 1966 French war film, The Battle of Algiers — a movie that won three Oscar nominations including the Best Director, pretty rare feat for a foreign language film even now, and extremely unusual then. Banned in France soon after its release, it soon became one of the most influential movies of all time. This realistic recreation of a historic insurgency apparently became a must-see for all rebel/guerilla groups around the world, from the Black Panthers, the IRA and the Baader-Meinhof Group, to the more recent and dangerous ones like some of the Al-Qaeda factions. It also became a valuable lesson for those who fight such insurgencies, as the Pentagon screened it in 2003 in connection to the Iraq war. (Watch the trailer here.)
The new series of Noda Film Festival is done in collaboration with God City — perhaps the most promising and exciting young artists’ collective of this region — and The Light Factory, the premier film and photography institution in town. The festival, however, still seeks and needs your support beyond attendance. Get in touch with them if you can volunteer or help in any other way. It’s in all our interests to keep it going.