While Wilmington remains well-known for the high-profile television shows and films that shoot across town, a significant number of independent projects find their footing here as well. Such independent projects feature an unparalled passion, and become innovative in the ways they achieve a sleek look on a low budget. These filmmakers seek to create for the sake of creating rather than for the promise of a pay check. Local filmmaker Brannigan Carter exemplifies these qualities.
Carter will premiere two original short films on Tuesday, October 15th, at Ziggy’s by the Sea. Free to all, the event will showcase “Get Up”—a film he co-wrote, filmed, and edited—and “Southern Iron,” which he filmed and edited.
Carter discovered his passion for film while deployed in Iraq. “[While there] I made this little music video for a Metallica song and everybody loved it,” Carter elaborates. “They said, ‘You should do this for the rest of your life,’ and I said, ‘OK’!”
However, his talent was brewing long before he even discovered it. “I remember when I was little and I made films with my little GI Joes and cars,” Carter recalls. “That was before I realized I even liked movies like that. I was doing cinematography before I even knew what that was.”
Since he began fostering his talent in film, Carter hasn’t looked back. Working a full-time job, as well as being a full-time student and part of the military, he typically finds himself spread thin. Still, a packed schedule never interferes with his ability to produce quality work.
While Carter’s ambition certainly aids his success, he largely attributes his work ethics and virtues to the generosity of the Cape Fear community. All of his films feature actors who work for free. Cast member Joseph Pichowsky once even turned down a paid job to do a film for Carter.
“[He and partner Tina Edwards] end up working with a lot of the same actors,” says Carter. “We work with them in one thing and end up writing parts for them in something else. We get lucky; I’ll cast people without even auditioning them and they turn out to be excellent.”
He also gets to shoot at a number of locations for free. Carter mentions how local businesses allow him to use their facilities. “I couldn’t imagine that happening in any other town,” he explains. “They would all want you to pay. There’s no way you could do that in LA.”
“Get Up,” Carter and Edward’s personal project, is slated to start the festival circuit after its Wilmington premiere. He hopes to enter the short in Austin’s SXSW and Utah’s independent film showcase, Slamdance.
“Get Up” started as a one-minute, one-take school project. After seeing the satisfying results of the assignment, Carter and Edwards took it one step further.
“We decided to make it into a short film, so I called all the actors back and asked, ‘What if we write parts specifically for you,’ and they were all for it,” he reports. “They showed up just to be extras, and suddenly they got speaking roles.”
He describes the film as having a David Fincher (“Fight Club”) look and being characterized by high-contrast lighting and a dark atmosphere. “It’s really about motivation and the reasons you would fight instead of just fighting,” he clarifies. He hopes to turn it into a feature.
Carter classifies “Southern Iron” as being akin to “Southern Anarchy.” The film exhibits a raw ‘60s feel with a modern twist. Joe Montani served as the director, and Carter articulates it took no convincing for him to jump on board with the project. He liked Montani’s concept and that he previously worked with a number of the actors. At the screening, there will be a donation jar to help turn “Southern Iron” into a feature as well.
Doors will open at 8 p.m. and the screenings will start at 9 p.m.. “Get Up” will play first and “Southern Iron” will follow after a 10-minute intermission. Carter has high expectations for the event, and urges all local film enthusiasts to attend and get a taste of something new and different.
Local film screenings, “Get Up” and “Southern Iron”
Ziggy’s by the Sea
208 Market Street
October 15th • Free
Doors, 8 p.m. Show, 9 p.m.