Independent filmmaking has long added insight into the human condition. From the wave of experimental films that emerged once the medium took hold of the world to the onslaught of indie flicks that offered an alternative to blockbuster-dom in the ’80s and ’90s, they give a voice to folks outside the mainstream Hollywood circuit. Wilmington’s own Cucalorus Film Festival, held each November, stands as a perfect example of the impact these films can have.
Though creativity still pulses heavily through the veins of locals, the recent debates and losses regarding North Carolina film incentives have majorly impacted the growth of the Port City’s blossoming film scene. While state government officials and Republican governor Pat McCrory have spoken, putting the kibosh on the wildly successful incentive program, hope remains through the championing efforts of local film enthusiasts like Amber Adams, artistic director of Cape Fear Dance Theatre and member of the Dance Films Association, .
Tomorrow she, along with Nick Westfall and a slew of other passionate film crusaders (including Dock Street Productions, Cape Fear Dance Theatre and Cape Fear Independent Film Network), will hold the inaugural Film 5k, something she hopes will become an annual event. The fundraiser will raise monies for “Finding Home,” a soon-to-be locally made film that discusses adoption. She hopes to turn the run into a yearly happening that will procure a production budget for a socially minded film.
Adams, who will serves as casting and assistant director on the film, was first attracted to “Finding Home” when she read the script penned by Westfall. The film will address misconceptions that half of foster children are placed there because of juvenile delinquency or that 60 percent of people grossly underestimate the number of children in foster care.
“I said, ‘We have to make this,'” she recalls. “His mother is adopted, and the domestic process of child adoption in the United States is messy and important to both Nick and me. If we can surface these sort of overlooked social issues through filmmaking, that’s what we want to do.”
Previously, Adams has worked as an extra on TV series “Eastbound and Down” and “Under the Dome,” both productions being an integral part of the local television and film industry. As well, she served as assistant director for the 2014 Cape Fear Independent Film Festival and produced and choreographed “Weight,” a short film that won the 2014 Best Local Film Award at last year’s festival.
She and Westfall, who has undertaken 12 5k events in Brunswick County to enlighten on childhood obesity over the past five years, thought a 5k would be the perfect way to not only add funds to their budget, but also to generate local interest in the issues surrounding adoption.
Money from T-shirt sells will cap off the fiscal needs of their production, the rest of the sponsorship money will go toward the local Guardian ad Litem Program, which aims to help abused, neglected, and dependent children in the state’s juvenile court system and specifically benefits older adoptive children. The run offers five sponsorship packages: All of them give contributors a T-shirt, digital copy and film credit for ”Finding Home,” a digital ad placed in the film, their business’s logo on the T-Shirt, and a ticket to wrap/screening party. Packages range in price from $10 to $1,000, and locals can donate by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Those interested in running in the 5k can register for free online (www.active.com), using the keyword “film5k.” As well, those mived by the subject can contribute to the film’s Kickstarter (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/findinghome/findinghomefeaturefilmfornationaladoptionda? ref=nav_search). Thus far they’ve raised $10,438 of their $13,200 goal. The Kickstarter deadline is Friday, May 8. Plus, folks at the event can sign up to be an extra or production assistant for “Finding Home.”
Upon completing their monetary goals, the production team, which will provide work for 30 local cast and crew members, three film production companies, and 10 local restaurants, will begin shooting in June. The 14-day shoot will span throughout New Hanover and Brunswick counties, funneling money into the community all along the way.
“The local independent film scene provides creative opportunity the generate attitudes of, ‘I can make things happen,'” Adams tells. “This attitude creates jobs and the confidence to create work. It’s a human instinct to create and to reach our potential. I want to provide a platform for people to figure out what that means to them. Since a 2012 survey conducted by the Civic Economics Survey of Independent Business, the recirculation of local revenue in independent business is more than four times that of national chains. It’s a matter of making independent filmmaking in Wilmington a business and not just a hobby. That recirculation for us is largely through labor and charitable giving to local organizations to benefit local lives. It’s a natural sense to service what’s in front of you. In other words make a local impact.”
Once the film is completed, it will premiere in November, occurring in conjunction with National Adoption Day. As well, the premiere will host the HEART Adoption Agency in Wilmington, with other related celebrations and awareness-raising opportunities happening from November 20 through 22.
Showing how film doesn’t only impact the economy but also how it can broaden people’s perspectives takes the forefront with their efforts. In a time when the industry is in such turmoil, it’s more important than ever to sing film’s praises. Adams laments the loss of many of her tech workers and performers since the sunset of incentives. She even lost her florist. Despite such an immense impact, optimism lingers.
“The overarching feeling is hope, but everyone is sort of looking around waiting for someone to make the first move,” Adams comments. “I notice an extinguishing of funds, which throws cold water on fresh ideas and the vigor necessary to produce any film work: not just in film but across arts in Wilmington. We need to team up. There are some brilliant artists in this town. I’m seeking to hold a new flame with the knowledge, resources and spark to reignite the passion necessary to keep film running in Wilmington.”
The run gets underway tomorrow at 10 a.m. at Greenfield Lake Park. It’s free to run or walk for all ages.
Film 5k Race/Walk
Saturday, May 2, 10 a.m.
Greenfield Lake Park, 1739 Burnett Blvd.
www.active.com (Keyword: film5k)