May 29--First, there was the Cheese Sandwich Film Festival, back in 2009.
Then came the Chips 'n' Salsa Film Festival in 2010.
And now, after a couple of years off, the Cough Syrup Film Festival is coming to Jengo's Playhouse, 815 Princess St., on June 9.
"We wanted to keep the initials 'C.S.' in there," explained Dan Brawley, director of the Cucalorus Film Festival, which is spinning off this little event from the original idea created by Joselyn McDonald, a UNCW film studies grad.
"For a while, there was quite a competition between 'Cough Syrup' and 'Czechoslovakian Sausage Festival' but 'Cough Syrup' won out," Brawley said.
Anyway, Cough Syrup is a non-competitive mini-film festival, and it's looking for entries. Anybody can enter. There's no entry fee, and Brawley vowed that all qualifying entries turned in by noon by June 8 will be screened.
The only requirements are that films must be three minutes or shorter and that, in some way or another, cough syrup must be involved.
"The whole idea is to get people to go out and make movies," Brawley said. "We thought the limitations would spur their creativity a bit."
Creativity can be stretched considerably in these circumstances. For the Cheese Sandwich Festival, director Raf Taylor won without even owning a video camera. Instead, he, Justin Mitchener, Caitlin McGarry and Alicia Payne took still photos according to a basic plot outline. Mitchener and Taylor then edited the 4,000 or so stills together.
The result was "4 Gin and Tonics, 4 Beers, 2 Key Bumps and Marijuana," a cautionary chronicle of bar-hopping in downtown Wilmington that included stops at The Soapbox and Blue Post, plus a cameo by "One Tree Hill" star Hilarie Burton.
One cheese sandwich was burned in the course of production.
Cough Syrup will be a little different than the previous festivals. This time, there are no prizes, and admission to the screenings is free. Earlier fests charged $5 at the door.
The event runs from 5:30 to 11:30 p.m. June 9 at Jengo's, along with the screenings, a cookout and performances by at least a couple of bands. According to programming coordinator Ash McGuire, the only thing involving money will be a cash bar.
Meanwhile, the real Cucalorus Film Festival is coming up Nov. 13-17. Between then and now, the festival is offering up Surfalorus, a three-day program of surf films, to be screened July 18-20 at Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach and downtown locations.
The festival is also taking applications for Camp Cucalorus, a summer camp for aspiring film and video artists ages 12-17 to be held July 29-Aug. 1 at Jengo's. Campers will get hands-on instruction in camera work, editing and other aspects of production from local filmmakers including documentary director Rob Hill ("The Fort Fisher Hermit," "Battleship North Carolina"). They'll also work on a music video for a local band. For registration and other information, email email@example.com.
For more details on the Cough Syrup Film Festival or other Cucalorus-related events, call 343-5995 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ben Steelman: 343-2208
(c)2013 the Star-News (Wilmington, N.C.)
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