A free-to-attend festival that highlights the best of independent film in a place that strives to tell the stories that connect us all—this is Longleaf. Our weekend festival screens films that demonstrate a Tar Heel State connection, through the people involved in making them or through their subject.
The North Carolina Museum of History serves as home base for Longleaf Film Festival. Entering year seven in 2021, Longleaf continues to grow, even though, due to COVID-19, Longleaf 2020 became a series of online and live-streamed events. Still, through our community of filmmakers and film fans, we were able to promote the art and craft of filmmaking and the passion of film to viewers in Raleigh, the Triangle, and beyond.
The 2020 Pause
For us, as for everyone, 2020 has been, and continues to be, tumultuous. It is hard to remember how, in March 2020 as we entered lockdown, we thought that we might be heading back to school, returning to work, hanging out with friends, watching movies—all in a matter of weeks. Then, as the days passed, we slowly began to recognize that the pandemic was going to be a longer-term event. We pivoted Longleaf 2020 to a virtual program; at the time, it was one of the first in-person–to–virtual event exchanges in our area. We live-streamed our awards announcements with help from our media sponsor, CBS17 News, and, with the generosity of our Official Selection filmmakers, we made more than 60 of our 2020 films available to screen, for free, during our festival dates. More than 5,000 hits on the #AloneTogether viewing web page meant that folks watched!
A few weeks after our 2020 festival, George Floyd was killed, and protests—against his senseless death and the ancient ties to systemic racism that caused his death—began. We, at Longleaf, have been listening . . . reflecting . . . learning. And we’re not finished.
Throughout our short history, we have been grateful for the impactful stories regarding race and community that have been told in past festivals. We strongly believe that the art and craft of filmmaking help connect us and offer avenues for insight, as well as entertainment. We want to share your stories—all of your stories: animated, documentary, and narrative films, music videos, and spoken word productions. To help in our small way, we want easier access to Longleaf for everyone; so, for 2021 we are waiving fees for directors who identify as Black, Latinx, or Indigenous. That’s one contribution we can make. Contact Sally Bloom, [email protected] for this waiver.
Looking Forward, Again
As a free-to-attend event, submission fees help make Longleaf happen. And, while we may need to tighten our always-stretched budget even more this year, the season will be worth it if we can make everyone feel welcome to this community—where we recognize that making films is making history. One way or another, we’ll be back on Friday, May 14, and Saturday, May 15, 2021! Here’s hoping to see you by then . . .