Pay No Attention to That Festival Organizer Behind the Curtain

What goes on at a film festival when it’s not actually festival time, you may wonder? Well, film festival folk think about you and you and you—filmmakers and film fans and festival newbies and volunteers and judges and presenters and . . . all of you—all year long.

So, what does that mean to me as a festival organizer?

For Longleaf 2018, our fourth year, it means change. I know it’s not obvious (please tell me it wasn’t obvious) but before Longleaf 2015, I had never even attended a film festival. Now, with three festivals under the team’s large stretchy belts, I believe we’ve learned some of the “how-tos” of a festival and are reaching for the “whys,” to make Longleaf more meaningful and impactful for everyone.

Lessons Learned Along the Way

When we started, we knew North Carolina had a 100+ year history of filmmaking and that thousands of films had been made in the state. We’ve since grown to know that film folk who grew up here or went to school here or have other strong ties to the state have moved to other places, near and far—but that the influence of those who have that bit of tar in their soul is deep and wide.

Of course we already knew that some people believe they don’t like history—that history means memorizing a bunch of dates or a series of battles won and lost or groups of names of people who are not like them—information they have no connection to. But Longleaf Film Festival is run by film-loving AND history-loving folk; after all, our home base is, as you know, a history museum—the North Carolina Museum of History, to be exact. So, we know that: #EverythingHasHistory. Whatever your passion, whatever your community: it has history. Connecting to that history, and exploring it, deepens and enriches your experience of that passion, that community. History provides context, adds meaning, sharpens understanding.

And, there ends rant #32. But stay with me, because there IS a connection between our love of independent film and our love of history . . .

Connecting History and Film—and You!

Our goals with Longleaf revolve around a passion for combining film and history.

  • We work to highlight the stories that connect us all. We believe that making films is making history.
  • We strive to foster the independent film community, which has deep roots in our state, and introduce that community to film fans and folk who have yet to discover the beauty of film.
  • And, yes, we hope to connect everyone to a greater awareness of the roles history plays in their world.

Just that: NBD, right?

So, what does all this mean for festival work? To reach our goals, we are a free-to-attend festival. We offer workshops and other events during the year to foster the intersections of history and film and people. We work to let YOU tell stories and experience them in a place that connects us, a museum.

Oh, and then there’s, you know, the usual: evaluating the last festival; creating graphics for the next (thanks super-designer Amme!); writing copy for websites, postcards, brochures, posters, and more and more; updating social media outlets; reaching out to folks to lead next year’s workshops, to serve as judges, to volunteer—and generally getting ready to start the roller coaster that will become Longleaf 2018.

Join us! The ride is guaranteed to be thrilling.


Longleaf 2018
May 11–12 at the North Carolina Museum of History.
Film, Fun, and Community.

Rolling submission dates have started!