Sunday, January 30, 2011

Blue Sky Film Fest starts this friday! Feb. 4-6, 2011

Films, Filmmakers, workshops, parties. Yes, the Independent, Edgy and Incredible Blue Sky Film Festival starts this Friday and runs through Sunday in beautiful Chapel Hill, NC.
The submissions are in and we have a stellar line-up. Check it out at our site or facebook It's only 5 bucks a block and workshops and some films are absolutely free.


(Click HERE for a downloadable PDF Schedule)

(All events will be held in Theatre 1 at The Lumina Theatre, unless otherwise noted)



Shorts – Devoted to the best short films from around the world.

Block 1A:
3:30pm – Shorts 49 minutes

Goon“The Goon and the Gamma Scout” (7 min.) Eric Barstow

A ruthless drug dealing pimp meets his match in the form of a seven year old girl who won’t let anything stand in her way of selling cookies for her troupe. “The Goon and the Gamma Scout” was conceived and filmed by the Motion Picture Production I class of St. Augustine’s College, taught by Asst. Prof. J. Brandon Johnson. The college’s Theatre/ Film program is committed to educating majors in the film process. Eric Barstow will be graduating in May 2011.

“Expression Tunnel” (4 min.) Jason Rizzo

“The Expression Tunnel” is a State of Mind not a Place.

Labor“A Labor of Love” (13 min.) Cara Biasucci

Poetic and picturesque, this is the portrait of one lobstering family and the village they’ve called home for generations.

GD“The Great Dictator” (8 min.) Nancy Kalow

This film documents “dead media” and a unique collection of audio recording machines exemplifying industrial design in the pre-digital age, including wax cylinder, wire, and magnetic dictating machines. The abundance and creativity of 20th century audio engineering is showcased: the machines range from ungainly Thomas Edison devices through streamline moderne chic and up to lightweight plastic boxes. In those “Mad Men” days, the boss-secretary relationship was grounded in the unquestioned authority of the male “dictator” who recorded a letter to be typed up by the (female) secretary.

“Falconry” (9 min.) Suzin Daly

“Flatmates” (8 min.) Jelly Mustache

[Ten Minute Break]

Block 1B:

4:30pm – Shorts continued 74 minutes

CF“Caged Fire” (6 min.) Mr. Young

Red catches her boyfriend, Mark, cheating on her. She leaves the scene only to reappear on CCTV and seeming to threaten the relationship of Mark and his new love, Louise. Red, Louise and Mark all struggle with dual identities causing an eerie existence and a catastrophic ending.’

“Emma & Reid” (10 min.) Talia Alberts

In this improvisational drama, Emma struggles to console her ex-boyfriend, Reid, after the death of his mother.

“Contact Zone” (14 min.) Gustavius Smith
During a reception at an art gallery in New York City, the curator and janitor have a one night stand. Even though they are co-workers, the curator doesn’t recognize the janitor until the following morning at work.

“Wake” (22 min.) Bree Newsome

MG“Mirleydi Gonzales” (6 min.) Samuel Miron

A brief look at the life of a 16 year old prostitute living in Havana, Cuba.

KC“Key Cards” (16 min.) Russell Yaffe

A Polish woman and an Argentine man meet at the airport on their way to an international medical conference. Neither one speaks English terribly well, but it is the only language that they share. As the conference begins, the possibility of a romantic connection between them may be left to chance.


6:30pm – The Arc of Orange County Premiere Charity Event

Blue Sky Film Festival Pass holders and Block 2 Ticket holders are invited to jJoin us for a special reception hosted by Harrington Bank at their Southern Village location, benefiting The Arc of Orange County, followed by the feature length film at 8pm. Festival Passes and Tickets to Block 2 will be on sale at the reception.

HB8pm – “The Horse Boy”

“The Horse Boy” is part travel adventure, part insight into shamanic tradition and part intimate look at the autistic mind. In telling one family’s extraordinary story, the film gives voice to the thousands who display amazing courage and creativity every day in the battle against the mysterious and heartbreaking epidemic. The film companion to Isaacson’s best-selling book of the same name and a festival favorite, the ravishing documentary odyssey gives insight into how, in life’s darkest moments, a gateway to joy and wonder can be found.



10:30am Silent Saturday Morning

NavBuster Keaton in “The Navigator”, featuring Erich Lieth improvising an original score live on the piano. Rollo decides to marry his sweetheart Betsy and sail to Honolulu. When she rejects him he decides to go alone but boards the wrong ship, the “Navigator” owned by Betsy’s father. Unaware of this, Betsy boards the ship to look for her father. who spies capture before cutting the ship loose. It drifts out to sea with the two socialites each unaware of there being anyone else on board. Following the film there will be a Q&A with Laura J. Nigro, member of the Damfinos, the International Buster Keaton Society. *Bonus: A surprise short film will open this event!


12:30pm – A/V Geeks – “The Sweet Songs of 16mm”

geeksThe A/V Geeks present a screening of 16mm films that feature great songs – including some pre-MTV music video soundies, kids’ educational films and more! Humorous and entertaining, hosted by Skip Elsheimer.

Being held in the Film Maker Lounge (Theatre 5) simultaneous to Block 4. ALL ARE WELCOME


The Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) Revolution
Join Director of Photography (DP) and filmmaker Stephen Van Vuuren for a demo of the ins and outs of Digital camera filming.

Blackbird Demo Join Camera Motion Research’s president Rich Greb for a hands on demonstration of the Blackbird camera stabilizer. Special Bonus
Rich will be giving away a Blackbird at the end of this demo! A $675 value, you must be 18 or older and present to win.


Block 5A:

3:30pm - International Shorts (45 min.)

“Other People’s Houses” – (16 min.)

Emilie McDonald. When a lonely, struggling single mom searches for a connection with a clique of upwardly mobile moms, she finds that the greatest connection is the one with her daughter.

JL“Jacob’s Ladder” – (8 min.) Randy Bernard

Jacob’s Ladder is the story of Jacob Battone who was diagnosed with a life-threatening disease shortly after he was born. Jason and Heather always wanted children. When they found out they were having a son, it was one of the happiest times of their lives. The early days of the pregnacy went by like a breeze. They were both planning the arrival of the new addition to the family when doctors told them of a cyst on the umbilical cord. After a few more tests, doctors felt they needed to deliver the baby immediately. Jacob was born 9 weeks early and started to show some early signs of kidney disease. This was the beginning of Jacob’s fight for his life.

BC“Butterfly Circus” – (20 min.) Joshua Weigel

At the height of the Great Depression, the showman of a renowned circus leads his troupe through the devastated American landscape, lifting the spirits of audiences along the way. During their travels they discover a man without limbs at a carnival sideshow. However, after an intriguing encounter with the showman he becomes driven to hope against everything he has ever believed. Winner of the Clint Eastwood award.

“Mugish” – (3 min) – Jelly Mustache

[Ten Minute Break]

Block 5B:


R&LRhett & Link (45 min.)

Several hilarious and irreverent comedy shorts by Rhett & Link (, who will be making a rare LIVE APPEARANCE at Blue Sky! Yes, the guys will be in the house at The Lumina!

5:00 PM – Reception at Town Hall Grill located right across from the Lumina Theatre: Cash bar; free hors d’ouerves, sponsored by the law firm of Bagwell, Holt, Smith, Jones and Crowson and Town Hall Grill. Please join us to meet and mingle with the Blue Sky filmmakers between the afternoon and evening film blocks on Saturday.

7:30pm – Saturday Night Blockbuster

NDNear Dark (95 min.)

An American vampire/western horror film, written by Eric Red and 2010 Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow, and directed by Bigelow. Starring then little-known actors Adrian Pasdar and Jenny Wright, the movie was released in 1987, part of a revival of serious vampire movies in the late 1980s. It did poorly at the box office, but was subsequently viewed favorably by critics and has a sizable cult following.

EliminationElimination (12 min) – Michael Babbitt

“Elimination” will open this block. Two pod-casting movie reviewers inadvertently stumble across and witness a high-level assassination. The ramifications of this event could change the future of our country and possibly the world.


10pm – Hellphone (88 min.)

HPThe area premiere of Jason Pierce’s audacious, highly acclaimed feature horror film. “Hellphone” is a horror-comedy along the lines of “Evil Dead II”, “Slither” and “Bubba Ho-Tep.” When people start dying in a small southern town, it’s up to the deputy sheriff, her ex-fiancĂ©, and her current boyfriend to figure out what is happening. Little do they suspect that a vengeful spirit has possessed a cell phone and is the cause of all the havoc. Together they must discover the source of the mayhem and find a way to not only stop it, but the fighting among themselves.

I See U (4 min.)

Christopher G. Moore’s iPhone film will open this block. A young woman finds she has no place to hide, when she’s being stalked by a techno savvy killer. This film was shot entirely with an iPhone 4.



10:30am – Full Frame Comes to Blue Sky
A very special feature-length documentary, presented by the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, introduced by Full Frame Documentary Festival Executive Director, Deirdre Haj.

LTHFeature film: Last Train Home (85 min.)
Each year, 130 million Chinese workers return home to celebrate the New Year holiday, trekking hundreds of miles between industrialized cities to homes in the rural provinces. It’s the world’s largest human migration, and the only time many of these laborers see their families. Director Lixin Fan follows one family, the Zhangs, over two years, observing the heart-wrenching toll the parents’ faraway jobs have taken on family life. Yang and Suquin work in a clothing factory, stitching and serging a better future for their children. When their daughter, Qin, quits school to take a factory job they are devastated, their hopes that education would break the cycle of the family’s poverty dashed. From claustrophobic train cars to the wide expanses of their rural village home, this gorgeous film compassionately portrays the personal consequences of a consuming devotion to work, revealing the everyday realities of China’s emergence as a global economic power.


12:15pm – 1pm: FREE Film Production Workshop with producer Will Battersby.

Will Battersby has worked on projects as diverse as the documentaries “Trumbo” and “The War Within” to the long running British soap opera, “The East Enders”. Battersby will regale us with stories from the production front, working with Michael Douglas, Joan Allen, Cynthia Nixon and others. He will dig deeper into the reality of making indie films and getting them into festivals and securing domestic and international distribution.

“Making a film must always start with creative inspiration; an idea seizes you, a character just won’t leave you alone, there’s something you need to say. Then you are faced with the reality of the industry: it is a business. For your film to be seen, which is its intrinsic function, someone, somewhere must be able to profit by showing it.” This workshop will be a discussion with producer Will Battersby about strategies and thoughts on navigating those often-murky waters.

A partner in Reno Productions, he is currently in post-production on “The Bleeding” written and directed by graphic novel writer Philip Gelatt and “Certainty” directed by Peter Askin and written by Mike O’Malley. His documentary “Trumbo” starring Liam Neeson, Paul GIamatti, Michael Douglas and Donald Sutherland among others, was distributed by Samuel Goldwyn and went on to win the National Board of Review Freedom of Speech award.

His prior experience includes working at HDNet Films where he worked on such films as Alex Gibney’s “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room” and Steven Soderbergh’s “Bubble”. Prior to that Battersby was a Motion Picture Literary Agent at International Creative Management where he represented writers and directors.

Block 10:

1:15pm: Shorts! (70 min.) FREE

JcT“Jesus Comes To Town” (12 min.) Kamal John Iskander

An unexpected guest drops in during an underworld poker game in this dark comedy neo-noir.

artifacts“Artifacts” (23 min.) Joe Keller

Photographer Clayton Ardubon leads a life of indulgence comprised of women and success. But no amount of either can satisfy the hole at the center of his life. That is, until Marion, an ex-lover from his youth, appears unexpectedly at a showing. Fueled by an insatiable curiosity and memories from his past, Clayton tracks down Marion. But his search leads to Marion’s daughter, Paige; a rebellious youth who opens the door to an unexpected love affair as dangerous as it is sincere.

DBY“Day Before Yesterday” (12 min.) Patricia Chica

Follows the story of a woman suffering from total memory loss. Found unconscious in the middle of the downtown Montreal strip, she was brought in by police who proceed to interview her. Does she remember who she is and where she came from? Can anyone else remember? We are carried through the story by the woman’s haunting voice-over narration as she describes the utter loneliness she experiences, until a visit from someone who claims to know her sheds unexpected light on the woman – and her past.

horse“Horse” (23 min.) Seth Hall

HORSE is the redemptive story of a down and out father who must face his greatest fear by entering a neighborhood father/son HORSE basketball tournament.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Volunteer At Full Frame Documentary Film Festival

We have a few more slots open to volunteer at this years Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. The fest is April 14-17 in Durham, NC. Read all the details and sign up online right here -

I look forward to seeing you this year!

Friday, January 7, 2011

International Film Producer coming to Blue Sky Film Festival

Just got off the phone with a producer in NYC who has agreed to do a workshop at The Blue Sky Film Festival Feb. 6th on taking films to the next level, international distribution. He'll also regale us with antidotes from working with Michael Douglas, Joan Allen and others. This will be a FREE workshop/Q&A, a must attend if you are serious about the business side of filmmaking in NC. Name to be released next week at .