Film Festival Celebrates Unique Stories of Home

While “home” is a universal concept, the specific details of that idea are unique to every person.

During The Cary Theater’s inaugural Beyond: The Film Festival, see how filmmakers from North Carolina to British Columbia present their “Hometown Stories.” Beginning Wednesday, June 13, with a screening of “Back to the Future” at Cary’s Downtown Park, the film festival continues through Sunday, June 17.

Organizers plan to make the film festival an annual event, with a different theme each year.

“One of the most pleasant things that has happened this first year has been the diversity and quality of the films we’ve gotten, and we got them from all over the country — the world,” said Joy Ennis, operations and program supervisor for The Cary Theater.

“The fact that everybody in this community has rallied around and embraced this event. That has been the most exciting thing for me.”

Unique short films (under 30 minutes) from a variety of genres will be shown. A ghost story from eastern North Carolina and a documentary called ‘Doula Town’ from the western part of the state will be shown. Works from outside the state are also represented.

“We have some stuff that is coming from as far as British Columbia. We have a film called ‘Indians on the Airwaves’ that talks about an indigenous radio station,” Ennis said. “It’s interesting how they interpret their hometown story, because they’re looking at it from a completely different viewpoint.”

Festival organizers received 53 submitted short films, and 16 were picked. Six filmmakers will be in attendance and will answer questions about their films.

In addition to “Back to the Future,” invited feature-length films include “Missing Johnny” from Taiwan and the documentary “Raising Bertie.”

“We picked a Taiwanese film because Cary has a sister city in Taiwan. That ties into our ‘Hometown Stories’ theme,” said Ennis. “In ‘Raising Bertie,’ the subject matter is about three teenagers in Bertie County, N.C.”

There was also a screenwriter’s competition focusing on the “Hometown” theme. A jury, led by writer/actor Shawn Schepps, selected one winning screenplay from 11 submissions.

“That winner’s screenplay will get a table-read,” said Ennis. “The Cary Playwrights Forum has cast it, so we’ll do an actual read of the entire screenplay. One of the ideas behind this was to look at the foundational aspects of film and show parts of filmmaking that people never get to see. The public only sees the end result.

“Wouldn’t it be fun if that film actually got made, and we could show it next year.”

Schepps’ experience includes acting on The Brady Bunch, writing films “Encino Man” and “Drumline,” the television show “Drop Dead Diva,” and much more. The workshop is Saturday, June 16, and free with advance registration.

Social events at Pharmacy Bottle + Beverage, Bond Brothers Beer Co. and the Mayton Inn round out the festival schedule.

Tickets range from $90 for a festival pass to $9 for individual sessions. For more information, and to purchase tickets, visit

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