Arts and Entertainment
|Sold on Charlotte cinema|
|Published Wednesday, January 2, 2013 4:00 pm|
When Tommy Nichols moved to Charlotte from Dayton, Ohio in 2009, his mission was simple.
|Filmmaker and founder of the Charlotte Black Film Festival Tommy Nichols is on a mission to educate, preserve and promote African-American cinema and promote diversity.|
“I came here to do film,” he said.
Initially, Nichols, president of Glorified Media, considered a move to Atlanta. He knew Charlotte was the right choice after attending a presentation during which Charlotte Regional Partnership CEO Ronnie Bryant spoke about the city’s growing film industry.
“He said that film development in the region had the potential to be greater than the Bobcats, the Panthers and NASCAR put together,” said Nichols. “When I heard that, I wondered if this would be another industry that people of color would not have an opportunity to take advantage of because (we were) not prepared.”
The following February, Nichols held the first Charlotte Black Film Festival, which is now in its third year and takes place annually the week of the CIAA basketball tournament. The mission of the CBFF is to educate, preserve, and promote African-American cinema as an art form and to be a voice for independent filmmakers of color
“The Charlotte Black Film Festival was birthed out of my desire to create an environment where people get exposed to film production, training, and the industry as a whole,” Nichols said.
The three-day festival is comprised of film screenings, panel discussions, hands-on workshops, competitions and an awards ceremony. It is also an opportunity for emerging actors, composers, screenwriters and directors to showcase their work.
In the three years since he launched CBFF, Nichols said he has seen interest in the region’s film industry grow tremendously. Showtime’s hit series “Homeland” filmed in Charlotte along with a number of other shows and movies. The city recently purchased Eastland Mall and is in talks with developers to turn the vacant building into film studios.
Nichols said he hopes that Charlotte will continue to be seen as a viable alternative to Atlanta.
“Atlanta should not have a monopoly on everything that is happening for our culture,” he said. “I like Atlanta, but I’m tired of looking at shows that have the peach. I want to see a symbol of the queen representing Charlotte.”
While Nichols said Charlotte provides a variety of natural landscapes that appeal to movie executives – from lakes to mountains, urban backdrops and countryside – he believes what is missing is a unified community.
“That is why the festival exists,” he said. “We want Hollywood to see that we do have a diverse population that is involved in the industry.”
This year's film festival will be held February 28 through March 2. The theme is “Unified to Create.”
“When (black) people come together, we are some of the most talented and creative people on the planet,” said Nichols. “We can create some fabulous things.”
Submissions for the 2013 CBFF are currently being accepted. The deadline is Jan. 28. There are three categories. The first includes animation, music video and short films (under 30 minutes). There is a category for documentaries, and the third is for feature films.
Nichols said entries will be judged by a committee on various factors including the writing, storyline, the acting, directing and cinematography.
“We will also look at what message the filmmaker is trying to relay and if they are getting that message across,” he said. “We are looking for the film to take us on a journey.”
For more information about CBFF visit CharlotteBlackFilmFestival.com, check out the festival’s page on Facebook or call (704) 777-5898.
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