Festivals Flock to Asheville

by Camille Wick

Asheville attracts many film festivals due to reputation

Murphy's Shorts
“Once Upon an Adventure,” is part of the Asheville International Children’s Film Festival. Timothy Arem, the creator, producer and artistic director of the festival, said Asheville is a unique place for a film festival. The festival will last for 10 days beginning Friday and features films from 25 different countries. Asheville Cinema Festival, another upcoming film festival, features independent international films. / Photo courtesy of the Asheville Children’s Film Festival

Asheville Cinema Festival and the Asheville International Children’s Film Festival highlight the city’s draw for both filmmakers and viewers.
“Asheville is just a real draw, and it’s really gotten a name for itself,” said Wyman Tannehill, executive director of Asheville Cinema Festival.  “I’ve heard from a lot of filmmakers that one reason they really wanted to submit to us was because we’re in Asheville.”
This is ACF’s first year, and the festival will take place this Thursday through Sunday. ACF features more than 39 films representing multiple genres.
“It is a brand new independent film festival that has films from all over the world,” Tannehill said. “We have feature films, foreign films, short films, documentaries and animated films.”
The Asheville International Children’s Film Festival is in its third year, and it is the largest children’s film festival in the southeast.
“I wanted to bring a unique family event to the WNC family community. The films that are screened are especially made for families,” said Timothy Arem, creator, producer and artistic director of AICFF.
“My job is to see that the festival happens,” Arem said. “I oversee all aspects of the festival from vision to completion.”
AICFF is a 10-day festival beginning Friday. It has more than 70 films from 25 countries, according to AICFF’s web site.
“I have a background in entertainment and wanted to create a new festival,” Arem said. “Asheville is unique because it’s a fairly small city to have so many interesting film festivals.”
Both ACF and AICFF take place in downtown Asheville.
“There are four days of the festival, and two days are in downtown Asheville at the Masonic Temple and Asheville Community Theater,” Tannehill said.
AICFF added two new venues this year: Tryon Theater and The Lab.
Some of the films at ACF are world premiers, including Believe You Me and California, 90420, Tannehill said.
California, 90420 is a documentary about medical marijuana, and it is playing at 4:15 p.m. on Saturday at the Asheville Community Theater.
“The producer of the film actually submitted to us because he read an article in The Princeton Review on the top pot-friendly colleges in America,” Tannehill said. “There was a certain college in Asheville that was number one, so that’s why he ended up submitting to us.”
According to the Princeton Review, Warren Wilson is No. 7 on this list.
Tannehill said that ACF is different than other Asheville film festivals.
“All of the other festivals have a real focus and target audience, and ours is more broad. There are so many different types of films, which is what I think sets us apart and makes us different,” Tannehill said.
Tannehill said ACF will include panel discussions with some of the filmmakers, and the audience can ask questions about the films.
“We have around 20 filmmakers coming out who are going to be at their films, and then after their films we’ll do a question and answer with the audience,” Tannehill said.
Tannehill said he wants UNC Asheville students to get involved with ACF.
“As a video media production student, I think it will be really beneficial,” said Adam Patton, a mass communication student. “I’m most excited about the workshops they’re having at the LAB with some Hollywood-experienced professionals.”
Tannehill said ACF encourages locals to take part in the festival, and UNCA students in particular need to get involved in the screenwriting, distribution and editing workshops.