Charleston International Film Festival – My week of magic and mayhem

Contributing Writer - Mark A. Leon

Contributing Writer – Mark A. Leon

Lights, camera and action!!!

The Charleston International Film Festival may be the best week you will spend in Charleston.  Scheduled for April 9 – 14, also known as Official Charleston Film Week, the festival provides sunrise to sunset entertainment, networking and the passion of film from around the globe.  In its purest form, it feeds the mind and soul and wakes your senses with a unique global outreach that will leave you laughing, crying, pondering and valuing the importance of film and life.

Founded by Summer and Brian Peacher, the seventh annual event once again promises lasting memories.  From the beginning, their vision was simple, provide filmmakers an avenue to showcase their creativity to cinematic fans with the backdrop of one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

It is truly an act of love that Summer, Brian and many others bring each year.  From the outdoor cocktail party that kicks off the festivities to the glamorous award ceremony held at the beautiful Memminger Auditorium that closes the festival.

As a fan of the cinema and the creative process, I was taken to another place.  How often do you have an opportunity to:

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  • Discuss the film making and scripting process with University professor Steve Albrezzi who brought the heart warming coming of age film Commencement to the screen over a martini.
  • Talk to Marin Hinkle about her wonderful portrayal in an independent film, her roots dating back to her start on Another World and not even mention Two and a Half Men
  • Take a picture of Tom Berenger at an award ceremony.
  • Talk to legendary Cinematographer Bill Butler, the man beyond Jaws, Stripes, Rocky II and dozens more before his wife forces him to shut up and get ready for the awards ceremony.
  • Have a candid conversation with Frank Abagnale Jr., the subject inspiration for the film Catch Me If You Can.
  • Get threatened by the man himself, Bill Murray at a Charleston RiverDogs game.
  • Get taken home by a driver in a BMW after a memorable after party at The Alley.
  • Meet film makers from South America and Europe.
  • Witness some of the most innovative short films, animated shorts and features made from the heart and shared with all their vulnerability

From a woman sharing the story of her mentally ill brother who disappeared for over 20 years, to the rise and fall of Doc Pomus, one of the greatest songwriters of all time; from a families struggle to send their daughter to law school to a young girl caught between a straining divorce, from three friends dealing with prejudice after 9/11 to firefighters dealing with cancer from the after affects, The Charleston International Film Festival opened my eyes to subjects that many deem taboo or fear opening up to.

Each block of shorts and films are carefully selected to compliment style and subject matter so the audience is given a full experience.

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The evenings were filled with the purest of Charleston evening entertainment.  From Mynt to The Music Farm and Seeking Indigo to The Alley, the participants, organizers and fans were treated to amazing parties.  From live music to sharing of ideas, each night left you wanting more.  Personally, I will always remember some of the in-depth conversations I had with the filmmakers about their influences, creative process and the sacrifices they make for their art.  That is truly what drew me in.

A special recognition needs to go to Jim Bush who organized a special group of volunteers whose passion for the creative arts and tireless hours made the event a huge success.  Their individuals are the definition of positive energy.  Their efforts and connection to the fans and participants were the backbone of this festival and friends to this day.

What kept me coming back was a group of amazing dedicated professionals that believe in something bigger than themselves and the desire to share that with the city of Charleston.

If you have never experienced the Charleston International Film Festival, I would not recommend going to just a single block, but to purchase a pass for the entire event.  It is truly a remarkable week for this city.

Ticket Information for the 2014 Charleston International Film Festival

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Categories: Charleston, cinema, festival, Film, filmmakers, international, movies, screenwriters | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Charleston International Film Festival – My week of magic and mayhem

  1. Miami Swamp

    Reblogged this on Miami Swamp.

  2. Pingback: Rumors & Notes: 2/1 – 2/2/14 | Holy City Sinner

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