Arts & Culture

Eight Charlotte Films Up for Awards at Longleaf Film Festival

Winners to be announced on Friday

Longleaf Film Festival
A still from Greg Simpson’s documentary short ‘Sheltered,’ about homelessness in Charlotte, to be featured in this week’s Longleaf Film Festival. (Courtesy of Red Can Media)

The Longleaf Film Festival, an annual film fest that recognizes the best in independent film with connections to North Carolina, will hold its 2021 awards program virtually for the second consecutive year, as event organizers could not be sure COVID restrictions would allow them to hold the event at the North Carolina Museum of History, the festival’s partner and lead sponsor. 

The program, scheduled for 7 p.m. on April 30, will feature more than a dozen awards, chosen from the 67 official selections highlighted by this year’s jury of judges. The awards program is free to attend, but does require registration.

Leading up to Friday’s award program, we thought we’d localize it further by highlighting the eight Charlotte films among this year’s contenders. We’ve included trailers where we could, though there is a virtual viewing event planned for May 14-15, the original dates the festival was scheduled to occur, which will serve as a last chance for local cinephiles to catch all of this year’s official selections in one place. 

‘And Then the Darkness’ – Andrew Huggins

Narrative Short | 14 minutes

Charlotte filmmaker Andrew Huggins focuses on family relationships, “as these seem to transcend what is perceived as normal human interaction,” according to his website. In his latest, And Then the Darkness, a pharmacist seeks revenge against the man who took everything from him. The trailer features knives and needles in a confrontation with a hitchhiker. 


‘Crossing Over the Dark’ – Jordan Ellis

Narrative Short | 12 minutes

Local filmmaker Jordan Ellis and a crew of around 10 people shot Crossing Over the Dark in an abandoned hospital in Yadkinville in just two days. The movie follows a withered old man’s (Ted Johnson) deepest memories of his late lover (Dana McBride). Watch the trailer here.

‘From Here’ – Josh Swope

Narrative Short | 15 minutes

Based on a true story experienced by filmmaker Josh Swope’s wife, From Here follows a father on his first hunting trip with his adoptive daughter, which he hopes will serve as a bonding experience. The trailer implies that she’s reluctant, but does get a buck in her sights. 

‘Magic Camera’ – Rodney Robinson

Narrative Short | 14 minutes

After more than 30 years working in various fields such as architecture, security and transportation, Charlotte native Rodney Robinson decided to pursue his long-time dream of becoming a filmmaker, enrolling in the Asheville School of Film in August of 2019. In Magic Camera, a young girl struggling to deal with her grandmother’s death makes use of her imagination and an old camera to hold onto precious memories and bridge the emotional gap that exists between her and her mother.

‘Prose’ – Kevin Wilson

Narrative Short | 16 minutes

Charlotte-based UNC Greensboro grad and director Kevin Wilson leads a team of young filmmakers from around the state, including director of photography Gary Swengbe, also from Charlotte. In the film, an English exam takes two college students on a journey of defining their relationship. 

Longleaf Film Festival
‘Prose’ will be featured in this week’s Longleaf Film Festival.

‘Recollection’ – Adam Ward

Documentary Short | 12 minutes

In this experimental short, Charlotte-based documentary filmmaker Adam Ward investigates our connection with memory. We couldn’t find many other details about this one, or maybe we found them and forgot.

‘Sheltered’ – Gregory Simpson

Documentary Short | 7 minutes

Charlotteans were forced to confront the local homelessness issue during the pandemic when Tent City developed along West 12th Street right outside of Uptown, and now investigative reporter Gregory Simpson humanizes the issue by following two folks struggling with homelessness in our city. Watch the trailer here.

Longleaf Film Festival
(Courtesy of Red Can Media)

‘The Other Side of the Coin: Race, Generations, and Reconciliation‘ – Frederick Murphy

Documentary Feature | 75 minutes

The only full-length feature out of Charlotte to be included in the festival, this documentary is a collection of experiences and thoughts that address the complexities of race in America. The participants featured represent a span of generations, which presents its own unique challenges — challenges that tend to reignite historical transgressions into the fold of present-day ideologies, begging the question: How do we reconcile for the sake of future generations and humanity?

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