Entertainment

Long story short: More shorts at 2017 film fest, in new home

Crew and cast take part in on-site production filming for “Crab Trap,” shot in Murrells Inlet and Garden City Beach. From left: Robert Kerson (who plays Sweetwater Steve), Bryan Guidroz (Greg), John Voldstad (Skip), co-producer Chip White, and Courtney Mauldin, a production assistant. This short film will play in the 5-7 p.m. block April 22, on the final day of the 12th annual Myrtle Beach International Film Festival, April 17-22 at the Grand 14 Cinema, at DeVille and Reed streets, at The Market Common in Myrtle Beach. Details at 843-497-0220 or www.myrtlebeachfilmfestival.com.
Crew and cast take part in on-site production filming for “Crab Trap,” shot in Murrells Inlet and Garden City Beach. From left: Robert Kerson (who plays Sweetwater Steve), Bryan Guidroz (Greg), John Voldstad (Skip), co-producer Chip White, and Courtney Mauldin, a production assistant. This short film will play in the 5-7 p.m. block April 22, on the final day of the 12th annual Myrtle Beach International Film Festival, April 17-22 at the Grand 14 Cinema, at DeVille and Reed streets, at The Market Common in Myrtle Beach. Details at 843-497-0220 or www.myrtlebeachfilmfestival.com. Courtesy photo

Long story short for the 12th annual Myrtle Beach International Film Festival: Of 63 screenings – including two primers that regaled audiences at previous fests – 51 are shorts, part of a packed menu with a variety of stories and subjects every day.

The 2017 festival, in its new home at Stone Theatres’ Grand 14 Cinema, at DeVille and Reed streets, at The Market Common in Myrtle Beach (843-282-0550 or www.stonetheatres.com/grand-14/4579702583), hits full gear at 4 p.m. April 19, going daily through April 22. Two feature-length, pre-screenings – “My Sweet Misery,” from 2009, and “Der Sandmann” (2011) – will roll at 6 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, respectively. Prices remains the same, too: $10 per two-hour block of films, or $50 for an all-access pass. More details at 843-497-0220 or myrtlebeachfilmfestival.com.

Since its inception, the festival took place at Carmike Cinemas’ Broadway at the Beach site, but with AMC Entertainment Holdings’ purchase of the Carmike chain in December, personnel at company headquarters changed, prompting the festival’s move, said Jerry Dalton, its founder and director, praising Grand 14 staff as “extremely excited” to welcome the fest.

“The topography could not be better,” Dalton said, noting how moviegoers can “walk right out” from the Grand 14 with a choice of neighboring restaurants, stores, and places to sit outside on benches, stroll, and listen to music, all “a really good fit.”

Asked how all the shorts arose for the lineup this year, sharing space with anchor features to close out several film blocks, Dalton said the choices by the panel of seven judges, regardless of length, simply scored the highest, to reach this “good solid mix” of “very emotionally stirring, deep films” in such genres, comedy, drama, love stories, and documentaries.

Global effect shines on Myrtle Beach

Dalton said most productions are mostly at least a year old, which adds to their appeal and reflection of their time and setting. Besides the coastal Carolinas and the United States, the countries represented are Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

“People travel from all over the world to bring their films here,” Dalton said.

The access to converse at ease at the festival with so many filmmakers from all realms of the business – at social hours and question-and-answer sessions, and without “tuxedo-and-tie” formality – adds another perk, Dalton said, “even if you just like films, but don’t know much about the industry.”

Susan Gallagher, director of “Beneath the Crown,” has booked her trip from central Florida. Her 19-minute short presents a biography of the late Sylvia Hitchcock Carson, who starting with a borrowed bridesmaid dress and a local pageant entry made by a sorority sister, would go on to win Miss USA and Miss Universe for 1967. The film will play during the 4-6 p.m. block April 19.

A Charlotte native raised in nearby Gastonia, N.C., who “grew up going to Myrtle Beach” on vacations, Gallagher sees film festivals as an avenue of access for all kinds of treasures in stories and biographies.

Such filmmakers, lacking “huge, multi-million-dollar budgets, she said, beam with “a dream and desire to tell a story,” with all “our heart and soul.”

Also a longtime actress, Gallagher said in making her debut documentary, even after Carson’s diagnosis with late-stage cancer, encouragement and commitment carried this project about such strength and “inner beauty” to completion, on “this personal journey with her and her family.”

“She was not your typical beauty queen,” Gallagher said, lauding Carson’s accomplishments as a sculptor, athlete, mother, wife, and friend, all with a caring nature. “She always had a fearless spirit about her.”

Impressed by Carson’s forgoing fame “to have a family and be low key,” Dalton said, “The emotional attachment you gain for this lady grows through the film.”

Third visit spells out charm for Chip White

Dalton also said Chip White, a North Myrtle Beach native, is part of a crew making “great films,” earning a nod for this festival for a third straight year with a short – extending a path started with “A Chess Player” and “My Luchador.”

“Crab Trap,” about an alcoholic trying to regain trust from his sister, who has custody of his daughter, was filmed in Garden City Beach and Murrells Inlet. Leading to this film festival debut, it premiered March 6 at the Grand 14.

Based in Charlotte, where he’s a Fox Sports freelance promo producer whose spots air on the Fox and Fox Sports 1 networks, White co-produced “Crab Trap.” The four days of filming in September fell “right before Hurricane Matthew came through.”

Ultimately, the “bond” in teamwork in filmmaking “goes back to a good story,” said White, who sees how “Crab Trap” – written and directed by Shea Sizemore – could be made into “a bigger story” in a feature. From Q&A sessions after both free screenings on March 6, White said many of the estimated 250 total viewers were asking about the characters if they movie kept going, “Did they do this? Did they do that?”

“The Chess Player” was “kind of the same way,” he said, where “you could fill in more characters,” however, “My Luchidor” would lack any need for expansion, because “it nailed it in 13 minutes.”

His older sister, Vanna White, from “Wheel of Fortune,” is executive producer of “Crab Trap,” which Chip White said has been entered into 20 film fests already, and resulted from “a lot of support” from Grand Strand residents and businesses.

A father of a 17-year-old football and lacrosse player with whom he is scouting colleges, White said with precious free time to attend film festivals, he loves “sitting back and watching” audience members’ reactions through their faces, by “seeing things registering, and seeing them thinking about it.”

‘Perfect’ timing for festival ‘at our house’

Duane Farmer, the Grand 14’s general manager, said he has known White “since the 1980s” when they “worked in clubs together.” Farmer took in both showings last month of “Crab Trap,” and he’s eager to see the movie and White again, during the 5-7 p.m. block on the festival’s final day.

Farmer said the wait for a few years for the timing to land this festival begins what he sees as a tradition in helping grow the festival further.

“We’re so proud to have it at our house,” he said, calling this “little bit of a lull” between the “art-house Oscar” season and the “summer blockbuster” period that kicks off in May “perfect” for a film festival.

He also voiced the thrill for patrons to meet “directors, cinematographers and cast members” who haven’t been seen widely but aim for greater exposure for their works.

Many directors, actors and production players “started that way,” through marketing and networking at film festivals, Farmer said, naming Quentin Tarantino by example.

Schedule of films

In order per time block, with each film’s country of origin (if not United States), and length in minutes parenthesized:

PRE-SCREENINGS, EACH 6-8 p.m.

▪ Monday – “My Sweet Misery,” from 2009 (107 minutes), which was shot in film in Myrtle Beach, with question-and-after session afterward with Matthew Jordan, the writer, director and producer – and Myrtle Beach native – nearby at Tupelo Honey Cafe.

▪ Tuesday – “Der Sandmann,” from 2011, Switzerland (88 minutes).

APRIL 19

▪ 4-6 p.m. – “Please Remain Seated” (7); “The Mother” (11); “The Alan Dimension” (9); “Relish Our Dogs” (5); “Spark” (20); “Beneath the Crown” (19); “For Your Own Safety,” Germany (15); and “Like Wolves,” Switzerland (20).

▪ 6:30-8:30 p.m. – “My Bakery Blossom,” Germany (14), “Bubbles” (13); and “6 Love Stories” (80).

▪ 8:45-9:45 p.m. – Barbecue dinner and sweat tea from Little Pigs Bar-B-Q of Myrtle Beach, in lobby, for ticket and pass holders.

▪ 10 p.m.-midnight – “Pine Velvet Valley,” Belgium, United Kingdom and Italy (5); “Last Call Lenny” (12); and “The Gun Was Loaded, Stupid!” (96).

APRIL 20

▪ 2-4 p.m. – “One Shot” (9); “Father” (10) and “Ellen Infinity” (16), both Canada; “Drinking Up the Sea,” Switzerland (16); “The Perfect Day,” Spain (12); “Mikelis,” Germany (15); “Rough Waters” (7); and “Burn Out,” Belgium (22).

▪ 4:15-5:15 p.m. – Filmmakers’ open-panel discussion.

▪ 5:30-7:30 p.m. – “Our Wonderful Nature: The Common Chameleon,” Germany (4); “Annabelle Hooper and the Ghosts of Nantucket” (92).

▪ 8-10 p.m. – “Shattered” (5); “The Visit” (13); “Once Always,” Germany (20); “Tata,” Serbia (25); “ROPEd,” Canada (18); and “Hilde,” Germany and Austria (21).

▪ 10 p.m. – Pizza, and tea or soft drinks (cash bar available) at Ultimate California Pizza, across DeVille Street.

APRIL 21

▪ Noon-2 p.m. – “#Selfie,” Germany (7); and “Restoring Tomorrow” (76).

▪ 2:30-4:30 p.m. – “A Spot in the Sky” (10); “Christ/el,” Germany (9); “Foxglove,” Ireland (11); and “Longing for a Kiss,” Germany (87).

▪ 5-7 p.m. – “Jimbo,” United Kingdom (18); and “Family Possessions” (110).

▪ 7:30-9:30 p.m. – “Photobomb” (5); “Eulogilia” (11); and “First Round Down,” Canada (96).

▪ 9:45 p.m. – Ale and beer from New South Brewery of Myrtle Beach, and food, at The Brass Tap, nearby at 3090 DeVille St.

APRIL 22

▪ Noon-2 p.m. – “The Trails and Tribulations of Ending It All” (5); “The Gullah Project” (7); “The Book Artist,” Germany (6); “Shala,” Brazil (11); and “Train to Adulthood,” Hungary (80).

▪ 2:30-4:30 p.m. – “The Peach Man” (6); “Feinkost (Fine Food),” Germany (14); and “New Chefs on the Block” (95).

▪ 5-7 p.m. – “The Cost of Living,” Israel (10); “Crab Trap” (25); “Rose’s Turn” (16); “Turtleface” (24); and “Pitter Patter Goes My Heart,” Germany and Austria (22).

▪ 7:30-9:30 p.m. – Scooter Accident,” Germany (5); “Wolf of Vengeance,” Japan (4); “The Telegram Man,” Australia (14); “Split Ticket” (20); “Hot Set” (17); Hi-Glow Retro” (14); and “Sengatan,” Australia and Indonesia (11).

▪ 9:45 p.m. – Awards ceremony, in theater, then after-party, next door at Co Sushi (cash bar).

Contact Steve Palisin at 843-444-1764.

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