Whirligig Stage

Front windows of Whirligig Stage located at 628 S. Pitt St.

Independent filmmakers of eastern North Carolina will be able to showcase their films to the Greenville community at the Down East Flick Fest this weekend.

The third Down East Flick Fest will be held on Friday and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. each day at Whirligig Stage at 628 S. Pitt St. in downtown Greenville.

Eighteen films will be screened throughout the two days, varying from short to feature length films. The films also vary in genre from horror, animation, science fiction, drama, experimental and documentary.

Celestine Davis, director of the Down East Flick Fest and the Pitt County representative of North Carolina Writers’ Network, started the festival along with fellow writers in the Greenville area.

“We started putting it together in 2014. It started at the Tipsy Teapot, which is now Crave, as a writers’ group. The festival just grew out of that,” Davis said. “We did our first actual film festival in 2015 and continued in 2016. Last year, we didn’t have one but we’re going to make sure it stays a steady force in the Greenville region.”

The film festival is free for all interested in independent filmmaking. A full schedule of the festival is available on the event’s Facebook page. During the first day of the festival, seven films will be shown and there will be a special screening of “In the Pursuit of Justice” at 5:30 p.m.

“In the Pursuit of Justice” is a documentary on the false conviction and eventual release of Greg Taylor. The filmmakers behind the documentary, Gregg Jamback and Jamie Huss, will talk about their film following the screening and take questions from the audience.

Jamback and Huss have a history with the Down East Flick Fest and took home the top prize in the first event.

“We showed a 30 minute version of this story in 2015 and won the ‘Best in Fest’ award,” Jamback said. “So we have a special place in our heart for the Down East Flick Fest.”

Jamback said he and Huss were interested in bring their film to a North Carolina film festival because they feel it is a “North Carolina story.”

“Greenville’s a nice little community and The North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission process has freed a couple of people in that neck of the woods, so it seemed like a good place to go,” Jamback said.

During the second night of the festival, the remaining 11 films will be shown. After the screenings, there will be a panel of seasoned filmmakers and other professionals. The title of the panel will be “Films that Win: Using Creativity and Trends to Your Advantage” which will discuss different ways filmmakers can create “winning” films.

For Davis, it is important all filmmakers come away from the festival feeling accomplished and having experiences which can help them down the road in their filmmaking careers.

“Everybody’s a winner at the Down East Flick Fest. To be an official selection in a festival is a big deal for a filmmaker,” Davis said. “We try to make sure that everybody is recognized because some films were eliminated. So the fact that they’re in the festival means they’re a winner.”

According to Davis, of the 18 films selected for the festival, only a third of them are from eastern North Carolina with others coming from as far as Spain, France and Iran.

“People send in films from all over, we never know what we’re going to get,” Davis said. “With the internet, there’s no limit to what you can do.”

Davis wants to create a “more welcoming showcase for all filmmakers” and build something for other artists. She wants to use the festival as a way to provide opportunities for other filmmakers in the region and to inspire young people who think films are something that come from “far away.”

“My goal, as festival director and as a part of the core group, is to encourage more local filmmakers to participate and to create more opportunity for local filmmakers,” Davis said. “We’re very interested in developing a filmmakers hub in eastern North Carolina.”

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