For those starting out in the performing arts – actors, musicians, dancers – playing local shows to local audiences is a given. In a healthy creative scene, a talented new band, for instance, can always find a venue to play.
For local filmmakers, though, it’s a different story. A director with a new short film can’t just book an evening at the multiplex. The good news is that recent advances in technology – and friendly venues – are making it easier for moviemakers to both create and exhibit new films locally.
Such is the case with “Displacement Welcomed,” a 17-minute short film making its local premiere at Motorco in Durham this Sunday. Directed by Raleigh resident and recent East Carolina University graduate Evan Kidd, the film is an original story concerning a chance encounter between two women – one homesick, the other homeless.
Kidd said inspiration for the story came to him last winter.
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“The main catalyst was seeing a lot of the homeless here in North Carolina, and also during a trip I took to Las Vegas,” Kidd said. “One guy there has a sign that read, ‘Don’t give me money, just talk to me.’ He just really wanted to talk. It made me think that everyone has a story, and it’s a story that isn’t over.”
Switzerland to Durham
Kidd wrote the script over the course of a few weeks, then recruited local performers online. Auditions were held via Skype, and the film was shot in four days in Greenville. ECU student Avery Hobbs plays Skylar, a young photographer returning home after a trip to Finland. Wilmington-based actress April Vickery is Norma, a homeless woman with a troubled past.
“No one actually met until the first day on the set,” Kidd explained. “It was interesting, because in the film those two characters are meeting each other for the first time, as well. There was a raw energy. With a very low-budget independent film like this, you use those situations to your advantage.”
Earlier this year, “Displacement” was accepted as an official selection at the 2014 Viewster Online Festival, operated out of Switzerland. “It was cool to do something on the international level, but I wanted to do something local,” Kidd said.
As part of a Triangle area filmmakers group, he’d been to several meet-ups at Motorco. “They’ve been great with supporting local filmmakers and local films, and providing a venue for people to show their work,” Kidd said.
Sunday’s screening is part of the venue’s CineMotorco series, which screens films and multimedia projects from local artists, as well as issue-oriented documentaries and the occasional one-night film fest around a particular theme. Suggested donation at the door is $2, with proceeds going to the Raleigh Rescue Mission.
After the screening, Kidd and several of his cast and crew will be on hand for a Q&A session. The evening will also include a showing of “Spazz Out!” – Kidd’s earlier documentary on the Greenville music scene and the annual event known as Spazz Fest.
Connection to audience
Kidd said that advances in technology have certainly made it easier – and less expensive – to make movies and distribute them digitally.
“You can really fine-tune things with the technology available in 2014, in a way you just couldn’t in 2004 or 1994,” Kidd said. “If you want to make a film, you have fewer excuses. Between renting and buying second-hand, the equipment is no longer impossible to get your hands on.”
“It’s very easy to log on and watch something and stream it,” Kidd said. “But for the filmmakers – and the actors and everyone involved in the film – you don’t really get that connection with an audience. You so rarely get to see the reaction, or engage the audience and see how they’re responding to your work.”