Oliver J. Crooms IV was a music producer until he discovered about a year ago that he had an eye for directing. So he combined his talents.
“A lot of magic has happened since then, and that magic is more quality in my videos,” the Charlotte filmmaker said. “It’s crafted like a short film, with a thread line and story arc, actors and dialogue.”
Crooms is among the filmmakers whose work will be screened in Raleigh’s own cultural explosion of film – and art too – just in time for October’s designation as National Arts and Humanities Month.
The Raleigh Film & Art Festival is Oct. 14-16 at Marbles Kids Museum in downtown Raleigh.
Crooms, 31, created a gospel music video, “Motivation,” that will be screened during the festival.
“There should be a place for artists of film, music, art, entertainment and entrepreneurship – in the heart of North Carolina’s capital city,” he said.
In its third year, the indie-film festival is a platform for diverse independent filmmakers worldwide to showcase their talent.
The event is the brainchild of Raleigh visual artist Christopher Terrell, who first introduced the festival in 2013. Then synced with First Friday, the inaugural event showcased art’s diversity with a two-evening exploration of culinary, visual and performing arts.
The next year, Terrell purchased the rights to the Raleigh Film Festival and merged the arts and film. Over the years, Terrell hosted the three-day festival monthly, still in tandem with First Friday.
But for the first time this year, it’s an all-in-one weekend event. The change allows Terrell more time to research films, artists and venues.
And it “builds people’s anticipation for one grand event each year,” he said. “It’s all the things that make us the Raleigh Film Festival. It’s a cultural explosion.”
Friday is opening night from 6 to 11 p.m. It begins with live music, painting and spoken word poetry.
The featured artist will be Dasan Ahanu, who holds the Harvard University Nasir Jones Hip-Hop Fellowship. The fellowship was established in 2013 by Def Jam’s multi-platinum artist Nas, the Hip-Hop Archive & Research Institute and the W.E.B. Du Bois Research Institute at Harvard.
Beginning at 7 p.m. opening night, guests can choose from two full-length feature films. The screenings will be followed by a meet-and-greet with the films’ writers, directors and producers.
Saturday is filled with screenings of mid-length and experimental films. Sunday features short films and music videos, followed by awards presentations for all film categories.
A private jury will be in attendance, watching and voting throughout the festival, Terrell said.
Of the 58 submissions to the Raleigh Film & Art Festival, an independent panel of reviewers chose 18 to screen.
Like Crooms, Raleigh filmmaker Michael Howard stumbled upon filmmaking. For him, it was while reading entry-level scripts for a Francis Ford Coppola film company in California.
By the time he moved to Raleigh in 2004, Howard had taken the plunge and produced “a handful” of his own scripts, mostly short films. He’d also logged some acting and cinematography gigs.
His most recent feature film will have a screen during Raleigh’s festival. “Where We’re Meant to Be” touches on various aspects of life and the connections between how we handle situations and the impact those decisions have on other people.
“It’s always a great thing to be accepted at a festival, show the film publicly and get more eyes on it,” said Howard, 38, who already has won best film and audience-choice awards and other nominations at other festivals.
“I’m definitely grateful the Raleigh Film Festival took a chance on it,” he said of “Where We’re Meant to Be.” “Hopefully, we’ll get a new audience and get even more people interested in seeing it.”
Find out more
To learn more about the Raleigh Film & Art Festival, go to www.raleighfilmandartfestival.com/.