The sixth annual Terrace Charleston Film Festival, March 12-15, continues its streak of offering a heady mix of local and international feature films and documentaries.
And if the movies don’t lure you to the Terrace Theater, maybe the food will.
The festival begins with a gastronomical bang: “Deli Man,” a documentary about the history of delicatessens in the U.S., will be screened at 7 p.m. Thursday, paired with the short comedy “Coffee Date” (which isn’t really about coffee, though java makes its appearance). That night, Butcher & Bee’s head chef Stuart Tracy will be on hand to talk about curing pastrami.
Then on Friday night, “Overalls and Aprons,” a documentary about sustainability featuring the Charleston food scene, screens at the primetime hour. Filion Farms, a local food producer highlighted in the film, will organize a pig roast at the Terrace after the screening.
The festival also will present the critically acclaimed feature “Timbuktu,” the first movie from Mauritania to compete for a “Best Foreign Film” Oscar; “Human Capital,” Italy’s 2014 Oscar entry, which opened the Nuovo Cinema Italiano Film Festival at the Sottile Theatre in November; and David Cronenberg’s satire “Maps to the Stars,” starring Julianne Moore, John Cusack and Mia Wasikowska.
“After six consistent years of our March festival, we are able to glean the best local, national and international dramas and documentaries,” organizer Paul Brown said. “What I’m most pleased about is the quality of the local submissions, and the number of local feature-length productions was unsurpassed (by) other years. We are also thrilled about the variety of speakers and events surrounding the festival this year. Diversity is the key word with our events this year.”
One of those local submissions is “America Street,” a feature drama set and filmed in Charleston. Written and directed by Travis Pearson, and co-produced by Pearson and Carminski Latten, the movie features actors Jason West, Shalanda Davis, Devon Mcdonald and Juan Angulo. It’s about a protagonist called Bucks who, released from prison after a seven-year stint, re-enters civilian life. He gets some help from caring people and learns about himself in the process.
“Most of my work has always dealt with the black community,” Pearson told The Post and Courier in November, when his film was first screened at the Terrace. “When I read ‘The New Jim Crow’ by Michelle Alexander, that book (about mass incarceration) really moved me. I wanted to make a film loosely inspired by that, and by people I’ve come across.”
Another movie with local ties is David Weintaub’s documentary, “Call of the Ancient Mariner.” Filmed primarily around Charleston, the film examines the ways in which sea turtles have captured man’s imagination over the centuries. Sally Hopkins-Murphy, a former biologist with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, and David Owens, a turtle expert at the College of Charleston, will join Weintraub for the world premiere of his movie and a question-and-answer session following each screening.
Other films on tap include “Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem,” about the difficulty Orthodox Jewish women have in obtaining a divorce, and “Escobar: Paradise Lost,” starring Benicio del Toro. Five blocks of short films are scheduled, including two (on Saturday and Sunday) highlighting local shorts.
The festival hosts special guest Michelle Maheaux, executive director and chief operating officer of the Toronto International Film, who on Saturday night will introduce the movie “ ’71” by Yann Demange, which enjoyed big success in Toronto last year.
This year, the College of Charleston’s African-American Studies Program is getting in the act, co-sponsoring the screening of “Timbuktu” by director Abderrahmane Sissako and helping to arrange a festival appearance by documentary filmmaker (and Charleston resident) Idrissou Mora Kpai.
Producers Sue and Lloyd Ecker will discuss their movie, “The Outrageous Sophie Tucker,” live via Skype at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, the final day of the festival.
Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online at www.terracetheater.com or at the festival box office at the Terrace. An opening reception is scheduled for 6 p.m. March 12. For a full festival schedule, go to www.terracetheater.com.
Reach Adam Parker at 937-5902. Follow him at www.facebook.com/aparkerwriter.