Carolina Film Festival

Interview withCarolina Film Festival Founder – Oliver Crooms:

Share with us a brief history of the Carolina Film Festival…

Carolina Film Festival is an event that started the year of 2018 in Charlotte NC. Our first location was at Johnston & Wales University, and hosted by NC’s very own actress Hope Jordan. Our first year consisted of six categories “Best Short,” “Best Trailer,” “Best Drone,” “Best Music Video,” “Best Director,” and “Most Creative.” Our QA Panel consisted of three pioneers in the industry: Marcus Small (Directed TV shows for Bravo, MTV, Lifetime, etc.), Joslyn Hall (Actress from FX’s Atlanta), and Eric Small (Executive Film Producer). Our humanitarian award was given to NC’s very own Tonya Rivens.

What was your motivation to start the festival?

My motivation with starting the Carolina Film Festival was to leave an impactful legacy that benefits and motivates filmmakers from all over the world…and shines a bright light on North and South Carolina. What makes us different from other festival is that each year we pledge to hold our festival in a different city in NC and SC. In doing so this bridges the gap between the film community as a whole and local Carolinians. I also want the Carolina Film Festival to help people outside of entertainment, so we’ve partnered with Emerald School of Excellence. Emerald is the first high school in North or South Carolina that is dedicated to students who are battling drug addiction and substance abuse disorder.

What can filmmakers and festivals goes expect from the 2019 CFF?

What people can expect from the Carolina Film Festival is an inviting yet professional event. We have a red carpet function with Sir Purr from the Carolina Panthers, an amazing opportunity for networking with filmmakers from all around the country, a meaningful learning experience from our Q&A panel of celebrity guest, and of course an amazing time enjoying great films.

What role is CFF hoping to play for the filmmakers in the Carolinas?

Carolina Film Festival is already playing a great role for filmmakers in different ways. One is politics, we have met with Senator Paul Lowe Jr. in discussions about Senate Bill 57 that he is sponsoring. This bill would reenact the previous beneficial tax credit that was given to studio/filmmakers who filmed movies in North Carolina. We also play a great role for filmmakers by being a platform for up-and-coming talent. The winner of our “Best Short” category was a film call “Other Side Of The Box” by Nick Coppola. After our festival, Nick has now propelled to great things including winning an award at South By Southwest.

What do you see as the future of independent film production for the Carolinas?

Thanks to Senator Lowe, other political figures, and the many filmmakers here in the Carolinas, I see a bright future for the indie film community here. Once the tax credit is reenacted, it will give us a friendly competitive edge over our neighbor Georgia, especially with the anti-abortion bill that is making some studio reconsider keeping GA as their home.

In your opinion, what is the biggest misconception of indie filmmaking – and what can indie filmmakers do to change that misconception?

The biggest misconception of indie filming is that they are all too artsy and cannot relate to everyone out there who enjoys fun and excitement but also enjoys a great story. I’ve come across many indie films that are incredible in all types of genres (Drama, Action, Horror, Fantasy, Religious, Comedy, and more). We can overcome this misconception by doubling our efforts and give these films and filmmakers the platform they deserve.


The dates for the 2019 Carolina Film Festival are October 19th & 20th, 2019 in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Submissions are now open – Click HERE for details.

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