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110 E. Main St. Suite #3
Oak Hill, WV 25901

by Barry Omaload

The Courtyard Gallery is pleased to announce that the 14th Annual Twin Rivers Media Festival that moved to Asheville, North Carolina two years ago, opened with screenings and audio events on May 2, 3, and 4, in the Courtyard and Courtyard Gallery.

“I am delighted to see more entries this year from Asheville and Western North Carolina,” states Carlos Steward, festival director.  “ Of the 480 entries so far, this year we have over ten entries from the area competing for the Western North Carolina Media Acheivement Award, including  Lis Anna from Out of Our Mind Productions,  Matthew Buys, Ron Hubbard and Thomas Olivar with a short drama”

The other entries from throughout the US and the world include entries from Switzerland, the UK, Russia, Spain, Greece, Iran, Thailand, Canada, Denmark, Sweden, Portugal, Japan, France, Italy, Israel, South Africa, and Ireland.  This year’s festival includes 102 World premiers, and 8 more North American premiers, promising exciting new film experiences for our audiences in Western North Carolina.

The festival, took place at the Courtyard Galleries and Courtyards with the feature film winner screened in the weekly World Cinema Series.  The festival continued May 3rd with screenings and audio artists at the gallery and courtyard. Screenings and workshops continued Sunday May 4th at the Courtyard gallery at 2pm. Please see www.ashevillecourtyard.com for a complete schedule listing.   

“Typically, the festival has been a strong competition between film schools throughout the country and Canada,” explains Carlos Steward, director of the festival,  NYU, Florida State Film School, San Francisco Art Institute and the Vancouver Film School as well as lesser known film programs, have all won top honors in previous years, sending in their strongest student works each year. “   “Documentaries and Animation have also been strong with Public Service TV stations and animators, sending in their best work,” said Steward. “ We have premiered many feature films, like ‘Anarchy TV’ by Moon Unit and Dweezil Zappa from Los Angeles, Electra from Belguim,  and ‘Frida’ a film about the life and times of Frida Kahlo  a few years ago.”

Steward looks forward to the third year of the  festival in Asheville, “We have some of the strongest entries we have ever seen in Animation this year, with great entries from the US, South Africa and Ireland. “This year is an especially high quality festival, not only in animation but with outstanding, feature films, documentaries, short drama and audio art being screened and performed,” said Steward.

“Being a media festival has some advantages as we are one of the few in the country accepting scriptwriting and audio art. We also have special awards for outdoor subjects and films and videos made on a Macintosh Computer.” All media made in the past three years are eligible in any format. Categories include: Animation, Features, Short Drama, Narrative, Experimental, Commercial, Documentary, Outdoor, and Soundtrack.  Audio Artists, Scriptwriters and DVD and CD multimedia artists are encouraged to enter as well in any category. There are divisions for students, non-students and distributors.

Entry forms and complete information about the festival can be downloaded from the festival website at: www.twinriversmediafestival.com or by calling 828-273-3332.

Previous entries are screened at the new Courtyard Gallery Open Mic events hosted by Jarrett Leone and throughout the year before the World Cinema Series every Friday night. “This is an excellent way for Asheville producers and media artists to view the strength of the festival in the past and prepare or this year’s competition,” Steward said.

After attending the festival, I found the entries to be superior to any festival in the South and light years ahead of the local film festival. Particularly strong were the Animations, Short Drama and Documentary films. "On the Down Low" by Thomas Oliver was a remarkable outdoor film winner. "Karearea" directed by Sandy Crichton , about the New Zealand Pine Falcons was a clear documentary winner.  Experimental films like Rakugakiiromachi by Kasumi Hiraoka of Japan contained outstanding cinematography. The Feature film winner "Fix" by Tao Ruspoli, demonstrated first person narrative style that really worked and award winning sound quality. Short films and annimation like Cecilia Rose, by Judd King of California and "Speedy" and " The Finer Things in Life", animated by Tim Mostert of South Africa placed this festival in the top ten in the country!

Another real advantage of the Twin Rivers Film Festival is that it is located in the most beautiful and artistic area in the US. You can go whitewater rafting, or hike the Blue Ridge Parkway, mountain bike take a sightseeing trolley tour of Asheville. Great Green businesses abound in Asheville. Take a tour of a organic vegan candy bar company, a street rod transmission company, organic baby clothing store, discount shoe store, uniquie artist designed urn shop, web and seo design studio and gallery asheville, nc.

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