Not since last month's Full Frame festival has there been such a good week to watch documentary short subjects. The first of two unrelated events will showcase recent work by local filmmakers (see Tuesday's listing in this section for the second event). Anytown, USA is a collection of 11 student shorts made in Star, a Montgomery County town that has about 800 residents. The filmmakers are students of Center for Documentary Studies instructor Randy Benson, who has conducted similar projects in Smithfield, Bladenboro and Pittsboro.
The results suggest variations on Vernon, Florida, the quirky 1981 film that put Errol Morris on the map. Among the subjects: the community of people who maintain the town's cemetery; the challenges faced by New Orleans transplants who start a business in Star; a father-son bluegrass fiddle team performing in the town's fiddlers' convention, the state's oldest; and a mysterious hotelier who appears to dress in a style that crosses Vegas Elvis with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. (Among the filmmakers is Indy Editor Lisa Sorg, whose film chronicles a creaky pink farmhouse that becomes enlisted in the town's revitalization efforts.)
This program promises to introduce audiences both to new filmmakers and to an unfamiliar region of the state. Our only suggestion is to take a cue from Morris and call it Star, North Carolina. The free event begins at 7 p.m. —David Fellerath