From films about dance, culture and even horror, here are 10 film festivals and movie screenings in and around Raleigh to enjoy this spring
by Emma Deal
This spring welcomes not only new plant life and warmer weather, but also new films. Catch these film showings and events, both indoor and outdoor, near the Triangle to recognize new and upcoming filmmakers.
The Gregg Museum Eco Film Series
Three exciting nature films will be shown at the Gregg Museum as they bring back their Eco Film Series in celebration of Earth Month. There will be three free screenings of new and exciting nature films. First, on Tuesday, April 4 at 3 p.m. is the documentary The Human Element that shows how the four elements — air, earth, water and fire — are being altered by the fifth element of human activity. Second, on Wednesday, April 5 at 3 p.m. is the documentary RiverBlue which examines the fashion industry’s destruction of our rivers, its effect on humanity and the solutions that inspire hope for a sustainable future. Lastly, on Thursday, April 6 at 6 p.m. is the hybrid feature/documentary 2040 about the global journey of Australian actor, director and producer Damon Gameau as he meets the innovators and changemakers pioneering the best solutions already available to us today to improve the health of our planet and societies.
April; 1903 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh; gregg.arts.ncsu.edu
Beyond the Beat Film Premiere and Art Party
Beyond the Beat is an uplifting documentary about the power of creativity to inspire hope and healing. Be the first to see the film and stick around for an arts-infused after-party. Get to the Independent Picture House at 6:30 p.m. for photo opportunities with the filmmakers. Following the film, take part in a Q&A with the directors and, after the film, join an arts party that reflects the uplifting, creative energy of Beyond the Beat at The Charlotte Art League (attached to the theatre).
April 6 / 6:30-10:30 p.m.; $25; 4237 Raleigh Street, Charlotte; bluemarb.com
RiverRun Film Festival in Winston Salem
For a weekend getaway, make an hour-and-half drive to visit Winston-Salem’s annual RiverRun Film Festival. Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, the Academy Award-qualifying film festival will showcase a variety of narrative, documentary, student, animated and short films from all genres. This festival will present feature-length and short films from all genres from new narrative to documentary to student and animated films. In addition to a range of films from both emerging and established filmmakers, RiverRun will also hold special events, regional premieres of significant films, celebrity tributes, family events and classic retrospectives as well as panel discussions and parties.
April 13-22; 301 N. Main Suite 2606, Winston-Salem; filmfreeway.com/RiverRun
American Dance Festival’s Movies by Movers
American Dance Festival’s (ADF) Movies By Movers is a multi-faceted festival, dedicated to the celebration of conversation between body, movement and camera. This festival highlights the collaborative history between the ephemeral art of live performance and the perpetual nature of film. Come celebrate ADF’s 90th anniversary and enjoy all types of dance and movement from modern dance to ballet, jazz and parkour. Visit ADF’s website for details on each performance and film screening.
April 15 – Sept. 30; americandancefestival.org
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back In Concert
The trilogy continues! Don’t miss one of the most popular films of all time, shown on the big screen as the North Carolina Symphony with conductor Conner Gray Covington performs John Williams’ legendary score live—secure your seats early for this unforgettable cinematic concert event!
May 4 | 7:30 p.m. & May 5-6 | 8 p.m.; 2 East South Street, Raleigh; martinmariettacenter.com
Spring Movie on the Lawn
Watch a well known movie to celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month with NAMI and Alliance Health at Dorothea Dix Park this spring. The park will have wellness focused activities for kids and families to enjoy followed by a showing of the movie Inside Out. Bring a blanket or low beach chairs to sit on, enjoy the food trucks and take in the beautiful scenery of Flowers Field while celebrating Mental Health Awareness Month with this family-friendly film.
May 6 | 6-10 p.m.; Flowers Field, 1030 Richardson Drive, Raleigh; dorotheadixpark.org
The Longleaf Film Festival
Held at the North Carolina Museum of History, the Longleaf Film Festival is a free-to-attend, yearly festival that highlights the best of independent film. This year’s festival screens films that demonstrate a Tar Heel State connection, whether through the people involved in making them, their filming location or their subject. Celebrate stories that connect us all, starting with an afternoon film block, followed by a public reception for filmmakers and friends and an outdoor Movies-N-Moonlight screening block on Friday. Films will be screened in several locations of the museum, while workshops and panels will run Saturday before concluding with the annual awards presentation and an off-site “Wrap Party” at a nearby pub.
May 12-13, 5 E. Edenton Street, Raleigh; longleaffilmfestival.com
Bull City International Film Festival
Bull City International Film Festival supports new media and independent filmmaking in North Carolina and around the world. As a competition that both engages audiences with new cultural and entertainment opportunities while offering competitors the chance to get recognition at bigger venues to connect with other film festivals, and one on one consultations with literary managers and producers, BCFF is a great way to support new artists. The 2023 lineup will showcase excellent writing and filmmaking with character driven plots and insightful stories relying on human expression more than special effects.
May 12-13; Prices TBA; 732 9th Street, Durham; filmfreeway.com
Reel Out Charlotte
The Queen City’s Annual LGBTQ Film Festival Reel Out Charlotte will be held at Charlotte’s The Independent Picture House this spring. This five-day-long festival celebrates the beauty of independent cinema and LGBTQ lives, loves and triumphs on the big screen.
May 17-21; 4237 Raleigh Street., Charlotte; charlottepride.org
Transformers Outdoor Showing
Grab a blanket and lawn chair and head to the Stephenson Amphitheatre for an outdoor screening of the 2007 blockbuster Transformers. As a part of Raleigh Little Theatre’s Movies in the Garden Series, this May screening will be accompanied by outdoor food trucks from Chick-N-Que, Majestic Ice, JAM Soft Serve Ice Cream and Raleigh Brewing Company. Guests are also welcome to bring their own food and nonalcoholic drinks as they watch Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) join forces with the Autobots to save the world from the villainous Decepticons.
May 25 | 8:30 p.m.; Pay what you can, starting at $1; 301 Pogue Street; raleighlittletheatre.org
Carolina Fear Fest
Celebrate all things terrifying with fellow horror movie lovers at Carolina Fear Fest. Meet horror movie celebrity guests for autographs, meet and greets, Q&A’s and more, while you shop one-of-a-kind pieces from horror artists, SFX artists, fan-created products and industry collectables from makers, crafters, artists and collectors. Located at the NC State Fairgrounds, this festival will have 100,000 square feet of horror filled fun.
May 26-28 / 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; 4285 Trinity Road, Raleigh; carolinafearfest.com
Campus Movie Fest
If you are a college student interested in getting your creative genius out into the world, join Campus Movie Fest (CMF). CMF is the world’s largest student film festival. Founded in 2001 by four then-students at Emory University, for over 20 years CMF has provided young filmmakers all of the equipment, training, and support they needed to make a five-minute movie in a week. Now, students from colleges all over the country are able to join. Students who sign up will have a team and be given the equipment they need to make their own movie. Each movie must be less than or equal to 5 minutes in length and you must film and edit your movie all within the Moviemaking Week. The Moviemaking Week for 2023 is April 4 -10, so take your chance to win and have your film screened in Hollywood this June.
Winner screened June 16; campusmoviefest.com