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Burger talks movies, music and a pat on the back

by Mark Burger

Music fans hereabouts know Shalini Chatterjee as a talented singer/songwriter, and a member of the group Shalini (guess where they got the name?), but music isn’t her only passion.

Shalini’s latest undertaking is the Revolve Film and Music Festival, a year-round regional film festival that will screen films throughout the year, in various parts of the state, and then coagulate into a fully-fledged, week-long film festival scheduled for early June, and intended to span from Winston-Salem to Chapel Hill).

It’s Shalini’s ambition to sustain the festival as the only year-round regional festival in the state – “Triad to Triangle.”

This early in the festival’s existence, Shalini, who worked for a time at the RiverRun International Film Festival in Winston-Salem, is enthusiastically testing the waters and exploring the boundaries. The Revolve Festival will include international films, but she’s also intent on including a local component. Area filmmakers are encouraged to check out the festival’s website (revolvefestival.com) and submit their films.

In terms of programming, she says, “We’re looking for something fun and something with an individual personality.”

The next festival event will take place Saturday in 111 Carswell Hall on the campus of Wake Forest University, home of the Demon Deacons. First up is the world premiere of Mary Dalton’s documentary short “Knitting Lessons,” followed by the Triad premiere of Marlo Poras’ documentary feature Run, Granny, Run, which won the Audience Award at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas last year.

Tickets are $7 and are available only through the website.

Following the screening, there will be a reception at “Revolve HQ” (1012 W. 5th St., Winston-Salem), featuring an informal question-and-answer session with filmmaker Mary Dalton. (Bring your ticket stubs; they’re required for admittance.)

The plan is to screen one film per month (or a feature combined with a short), followed by an after-party with music and art. The festival is meant, Shalini says, “to have a film and music and art bent.”

Although she’s a performer, Shalini isn’t planning on also being the “music” component of the festival’s events. As she noted with a laugh, she’s already got her hands full working behind the scenes. Rest easy, however, it doesn’t mean she’s giving up one for the other.

Balancing a successful music career (Shalini’s latest album, released last year, is Surface and the Shine) and a burgeoning film festival isn’t easy, she admits. “I don’t get much sleep. It’s ’round-the-clock work, but I’m used to that because of being a musician.”

Creating the Revolve Festival was simply an extension of her regard and respect for different forms of art. “I have ideas,” she says. “I have a lot of work experience and a lot of life experience. Right away, I knew: I can do this.”

For more information about the festival, see the website (which I’ve listed already), e-mail revolvefestival@earthlink.net or call 336.722.8238.

In closing, a round of applause and a word of congratulations for the Little Theatre of Winston-Salem, which was awarded the community theatre of the year award by the NC Theatre Conference at the NCTC Fall Gathering in Fayetteville.

The theater was so honored for its quality of performance, excellence in leadership, and its many collaborative works within the community.

In other words, it’s the very definition of a community theater. Go ahead, look it up in the dictionary. I’ll bet the official Little Theatre logo is right there!

This is yet another milestone for the organization, which has had its ups and downs in the past, but has soldiered through a remarkable 73 years – and with many more to come. When they said, “The show must go on,” the Little Theatre heard and obeyed.

With its board of directors, full- and part-time staff members and volunteers (more than 400), the Little Theatre of Winston-Salem isn’t slowing down in its “old age.” Coming up next is the mainstage production of The Foreigner, which opens Feb. 1 and runs through Feb. 10 at the Arts Council Theatre (610 Coliseum Drive, Winston-Salem).

For tickets or more information about the Little Theatre, check out littletheatreonline.com or call 336.725.4001.

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