Thanks to all who helped send us to Cannes

by Brian Clarey

In a couple months it will have been eight years since I moved here from New Orleans, just a few weeks after my thirtieth birthday with my wife and two-week-old son in tow.

I didn’t know a soul here, save for my in-laws with whom I had a fleeting acquaintance. And I had neither a job nor any real prospects for one.

If you had told me eight years ago what my life would be like now, I would not have believed the tale: a more or less stable marriage, three kids, a mortgage, a job as editor of the area’s alternative weekly, hundreds of friends and acquaintances in this place that I once fantasized about leaving in the dust.

And, of course, a writing credit on a film that will be screened in Cannes in a few weeks. That one really blows me away when I stop and think about it.

But all of these accomplishments – if you can call them that – are interrelated. I would not have come here to live had it not been for my wife and first child. I would not have met so many people here if I had not desperately taken work in the restaurant business. I would not have gotten this job without elbow grease and networking. I would not have worked on “JoBeth,” that little film that’s taken on a life of its own, if not for the job I currently hold as editor of YES! Weekly. And I would not be going to France with the Keene Collaboration team if it weren’t for the good people of the Triad who saw fit to kick in and send us there.

Everything seems to have happened so fast, though it was last August when we got together for the weekend to write, shoot and edit “JoBeth.” I was on Long Island drinking beers in my friend Espo’s backyard when I found out we won the Greensboro 48 Hour Film Competition later in the summer. And I was sitting in my office pulling hours on a Sunday when Dustin Keene called me from the airport near San Jose, Calif. to tell me we had been selected for the screening at Cannes.

Whip, whoosh, zoom.

That was just a couple months ago. And when we found out about the film festival, instead of turning out our empty pockets and shrugging our shoulders, we instead looked to the region that nurtured us, enabled us to get to this point in our creative lives.

In my case, certainly, that’s true: I can trace so many of the good things that have happened in my life back to the day my wife and I left New Orleans in a rented truck with a brand new baby, fear in our eyes, and we never looked back.

We set up the website,, and put into motion a modest media campaign. We told everyone we knew about our impending trip to the south of France, and they seemed genuinely excited.

And last week we held our fundraiser on the rooftop deck of the Greene Street Club.

No fewer than 200 people came to show their support, many of them old, old friends with an equal number of faces I had never before seen. The items of the silent auction – donated by close allies in our mission of purpose – fetched fair prices. And beatific benefactor laid a check on us towards the end of the evening that put us in reach of our goal.

Yes, we are going to France in just a couple weeks to watch our film, shot right here in the Triad, be screened at the most prestigious festival in the world. And we couldn’t have done it without you.

Thank you. Thank you to everyone who contributed in thought and deed to our quest for Cannes. Your generosity effuses our spirits. Your support gives us firm footing on unsure ground. We quite literally could not have done this without you, and the experience is one that has left a permanent mark on our collective psyche.

I, for one, am truly touched.

If you had told me eight years ago, before my hairline headed for high ground and the pressures of adulthood etched lines of love and worry into my face, that the people of Greensboro and the Triad would be sending me to France… well, I would have thought you were nuts.

And eight years from now, when this sterling moment has faded into a warm glow in the rear-view mirror, I will remember this time of creation, fellowship and generosity. It will forever exist as a high point in the story of my life.

Thank you again, one and all.

For questions or comments email Brian Clarey at