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Triad filmmakers Cannes do… and you Cannes help!

by Mark Burger

As most of you must know by now – especially if you read YES! Weekly on a regular basis (which everyone should do, by the way) – then you’re probably aware of the fact that the makers of the award-winning short film “JoBeth” are trying to raise the money to attend the Cannes Film Festival in May, where the film will be screened as part of the festival’s Short Film Corner.

Not only was YES! Weekly editor Brian Clarey one of the screenwriters for “JoBeth,” but yours truly was one of the judges who weighed in on its merits at the 48-Hour Film Project in Greensboro last summer. It was there that the film won the awards for best directing (Matt McNeil) and the big one, best film. From there, “JoBeth” wowed ’em at the Filmapalooza festival in San Jose, Calif. in February.

Next stop: Cannes.

The filmmakers, including producer Dustin Keene, want to accompany their little film across the Atlantic Ocean, and have established a website – sendustocannes.com – in an effort to raise the funds necessarily to fly to France and stay some place other than the beach. Of course, if you’ve been reading YES! Weekly, you’ve seen the ads promoting the website within these very pages.

Now, with the clock winding down to Cannes, the “JoBeth” contingent will be having a little party to celebrate their good fortune and to raise money for their trip. It all happens this Wednesday at Greene Street Club (113 N. Greene St., Greensboro).

Not only will this be a fundraiser, but it’ll also be a “fun raiser” – as a hurried Dustin Keene misspelled in a hasty e-mail to this reporter the other week.

That’s the sort of Freudian slip that is much appreciated by the folks at YES! Weekly, and it bodes well for the event. Much of the cast and crew are expected to be on hand, and there will be a screening of the film as well.

Let’s face it, people: These filmmakers, wacky though they are, need your time, your attention, and – dammit – they need your money. Send them to France! Let them experience for themselves what we euphemistically call the French Connection. (Greatest movie ever made, by the way.)

The $5 cover charge, which even a starving freelance writer can afford, includes such niceties as the Natty Greene’s beer and food generously provided by Hooter’s and Jimmy John’s subs.

There will also be a silent auction with items including artwork by local artists (among them Erik Beerbower and Frank Russell), products from 20/20 Skincare and much more. The idea of a “Win a Date with Mark Burger” raffle was scratched immediately because that would undoubtedly raise too much money for the trip. They wouldn’t know what to do with all that extra cash. But, hey, make me an offer. Anything to support local filmmaking.

The event will also feature an all-star lineup of local music talent, including Evan Olson, Pat Rock, Mark Kano, Mike Garrigan, Walrus and Marcus Horth. Maybe you win a date with them.

All kidding aside, nothing like this has really ever happened here before. True, some filmmakers in the area have taken movies to Cannes – but not like this. This is one-in-a-million, Rod Serling “Twilight Zone” kind of stuff, a sentiment also expressed (without the Serling reference – that was mine) by no less than an authority than Rebecca Clark, the Piedmont Triad film commissioner, who has also expressed her excitement about “JoBeth”‘s selection. Both Keene and Clarey have told me in numerous occasions that they still can’t quite believe that all of this is happening.

Well, it is happening. Right here and right now.

Not since the Allies stormed the beaches at Normandy on D-Day has there been anything remotely like this. Would that de Gaulle be alive to see the Americans arrive in triumph. The French won’t know what hit ’em. Again.

Rumors to the effect that “JoBeth” will be screened outdoors in Paris against a giant screen on the Arc d’Triomphe in the city of Paris are greatly exaggerated… but it’s one hell of an idea.

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