Modern Film Fest hits its stride

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 22, 2011

By Katie Scarvey
The locally-filmed movie “Witness Insecurity” will be premiering at the Modern Film Fest on Saturday, Oct. 1 at the historic Gem Theater in Kannapolis.
The festival, offering a total of 13 films, will also feature a popular zombie walk and costume contest Friday plus a reception Saturday night which will be attended by some of the featured films’ directors and actors.
The festival began in 2009 and has since grown through community support, particularly the city of Kannapolis and Steve Morris of the Gem Theater, says one of the event’s founders, Michael Knox. Without them, Knox says, “we’re a bunch of guys with DVDs.”
Knox says he’s very happy with this year’s lineup of movies and points out that all the movies playing Saturday were shot in North Carolina.
Those include not only “Witness Insecurity” but “Redneck Roots,” “Firewall of Sound,” “The Trial” and “Cold Storage.”
One of the films Knox says he’s most excited about is “A Beginner’s Guide to Endings” with Harvey Keitel, “a great fantastic movie that nobody knows anything about.
“I absolutely love that movie,” says Knox, who saw it first at the River Run Film Festival.
“The goal is to try and find movies that we feel the community will like that will not come to your normal multiplex,” Knox says.
Organizers hope the festival will not only be something the community is proud of but also a destination for film lovers .
“Witness Insecurity” will be screened Saturday night at 7 p.m. The film was written and produced by local physician Eric Troyer. It was shot along the I-85 corridor last summer with locations from Charlotte to Lexington. The film stars Edward Furlong (“Terminator 2” and “Detroit Rock City”) Meat Loaf (“Fight Club”) Ed Asner, Grace Johnston, and Brian Krause, Elaine Hendrix and Rick Ravanello (“Weeds,” “Smallville” “CSI”) among others. Ravanello will be among those attending the reception Saturday.
The film has recently secured domestic and international distribution, says Troyer, who is working to get it into theaters locally.
The storyline follows an accountant in a local crime family who is trying to do the right thing. He enters the witness security program, is found by by the criminals, and must maneuver through the ensuing fallout.
Troyer says the movie is meant to be a hybrid. It’s a thriller, but faith-based and lacking the predictability of many Christian films.
“The goal was to make a good movie that was family-friendly with some potential to be used as a witnessing tool,” he said, adding that the film is a “modern-day Moses story.”
Troyer was happy with the way the film turned out and says that he’s happy when people who have seen the film of say, “It looks like a real movie.”
As long as they’re pleasantly surprised, he’s happy.
Troyer will be at the after-party Saturday night, along with some of the actors of “Witness Insecurity,” including Rick Ravanello.
For the Modern Film Fest schedule of events, see 9D.
Modern Film Fest schedule of Events
Friday, Sept. 30,
4:30 p.m. Registration for Idiot Circle Zombie walk (makeup artists from Paul Mitchell the School Charlotte on hand)
5 p.m. “Mars”
7 p.m. “A Beginner’s Guide to Endings”
7 p.m. Idiot Circle Zombie Walk and costume contest (meets near the Gem)
9 p.m. “The Mole Man of Belmont Avenue” (comedy horror film feature Robert Englund, who plays Freddy Krueger); Costume contest results announced before screening
11 p.m. “The Academy” in the Gem Meeting Room (Modern Film Fest After Hours)
Saturday, Oct. 1
1 p.m. “Redneck Roots” (In this romantic comedy, a young woman ashamed of her redneck past returns home and tries to cover up the truth to her big-city boyfriend.)
3 p.m. “Firewall of Sound” (This documentary looks at how the music industry has been affected by the internet and how independent labels and musicians are using it to reach more listeners.) Following the screening, the film’s director, Devin DiMattia, will discuss with Dolph Ramseur (manager of the Avett Brothers) how digital distribution has changed the music industry.
5 p.m. “The Trial” (In this drama, suicide seems to be the only escape for a small-town attorney after the death of his family, until he’s assigned a capital punishement case that begins to transform his life.)
7 p.m. “Witness Insecurity”
(Faith-based thriller that follows an orphan raised by a crime family who is torn between his loyalty to his adoptive family and his conscience).
After the film, there will be an after party.
9 p.m. “Cold Storage” (In this thriller, an aspiring actress is involved in a horrible auto accident, a simple-minded local comes across the wreckage and takes it upon himself to take her back to his place to nurse her back to health.
Sunday, Oct. 2
1 p.m. “The Darkest Matter”
3 p.m. “The Drummond Will”
5 p.m. “Sneakers and Soul”
7 p.m. “Make a Movie Like Spike”
• • •
Movie admission is $4 per movie. Tickets to the “Witness Insecurity” after party are $10 each but are limited.
Day and weekend passes are also available. A full pass to all films is $40. A full weekend pass with an after-party ticket is $50.
Day passes are $12 Friday, $20 Saturday, and $16 Sunday.
Passes are available at the Modern Film Fest Website. They can also be purchased through the Gem Theatre box office.
For more information, call 704-932-5126.
You can also find more information about the movies being shown at