Breaking News: Introducing the Charleston International Film Festival

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There's a new festival in town.

Called the Charleston International Film Festival, the new event hopes to showcase the cinematic talents and visual creativity of Charleston and the Lowcountry, as well as independent work from international directors and producers, in the way that Spoleto showcases the performing arts from around the world.

The first-time event is slated for four days starting May 1, 2008. It plans to offer more than 40 short films, documentaries, and feature-length movies. The location is scheduled to be the Terrace Theater on James Island. Like most film festivals, there will be an awards show and banquet. It will also feature an after-party for four consecutive nights, said Summer Spooner, the festival director.

"The idea is to educate the community about the art and science of film," Spooner said. "I fell in love with the art and culture that's here. I knew it was the right thing to do to bring a film festival to Charleston."

The festival, which has an estimated operating budget of about $50,000, according to Spooner, will be the first of its kind in nearly a decade since WorldFest-Charleston International Film Festival relocated in 1998.

Spooner has been the director of the Beverly Hills Film Festival since 2004. When her business partner, Brian Peacher, suggested they explore establishing a film festival in his native city (he grew up in the Lowcountry), Spooner agreed. By November, they had launched a website.

From now until May, they will be soliciting sponsors, including national corporations like Anheuser-Busch and Visa, while inviting local, regional, and international filmmakers to submit their best work for consideration.

The line-up of the festival will be announced in March. The projected number of attendees, according to the press material I received today, is about 15,000. Organizers anticipate that about 55 percent will be men; about 45 percent women.

The primary demographic, furthermore, is between ages 18 and 39. They are "affluent and discerning," "hip and open to trying new things," "active, successful, worldly influencers," technologically savvy," and "attracted to luxury," according to the press material.

Hmm, kinda sounds like someone who reads City Paper.

For more about the festival, plus instructions on how to submit work for consideration, visit www.charlestoniff.com.

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