Hollywood Gala Kicks Off

Published 11:25 pm Thursday, September 19, 2019

Tryon International Film Festival


Tryon International Film Festival 2019 will kick off its fifth year of bringing the world’s most-promising films to the Carolina Foothills with a star-studded gala and a special screening of the much-anticipated feature film for 2020, Foster Boy. The Southern-chic affair will be Friday, Oct. 11, at the Tryon Fine Arts Center, starting at 6 p.m. It will include hors d’oeuvres, wine and beer, and a reception for the filmmakers and actors who created the 64 films featured in this year’s festival.

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 “This is always an exciting night to remember,” festival co-founder Beau Menetre said. “We literally roll out a red carpet and go total Hollywood with lights, cameras, and action. Men in tuxedos; women in long sparkling gowns; paparazzi. I am especially psyched about this year and this opening gala because — hopefully — one of our special guests will be Louis Gossett Jr., one of Hollywood’s most respected actors.”

In Foster Boy, Gossett portrays a judge presiding over a lawsuit that accuses a for-profit foster-home agency of placing a child in a home with a known sex offender. Shane Paul McGhie plays Jamal Randolph, an imprisoned youth whose life was damaged by a sex offender. He and his reluctant attorney, Michael Trainer, played by Matthew Modine, must overcome their personal issues and differences to take on the corporate foster home industry. Presiding over the trial is Judge George Taylor, played by Gossett, who won an Oscar for a role in An Officer And A Gentleman.

“Foster Boy is extremely captivating, showing how an over-confident attorney, who has spent a career defending huge cases for large companies, begins to learn more about his own failings and begins to see the honesty and good in a young man he is forced to defend,” festival co-founder Kirk Gollwitzer said. “Critics have been writing about it, and it has been making the film-festival circuit, getting ready for the release in 2020. One of the producers is Shaquille O’Neal, a champion of foster children. Having this film make its quote ‘southern premier’ here in Tryon, NC, is a very bright light in our marquee. It is an important film that will haunt your mind for many days afterward. Once it is released and people start talking about it, I think it might actually make a difference in how this country handles foster care. Now, that would be cinema making social impact!”

Gollwitzer and Menetre said that invitations to the gala have been extended to the producers, filmmakers, and actors who made Foster Boy and that hopes are high they will attend. “You just never know who will show up at things,” Gollwitzer said. “We have had people from South America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Hollywood all come in past years. For many new films, festivals are the proving ground for success at the box office. The filmmakers want serious cinema lovers to see their movies in advance of release in hopes of good reviews, better financial backing, and ticket sales. You get a good review at certain festivals, and your movie’s possibility of success increases. We invite them and plan big, and so far we’ve done well.”

Tickets to the gala are $65 and available on the Festival’s website: TryonInternationalFilmFestival.org.


Tryon International Film Festival

This year, the Tryon International Film Festival will screen 64 films in six downtown venues, in three days. The film categories are Full-Length Feature, Full-Length Documentary, Short Dramatic Films, Short Documentary Films, and Student Films. Ticket prices range from $10 to $95 for a VIP Pass.

“I’m extremely pleased with this year’s collection of films,” Menetre said. “There’s a good mix from different countries, covering a wide range of topics, and quite a few outstanding films. Another one to watch is In Pursuit of Justice, which has a North Carolina tie-in.”


This year’s films are…


Full-length feature films

Hate Crime (USA)

Book Week (Australia)

Foster Boy (USA)

Missing (Hong Kong)

Little Girl Blue (USA)


Full-length documentary films

Alternative Facts: The Lies of Executive Order 9066 (USA)

Every Night’s a Saturday Night (USA/UK)

Guardians of our Troubled Waters (USA)

Summa (Poland)

A Dignified Death (Netherlands)

Redeeming Uncle Tom (Canada)

A Tuba to Cuba (Cuba/USA)

Jay’s Longhorn (USA)

Life Love Dogs (USA)

In Pursuit of Justice (NC, USA)

The American South as We Know It (USA)


Short dramatic films

Yard Sale (USA)

In Colors (USA)

Unmasking (Canada)

Baby Girl (USA)

Rise from the Tide (Hong Kong)

Disconnect (USA)

Two Peas In A Pod (USA)

I’m Not My Body (UK)

The Early Inauguration (USA)

Under The Blade (Iran)

Parvaz Mahiha (Flying Fishes) (Iran)

The Snail (Iran)

Six Home (Iran)

Molly (USA)

Passive Aggressive Dads (USA)

Rolling In The Deep (USA)

The Rabbit (Italy)

Portrait of a Woman at Dawn (USA)

A Boy, A Man And A Kite (UK)

Olympia (Italy)

Burying Mitchell (USA)

Family (Korea)

37 Ghosts (USA)

Passion (Korea)

Hope (Korea)

Utopia (Iran)


Short documentary films

Blind Adventure Camp (USA)

We Drive It. (US)

Naretoi (Kenya/USA)

Open My Eyes (Iraq, Jordan, USA)

Rooting for Roona (India)

I’ll Love To Till the End (UK)

To Be In Moab (USA)

Made with Love (USA)

A Day in the Life of a Himalayan Shepherd (Nepal)

Mother, Daughter, Sister (Bangladesh, Myanmar)

401 Rogers (Iran)


Student films

Oasis (USA)

Uncomfortable (USA)

Midnight City (USA)

Rise from the Tide (Hong Kong)

Mobius Dream  (China)

Scorned (USA)

Ouroboros (USA)

Safe Haven (Netherlands)

Bosa (USA)

The Stain (Iran)

The Shadows Await (Sweden)


The judges this year are… Johnathan Brownlee, director, producer, writer, actor; Patti D’Arbanville, actress; Lavin Cuddihee, actor, director; Frank Calo, producer, director; Homayra Sellier, founder and CEO of Innocence in Danger; Andrew Huggins, filmmaker; and Steven Esteb, filmmaker.

Screening locations in Tryon will be Tryon Theatre, Tryon Fine Arts Center, Upstairs Art Space, Carri Bass Studio, Tryon Historical Museum and Tryon Depot.

Tryon International Film Festival is a product of the nonprofit agency Polk County Film Initiative, which is “charged with bolstering independent and major motion picture film production in Western North Carolina. Founded in 2013, and is (the) umbrella organization responsible for the Tryon International Film Festival,” according to its Facebook page.

“North Carolina has a strong film industry,” Menetre said, “and the Tryon International Film Festival is now — after only four years — considered to be one of the best. Not only are we bringing in world-class films, but we are bringing them to a welcoming community that guests are raving about. In past years, I can’t tell you how many noted film professionals — people who travel the world and attend the biggest festivals — have told me that Tryon is one of the best locations they’ve been to and that Tryon International Film Festival is one of the best festivals.”

For more information about the opening gala and the Tryon International Film Festival, please visit online: TryonInternationalFilmFestival.org. Follow the Festival’s ongoing activities on Facebook.