National Endowment for the Arts, NC Arts Council Grant supports filmmakers

Published 11:40 am Tuesday, May 28, 2024

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TRYON—The Tryon International Film Festival is entering the tenth year of its annual fall event with a stellar line-up of filmmakers and experts sharing their knowledge and expertise, tools and technology. Grants, sponsorships, and tickets are the main funding streams that make the festival possible.

Thanks to grant support, the TRIFF23 Education Institute sessions offered a rich menu of programs provided by filmmakers and artists for attendees and the general public. Film education is unique to film festivals, and only a limited number of these events provide this resource.

In 2023, an artist was supported in part by a grant from the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, and the National Endowment for the Arts through the local arts council, Tryon Fine Arts Center. Grant funds were matched with Carolina Foothills Foundation and Community Foundation of Western North Carolina dollars to leverage the North Carolina Arts Council’s Grassroots funding to support almost two dozen filmmaker experts and instructors in providing education workshops and panels. 

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Artist Jazelle Foster, founder of Creatives Meet Marketing, received the Grassroots grant, which supported her in sharing her marketing expertise with filmmakers and enthusiasts attending the TRIFF23 Institute. 

“The information Jazelle provided was invaluable to attending artists and locals working in a host of mediums, film enthusiasts, and Foster,” shared Ashley Crane, TRIFF Director of Education.

Foster has been part of TRIFF for the last two years. Her roots lie in acting, but a journey of diverse projects led her to an epiphany at Columbia University. Now, she redirects entrepreneurs from mundane marketing checklists to embracing marketing as an art form. Using Devised Theatre techniques, Jazelle’s workshops are an alchemy of imagination and strategy.

“Being able to attend the film festival with support allowed me to participate fully and continue building meaningful connections as an artist and educator,” Foster shared.  Foster firmly believes that in the world of business branding, the world craves personal stories. “Marketing is your open diary to the world.” 

The Grassroots grant opened a new chapter in Foster’s diary. Her participation in TRIFF was particularly impactful last fall, as a connection made at TRIFF led her to organize and host three panels at the Atlanta Film Festival. 

“This opportunity further connected me with someone at Microsoft, resulting in my inclusion on a panel and the chance to offer workshops for them. In this industry, connections are everything, and I’m incredibly grateful for the support that enabled me to create these pivotal relationships,” Foster noted.

TRIFF24 will be held from October 10-13 in Tryon. Thanks to support received from the Mary F. Kessler Fund at the Polk County Community Foundation, Polk County and Landrum youth and adults – from middle schoolers to business owners to budding filmmakers and film enthusiasts – will have free access on Saturday and Sunday, October 12 and 13, 2024, to media arts panels and workshops with take-aways they can use. Registration is required and will open soon with limited spaces. 

For more information about the Tryon International Film Festival, visit And, plan to stop by the TRIFF24 Poster Art Exhibit and Sale of past and current poster prints at Carri Bass Photography & Art, located at 158 N. Trade Street in Tryon. The poster art event opens at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, July 26, through Friday, August 30, on Thursdays through Saturdays.


Submitted by Debra Torrence