Justin Nathanson visited Charleston as the editor of a TV show. He loved the city so much, he decided to move here and become a part of its film community by starting the Charleston Documentary Film Festival, which premieres October 6-9. He’s attempting a major challenge: to create not only the festival but also an ongoing film factory of sorts, pumping out programs relevant to Charleston residents. Nathanson plans to keep the community, even non-filmmakers, actively involved in the work produced at his nonprofit company ChasDOC.

He’s hoping the four-day festival at the American Theater will bring enough attention to garner funding to underwrite lectures from professionals at future festivals. This year’s festival will feature lounges at the venues for pre- and post-screening confabs. And next year’s festival will begin the new policy of allowing anyone to submit a film for possible screening.

Nathanson also began ChasDOC’s Film Society, where 16 people are chosen annually to make documentaries about Charleston issues that are important to them. ChasDOC provides them with full equipment packages to use for the year.

The group, which consists of a small group of volunteers, plans to produce documentary reports which will air on podcasts, the web, and the Dish Network. Currently, they’re working on their first feature documentary, examining the displacement of Mt. Pleasant’s Highway 17 communities by new real-estate developments.

“We’re looking for interested people who want to make this commitment,” he says. “We’d like to be a sustainable way to report on grassroots issues developing in South Carolina,” he says, adding that they are not a political organization – “we’re just telling the truth.”

For more details on ChasDOC’s Film Festival or other projects, visit their website at www.chasdoc.org. –Jennifer Corley

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