Courtesy Steve Daniels

The 11th annual Charleston Film Festival at the Terrace starts this Thursday, and as in years past, the theater brings a wide variety of films to town. In the midst of crossing Ts and dotting Is, Terrace Theater’s owner and operator, Paul Brown chatted with us about this year’s festival.

“This is the most local, most Carolina-centered festival we’ve had by far,” he says. “This year I was approached by The Carolina Film Alliance and the South Carolina Indie Grants to weave into the festival a sort of homegrown aspect to it, and in doing so, we decided we have four distinctively Charleston made programs.”

Here’s a look at what to expect:

Sophie and the Rising Sun

In 2017, director Maggie Greenwald Mansfield brought her drama to the festival, and it returns this year.

Set in 1941 in a fictional fishing village called Salty Creek, an artist, Sophie Willis (played by the always-awesome Julianne Nicholson), develops a potentially doomed friendship with one Grover Ohta (Takashi Yamaguchi). Their friendship soon blossoms into a romance threatened by bigotry and WWII angst that feels eerily familiar given our current political climate.

Shot in McClellanville, Greenwald Mansfield told City Paper about finding their location in 2017: “We knew that this was Salty Creek … And as we drove around and we looked at houses … I felt that it was waiting for us to discover it.”

Along with the Sunday screening, location manager Steve Rhea, actor Kenneth Charles Graham, Sabrina Mayfield, and script supervisor James Heyward will be in attendance for a Q&A to give an insider’s view into the flick.

A Nun’s Curse

“The prolific Tommy Faircloth, well, every year he has something frightfully amazing to offer and we’re proud to welcome him back this year again,” says Brown.

What else can be said about Faircloth? He’s the guy who has helmed two films about a crinoline-wearing slasher and he leads not one but two film festivals annually — South Carolina Underground Film Festival and Crimson Horror Film Festival.

Faircloth finds time to bring his warped fantasies to fruition. His latest, A Nun’s Curse, follows a group of friends that find shelter in the safest of all safe spaces, an abandoned prison. Normally, staying in abandoned prisons isn’t a problem. That is unless they cross the diabolical Sister Monday (portrayed by one Felissa Rose, known to most horror nuts as Angela from Sleepaway Camp).

Best of Indie Grants Shorts

Much like Faircloth, Brad Jayne has long been a staple in the Lowcountry’s film industry. “Brad has been a long time supporter of The Terrace and the South Carolina film community in general,” says Brown.

When he isn’t directing films of his own like 2016’s Warrior Road, Jayne has helped produce a multitude of short film projects by South Carolina filmmakers for the South Carolina Film Commission’s Indie Grants program. It’s true, sometimes big things come in little packages. This holds true for short films. Sometimes it only takes a couple minutes to make an impact.

Some of the best films from the Indie Grants program are no exception, whether it be Eric B. Shanks’ Sad Steve, which follows a freshly single man looking for a little quiet time; or a man fighting a creature that makes cursed silverware in Steve Daniels’ fantastical Dirty Silverware>; or the melancholy of a widow’s lonely trip to Charleston in Maria White and Matthew Mebane’s The Final Adventure Of John & Eleanor Greene>; Jayne’s collection offers a multi-faceted look at the stories and talent of our local creatives.

Deceiver

It was 1997 and places like A.C.’s Bar and Grill were literally “up all night.” Thanks to those late, late, late night hours, people like Josh and Jonas Pate would stop through virtually every night after shooting scenes for their first film, Deceiver.

“It’s got Tim Roth, Renee Zellweger, Michael Rooker, and Chris Penn,” says Brown. “It was shot in Charleston before it became what it is today and is made by Charlestonians. It’s Charleston in the ’90s. What else can I say? Oh you know what? Fun fact, one of the Terrace’s employees saw it upon its original release at The Terrace when it still had just one screen.”

The scene at A.C.’s back then looked something like this: When Tim Roth wasn’t chatting with the door guys he was listening to drunks yell Reservoir Dogs dialogue at him while Chris Penn wound up getting kicked out. A pre-Jerry Maguire Renee Zellweger was making such great friends with the staff that she wound up bringing her folks to the place later.

And the rest …

Brown mentions other films showing during the weekend like Michael Apted’s 63 Up, the seventh film in Apted’s Up documentary series that follows people over the past 40 years; the mushroom documentary, Fantastic Fungi>; and Deerskin, the latest oddball creation from Quentin Dupieux, the guy who made the existential killer tire movie, Rubber.

Then there’s the local premiere of the documentary The Woman Who Loves Giraffes, which is followed by a Skype Q&A with the director, Alison Reid.

Brown effusively discusses each film and we have to ask him if he considers himself a consumate salesman. He laughs, “Well my wife calls me P.T. Barnum sometimes, so …”

The Terrace Charleston Film Festival is March 5-8 at the Terrace Theater on James Island. Visit terracetheater.com for times and prices.