Beyond: The Cary Film Festival Returns Sept. 21-24

CARY, N.C.  – BEYOND: The Cary Film Festival returns Sept. 21-24, 2023, for its sixth year celebrating short films from independent filmmakers from around the world. Produced by The Cary Theater, BEYOND received film and screenplay submissions from independent filmmakers whose works will compete for more than $6,000 in prizes. The festival also includes three workshops for all experience levels, including a screenwriting workshop for youths ages 7-16. All festival events take place at The Cary Theater downtown. Tickets are now available.

“This year’s lineup includes outstanding short films from the U.K., France, Israel, the U.S., and more,” said Lani Simeona, festival director, operations and program supervisor at The Cary Theater. “Cary’s hometown film festival is an opportunity for audiences and filmmakers of all experience levels to see great short films and explore the filmmaking process.”

The opening night film screens Thurs., Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. In the Bubble with Jaime, directed by filmmaker Emily Harrold, follows Jaime Harrison in his run for U.S. Senate in South Carolina against Republican incumbent Lindsey Graham amidst a global pandemic and a legacy of racial injustice. This film is presented in partnership with the Southern Documentary Fund. A Q&A with Harrold follows.

A summary of festival events include:


Exclusive Advance Screening

  • The Stones and Brian Jones (UK | 2023 | 93 min), directed by: Nick Broomfield. (Screening Sept. 21 & 24.)


Special Programming

  • Sloane: A Jazz Singer (USA | 2023 | 96 min), directed by: Michael Lippert. (Sept. 22, 2:30 p.m.)
  • Infinity Care (USA | 2023), Live Table Read of Screenplay Winner, written by: Autumn
    Karen. (Sept. 23, 3 p.m.)
    2023 Award Winner – Grand Jury – Best Screenplay (Infinity Care)
  • Lune Spark Student Film Showcase (Sept. 23, 3:30 p.m.)
  • Memories of You: Songs and Letters from Carol Sloane, live jazz performance with: Kate McGarry, Shana Tucker, Natalie Douglas, and pianist Christian Tamburr. (Sept. 23, 8 p.m.)



  • Crash Course In Scenes, with instructors Joy Goodwin and Ron Stacker Thompson. (Sept. 22, 10 a.m.)
  • How Not To Write A Screenplay, with instructor Ron Stacker Thompson. (Sept. 23, 10 a.m.)
  • Kids Screenwriting Workshop, ages 7-16, presented with Lune Spark Center for Creativity. (Sept. 23, 1 p.m.)


Industry Talks

  • The Pitch & Funding Your Film, with Christopher Everett, Erika Arlee, Kristi Ray, Doug McKeon. (Sept. 22, 3 p.m.)
  • Building Your Crew & Fair Pay, with Erika Arlee, Kristi Ray, Sara Elizabeth Timmins. (Sept. 23, 11 a.m.)
  • How To Make Money With Your Film, with Christopher Everett. (Sept. 23, 6:45 p.m.)


Films In Competition

  • Babyface (USA | 2023 | 20 min), directed by: Sannah Kim.
  • Bite of Benin (USA | 2023 | 36 min), directed by: Brad Herring, Adé Carrena.
    2023 Award Winner – People’s Choice (Bite of Benin)
  • Curtsy (USA | 2023 | 27 min), directed by: Nicole Triche.
    2023 Award Winner – Best Documentary Short Film (Curtsy)
  • Distant Conscience (Israel| 2022 | 11 min), directed by: Sam Henselijn.
  • Fatih the Conqueror (France| 2023 | 15 min), directed by: Onur Yagiz.
  • Fireflies Save the Night (USA| 2022 | 11 min), directed by: A.J. Riggins.
  • I was born in 1988 (USA | 2022 | 9 min), directed by: Yasaman Baghban.
  • In the Matchbox (USA | 2023 | 11 min), directed by: Mike Rae Anderson.
  • Lovestruck (USA | 2022 | 8 min), directed by: Zachary Echols.
  • Lungs (USA | 2022 | 11 min), directed by: Kieran Moreira.
  • Ma’s Kitchen (USA | 2022 | 12 min), directed by: Debbie Vu.
    2023 Award Winner – Best NC Filmmaker Short Film (Ma’s Kitchen)
  • Orient (USA | 2023 | 10 min), directed by: Fatima Wardy
  • Processing Magic (USA | 2022 | 4 min), directed by: Vale Stanley, Jo Knorpp.
  • Run Amok (USA | 2023 | 12 min), directed by: Nitzan Mager.
    2023 Award Winner – Best Narrative Short Film (Run Amok)
  • Sammy, Without Strings (USA | 2022 | 16 min), directed by: Ralph Parker III.
    2023 Award Winner – Best Student Short Film (Sammy, Without Strings)
  • Scotty’s Vag (USA | 2022 | 15 min), directed by: Chaconne Martin-Berkowicz.
  • Sell the Girl (USA | 2022 | 11 min), directed by: Natalie Burchert.
  • Sonata (USA | 2022 | 7 min), directed by: Madison Crisp, Abby Davenport, Fern Singleton, Vic Sosa.
  • Suga Brown (USA | 2022 | 18 min), directed by: Clarke Phillips.
  • Sunkist + Ninth (USA | 2023 | 4 min), directed by: Jonathan Kemp.
  • The Voice in Isabel Fleiss’s Office (USA | 2022 | 6 min), directed by: Jim Haverkamp.
  • A Twistful of Dollars (USA | 2023 | 18 min), directed by: Kevin Murray.


Tickets are on sale now. Filmmaking workshops range in cost from $5 to $12. Industry Talks are FREE to attend. The 2023 festival is presented by: InkTip, Slated, Town of Cary, Cary Magazine, Lune Spark, The Mayton Inn, Misner Public Relations, Digital P Media, and Southern Documentary Fund.


About The Cary Theater

Located at 122 E. Chatham St., The Cary Theater lights up downtown with its mission to provide a unique setting for the community to experience art house cinema and live performances that enhance the cultural arts experience in Cary, N.C. Originally constructed in 1946 to serve as the Town’s first indoor movie theater, The Cary was restored in 2014 to create a vibrant space downtown that offers independent film, live music, comedy and improv, and other performances. The theater is owned and operated by Cary’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources.


Media Contacts:

Lani Simeona, The Cary Theater, Operations & Program Supervisor, (919) 319-4549
Scott Misner, Media Relations, (919) 412-3886
William Lewis, Cultural Arts Manager, (919) 462-3861





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