North Carolina Shorts – Documentaries

Titles in this program include: Alchemy; Bill Blaine “A Walk Around the House;” Damascus; Father, Can’t You See I’m Burning; Mother(s) & Son; Smile Little Ladybug; The Uncommon Garden; and Wild Heart.

Sponsored by: Nelson Mullins


Directed by: Bridget Fitzgerald
Alchemy tells the story of glassblower and social entrepreneur, Rebeccah Byer, as she navigates her grief at the loss of her brother from ALS and creates a glass studio for youth. The Olio is a place of healing and growth for Rebeccah and her apprentices. Audiences witness this transformative power through one of the apprentices, Lucy McGinnis, who struggles with being a young trans person in North Carolina.
23 min / USA / 2021 / English
Rating: MT

Bill Blaine “A Walk Around the House”

Directed by: Jakub Blank
This short documentary is a quiet reflection on the nature of art and those who make it. Bill Blaine is a painter in the twilight of his life, reflecting on a career that spans more than half a century. Blaine’s talent is on display throughout the film, yet his quiet observations about his work and himself as an artist are laced with vulnerable pragmatism—he seems hesitant to assign too much value to either and touches on the many insecurities true artists wrestle with.
12 min / USA / 2021 / English
Rating: TN


Directed by: Ethan Denning
Working in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, blacksmith Tommy Carroll completes a decade-long project: a blade of Damascus steel forged beneath a solar eclipse. Heat treating the blade beneath the full moon, Tommy must come to terms with the permanence of his work.
6 min / USA / 2021 / English
Rating: TN

Father, Can’t You See I’m Burning

Directed by: Grant Conversano
Filmmaker Grant Conversano interrogates the medium of the family photo, and what it means to be photographed as a child by one’s father while exploring intergenerational trauma, grief, and addiction.
13 min / USA / 2021 / English
Rating: MT

Mother(s) & Son

Directed by: Kiersten Houser
A filmmaker (Kiersten Houser, RiverRun 2021 Pitch Fest Winner) captures her wife’s journey of high-risk pregnancy, birth, and early motherhood. Consequently, she discovers her own fear and insecurity surrounding the adventures of parenthood—all while completing the adoption process for her non-biological son, as required by heteronormative state law.
10 min / USA / 2021 / English
Rating: MT

Smile Little Ladybug

Directed by: Laura Asherman
This short documentary centers a Holocaust survivor who unintentionally inspires his daughter and granddaughter to become clowns. The film follows three generations of this wacky and inspiring family from Nazi Germany to Jim Crow Alabama to modern-day Atlanta.
17 min / USA / 2021 / English
Rating: MT

Uncommon Garden, The

Directed by: Olympia Stone
Creating a hidden garden was not Dan Krebill’s life plan until fate intervened. The result is a lush and layered paradise with hundreds of plants and trees (and even a stone dragon!)—a collaboration with artisans that changed both a landscape and a community.
20 min / USA / 2021 / English
Rating: MT

Wild Heart

Directed by: Hope Davison
Radical acceptance of one’s most authentic self means both struggle and healing for Marcus Johns, aka La Reine Divine, who inspires and encourages LGBTQIA+ youth to be and love who they are.
9 min / USA / 2021 / English
Rating: MT
program total runtime 110 min



5:00 PM — SECCA



RUN TIME: 110 Minutes