With an arsenal of informative magazines, elegant photographs, and illuminating documentaries, National Geographic has inspired planetary responsibility and natural wonderment for more than 120 years. Their latest filmed adventure, The Last Lions, ushers viewers into the wetlands of Botswana's Okavango Delta, where a lioness named Ma di Tau and her cubs fight for their survival. From fleeing raging fires and cub-killing rival prides to wading through crocodile-infested rivers and the supermarket at rush hour, this family suffers perils that leave audiences touched and awestruck. Crafted by award-winning filmmakers, Dereck and Beverly Joubert, and narrated by Jeremy Irons, The Last Lions aims to raise awareness of dwindling big-cat populations while sharing a compelling story of hope. The film is rated PG for depictions of the food-chain cycle without the accompaniment of an Elton John song.
Once the lights dim in the main auditorium at Camelot Cinemas, eyes can’t help but fixate on the glimmering digital images that flicker across the towering 60-foot screen. Nestled comfortably in reclining chairs, audience members dig into buckets of popcorn and gape at the latest blockbuster films while a THX-certified sound system croons a crystal-clear soundtrack. Theatergoers enjoy a similar experience in Camelot Cinemas’ other auditoriums, where they can laugh through cheerful romantic comedies, find the courage to watch petrifying horror flicks, and fight back sobs during the heartwarming premovie message about turning off your cell phone.
Throughout the Charlotte Film Festival, projectors will flicker with fresh-faced and classic cinema spanning the subject-style spectrum. From compelling documentaries to inventive indie flicks, highlights include Skateland, a roller-skate-riddled homage to the early ’80s featuring Twilight’s Ashley Greene, and Japanese director Nobuhiko Obayashi's 1977 oddity House, a colorful blend of evil spirits, collages, and psychedelic schoolgirls. Also on the weeknight docket are two soon-to-be-announced award-winning features in the documentary and narrative categories, both of which will face stiff competition from current favorite Flubber. For a crisp picture of what's to come, check out the full schedule and synopsis listings online.
The Taste of Charlotte unrolls a five-block red carpet of family-friendly merriment, presenting culinary celebrations from area restaurants, live music, and myriad entertainment options. Use the coins to score smoky samples from 2010 Best of the Taste winner Outlaw BBQ Shack or a decadent delight from Divine Pies Bakery (restaurant samples range from one to three coins). Take shelter from stampeding herds of street performers at the Tavern, in which hardworking taste buds can treat themselves to soothing sips of New Belgium beers and Twisted wines, including pinot grigio and moscato (beverages range from two to four coins).
North Carolina’s Acoustic Syndicate enlists a quintet of bona-fide virtuosos to create uplifting bluegrass music that swings like a pendulum between rock and folk. Since 1992, this troupe of prodigious players has captivated audiences with polyrhythmic banjo skills, seamless three-part vocal harmonies, and infectious showmanship that charms snakes out of boots and leads to side effects such as hootin’ and hollerin’. Sporting dobros, mandolins, and resophonic guitars, these veterans of Farm Aid and Bonnaroo eschew the auto-tune age with gregarious toe-tappers about eco-friendly subsistence in a world under attack by Styrofoam overlords. Local goodtime gang Moonshine Racers joins in the revelry with its potent brew of 100-proof psychedelic bluegrass.