Mount Airy native returns to host screening of Sundance nominated film shot in city


First Posted: 1/21/2009

While the 15-minute flick Our Neck of the Woods, which was in the Sundance Film Festival and filmed in Mount Airy, didnt win for the category of best short in the national contest, Mount Airy native Rob Connolly is still excited about showing the film those locally who helped create.
The Surry Arts Council is presenting a special screening of Our Neck of the Woods at 7 p.m. Feb. 7 at the Downtown Cinema Theatre for free.
Im really excited about showing it, he said earlier this week on the phone from the film festival in Utah. Anytime you do a screening in front of an audience you get nervous, but this particular audience played a big part in (the film), and I hope they love it.
Connolly, who wrote, directed and co-produced the film, told the story of a small-town factory workers ordinary life taking an extraordinary turn when he falls for a co-worker, with the help of dozens of Mount Airy businesses and residents who participated with the film.
From extras appearing in the film to volunteers building set pieces, Connolly estimated anywhere from 300 to 500 people offered a helping hand in creating the final product including crew members from North Carolina, New York and Los Angeles.
It was hard work and all the contributions came together for us to be able to give back to everybody by hosting the screening, he said. The credits are ridiculously long, like a minute-and-a-half of credits. There were people who donated money and built sets … it was a giant community effort.
The 15-minute film follows the mundane life of Bob Underwood manufacturing plastic lawn-ornament deer, and how it is disrupted by an enchanting Georgian refugee who he decides to rescue whether she needs it or not.
Filmed in Mount Airy during late February and early March of 2008, Our Neck of the Woods was directed by Connolly as his Master of Fine Arts thesis project for the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.
The film appeared as an official selection of the 2009 Sundance Film Festival earlier this month before it will premiere in Mount Airy. It stars Nathan Johnson, Rebecca Larsen, Hope Vaught, Chris Greene, Linda Barber and Steffen Schollaert.
Connolly attended North Carolina State Universitys College of Design. While pursuing his graduate degree at USC, he has received the Bush Memorial Award for cinematography, has twice been selected as a finalist for the Eastman Kodak scholarship and was granted the Panavision New Filmmaker Award.
The special screening at the cinema will include an introduction of the film, a viewing of the film with behind-the-scenes footage, and a question-and-answer session with Connolly.
Weve had a great response, people have really been excited about the film, he said. Hopefully, it will keep up and we will do some other festivals.
For more information, call the Surry Arts Council at 786-7998.
Contact Erin C. Perkins at [email protected] or 719-1952.

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