ASC Grant Will Help ‘Aphasia’ Gain International Audiences

Arts / Article

Donna Scott has enthralled Charlotte theater-goers the last several years with thought-provoking productions such as The Body Chronicles and spirited plays such as The Dixie Swim Club.

Now she has brought her production talents to the world of cinema – and hoping for a worldwide audience. A recent Regional Artist Project Grant (RAPG) of $3,000 from the Arts and Science Council will help in that quest.

Last spring, Scott joined with fellow Charlotteans Jim Gloster, Chuck Bludsworth and Tonya Bludsworth  to create a new production company, Little Word Films. Together, they filmed Aphasia, a 40-minute documentary about Charlotte actor Carl McIntyre, who developed the condition after a stroke.

Aphasia is a communication disorder that impairs a person’s ability to process language, but does not affect intelligence. The film – in which McIntye plays himself — seeks to raise awareness about aphasia and to offer hope and inspiration to stroke survivors and their families. About one million Americans live with the condition.

It was a labor of love for the small, but growing, Charlotte film community.  Some 200 people, working for free, mde it possible to shoot the film in eight straight days.

“We all wanted to be a part of something positive,” Scott says.

When the film debuted on May 11 at Charlotte’s EpiCentre Theatres, it met with rave reviews. Scott and her colleagues believed the film had the potential to gain further exposure. So they began entering it into film festivals. In September, it beat out 76 entries to win the Audience Award for Best Short Film at the Big Bear Lake International Film Festival in Los Angeles.

In November, Little Word traveled to Philadelphia for the national convention of the American Speech and Hearing Association, which was attended by 15,000 people representing institutions across the U.S.  Also that month, the film was screened at the Radar Hamburg Film Festival in Germany and the Foyle Film Festival in Ireland.

All these efforts have helped Aphasia get about a dozen additional bookings.  An Internet presence through a website (www.aphasiathemovie.com), Facebook and Twitter has also helped create international awareness.

But entering competitions and showing the film at conventions isn’t enough to get bookings. That requires face-to-face personal interaction. That’s where the ASC grant will help.

“It’s important to show up and talk about the film,” Scott says. “The ASC grant will help us be there. And we’ll also be promoting North Carolina filmmakers.”

The ASC awards the RAPGs in conjunction with arts councils in Cabarrus, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Rowan, Rutherford and York counties and with the support of the North Carolina Arts Council and the Blumenthal Endowment.