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An Appalachian Summer Festival’s Weicholz Global Film Series Explores the World “From a Child’s Point of View”

Award-winning international films from Belgium, Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, and Soviet Estonia tell unique yet universal stories of childhood bullying, violence and adolescent angst.

This year’s series is curated by Dale Pollock — a renowned film critic, movie producer and film professor who served as Dean of the School of Filmmaking at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where he is now an emeritus professor.

Seeking to broaden perspectives, celebrate diversity and explore the world at large, An Appalachian Summer Festival’s Weicholz Global Film Series showcases award-winning and critically acclaimed international films. Each of this year’s films — from Belgium, Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, and Soviet Estonia — tells a unique yet universal story, exploring themes such as childhood bullying, violence, and adolescent angst From a Child’s Point of View. This year’s series is curated by Dale Pollock — a renowned film critic, movie producer and film professor who served as Dean of the School of Filmmaking at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where he is now an emeritus professor. Pollock is a member of the Motion Picture Academy and sits on the Academy Awards nominating committee for international films.

The Weicholz Global Film Series is part of An Appalachian Summer Festival, a monthlong whirlwind of music, dance, theatre, film and visual arts celebrating its 38th season July 1-30, on and around the campus of Appalachian State University. Screenings will be held at the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts (July 8, 13, 20 and 28) at 7pm. Tickets are $10 per person and can be purchased at AppSummer.org or by calling the Schaefer Center box office at 828-262-4046.

Each film features a brief pre-film introduction and a post-film moderated audience discussion with Dale Pollock.



Playground (Un monde)

7pm in the Schaefer Center

In this debut feature by writer-director Laura Wandel, the everyday reality of grade school is seen from a child’s-eye-view as an obstacle course of degradation and abuse. Following seven-year-old Nora and her big brother Abel, we see Nora struggling to fit in before finding her place on the schoolyard. One day, she notices Abel being bullied by other kids, and though she rushed to protect him by warning their father, Abel forces her to remain silent, while he endures more humiliation and harassment by his peers. Transposing the gritty realism of such filmmakers as Jacques Audiard and the Dardennes Brothers to the inner world of kids, Wandel crafts an empathetic and visceral portrait of the cruelty of children, and the failure of adults to protect them. Shortlisted for the Academy Award for Best International Film.

Tickets: $10



7pm in the Schaefer Center

Director Kenneth Branagh’s semi-autobiographical film chronicles the life of a working-class family and their young son’s childhood during the tumult of the late 1960’s in the Northern Ireland capital. Surrounded by sporadic violence and growing danger, nine-year-old Buddy finds himself confronted with the ugly reality of sectarian conflict. And, as the suffocating stranglehold of increasing turmoil tightens around his once-peaceful working-class neighborhood, Buddy tries his best to understand The Troubles. Now, Buddy’s family must come face to face with a nearly impossible, life-altering decision: stay or start packing? Branagh won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for Belfast at the 2022 Oscars. The film also stars Dame Judi Dench and Ciaran Hinds, both of whom were nominated in the Supporting Actor categories.

Tickets: $10


When Pomegranates Howl

7pm in the Schaefer Center

Nine-year-old Hewad peddles food and amulets in Kabul, tackling dangers of daily street life during the ongoing war in Afghanistan. Following an explosion, he is photographed amongst other civilian casualties by an Australian journalist, igniting his daydreams of becoming a Hollywood actor. Hewad auditions a gang of street children for the journalist’s camera not knowing that dreams would come true in unexpected ways by war.

Tickets: $10


On the Water (Vee Peal)

 7pm in the Schaefer Center

On the Water unfolds in rural Soviet Estonia in the early 1980’s, during a pivotal year in the life of a shy teen, Andres, who is being raised by his strict grandparents. Surrounded by eclectic neighbors that include brawling alcoholics, grifting prostitutes and cranky war veterans, Andres slowly unlocks his potential through seasons of experiences that include fishing expeditions, adolescent angst, and a summer romance. The touching yet never sentimental screenplay is by Olavi Ruitlane, based on his own best-selling novel. 

Tickets: $10


Purchase by phone (800-841-2787 or 828-262-4046), in person at the Box Office, (733 Rivers St.) or online at AppSummer.org. The complete festival schedule is available online.

About An Appalachian Summer Festival:

Presented by Appalachian State University’s Office of Arts & Cultural Programs, this annual celebration of the performing and visual arts is held every July in venues across the university campus, and features an eclectic, diverse mix of music, dance, theatre, visual arts and film programming. An Appalachian Summer Festival began in 1984 as a chamber music series, and retains strong roots in classical music, combined with a variety of other programming geared to almost every artistic taste and preference. With an audience of 28,000, the festival has been named one of the “Top Twenty Events in the Southeast” by the Southeast Tourism Society in recent years.

Thank you to our Sponsors…

Corporate Sponsors:

Bonnie and Jamie Schaefer, McDonald’s of Boone, Mast General Store, Goodnight Brothers, Explore Boone, SkyBest Communications, Appalachian Home Care LLC, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Vincent Properties, PEAK Insurance, PNC Bank, Appalachian State University Bookstore, Peabody’s Wine & Beer Merchants, Creekside Electronics, Courtyard by Marriott, Chetola Resort, Hampton Inn & Suites, Holiday Inn Express-Boone, and The Horton Hotel.

Media Sponsors:

WBTV, WCYB, PBS North Carolina, Our State Magazine, Creative Loafing Charlotte, Yes! Weekly, Winston-Salem Journal, Greensboro News & Record, WNC Magazine, The Mountain Times, Watauga Democrat, High Country Radio, WHKY 1290AM and 102.3FM, WDAV 89.9FM, WFDD 88.5FM, WASU 90.5FM, and WKSK The Farm.

Restaurant Sponsors:

Lost Province Brewing Co., Pepper’s Restaurant, Red Onion, The Local, Timberlake’s Restaurant at Chetola Resort

Courtesy of the Office of Arts & Cultural Programs at Appalachian State University.