What we're about

We are...

The Charlotte Unconventional Film School (CUFS) is for you: someone who wants improve their filmmaking skills so we can all make more + better (low budget, independent) movies.


• Workshops

We bring together local filmmakers (including people who are just getting started) and local, down-to-earth professionals to teach through in-person workshops. We typically do this through a 2 hour weeknight event or 3.5 hour Saturday events. Read about our 10 part Make-a-Movie workshops (https://qcnerve.com/2018/12/29/charlotte-unconventional-film-school-announces-free-workshops-in-2019/?fbclid=IwAR3OT3nYfSNekWIkb6zKDR8PDpIKH8RnvoDRJAeQI7z0IEN5OzO_BD4LMk0) we offered through the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library in Spring 2019.

Get to know our teachers who are all working local film pros. https://thecharlottefilmschool.com/partners/

• Informal meetups

Held in coffee shops with free parking around Charlotte typically, these are usually informal gatherings for networking and conversation with a particular topic in mind (submitting to film festivals, the joy of editing, gear swaps, filmmakers looking to meet up with potential cast and crew, etc.) We've put on over 150 programs in our first two years.

• Field Trips

• Party

We had a party in May 2018 to celebrate 1 year/75 events and another one on Saturday, October 13th 6pm-9pm to celebrate the movies made by people who took CUFS workshops in Spring, 2018. In July, we'll have a party to celebrate our "second birthday" and you're invited (check back on meetup).

• Retreat Day for Filmmakers and other Creatives

Time to take stock, think about what matters and how you can make work that matters to you and others. Planning is currently in the works and will be announced soon.

What we're about:
Read this article about us from The Biscuit. (https://www.biscuitclt.com/hug-life-julie-mcelmurry-is-an-unconventional-woman-and-she-has-the-school-to-prove-it/)

Upcoming events (5+)

Have a Beer with Us [and meet our new Filmmaker-in-Residence!]

Catawba Brewing Company Charlotte

All are welcome! The purpose of this meetup is to give you a chance to meet and welcome our Filmmaker in Residence! Patrick has recently moved from Los Angeles to Charlotte to pursue work on his documentary projects. He will be teaching classes through Unconventional Film School this year and you'll see him out and about. Come on out, have a beer or kombucha, meet other people and share your own ideas and dreams for your 2020 filmmaking endeavors. They also have kombucha and small batch sody pops so when we say "grab a beer" what we really mean is we want you to come out and chitchat and hang out. Got it? Good! All are invited. We'll be at the table inside with a red tablecloth. Don't be shy. Parking: Free parking along Otts Street, paved lot around this huge building or in gravel lot near Advent Coworking (gravel lot is across Louise Avenue from Advent)

Cinematography (4 week class for adults)

Advent Coworking


Lights, Camera, Action, Camera: Cinematography with Andy Heck Logistics: We will meet together 6:15pm-8:45pm 4 times over the course of 4 weeks. We’ll assign you homework each week. Week 1: " Composition and "The Rules" Week 2 & 3: "Settings, lenses and lighting" Week 4: "Camera movement and equipment" $185 for all 4 classes or $60/class a la carte Andy Heck (https://www.andyheckfilms.com/) works as a filmmaker by day and by night...he is a filmmaker. This is a class for people who want to get serious for a few weeks and read/watch as much as they can about the art, craft and science of cinematography all while learning through in-person classes with a local legend. May 2020 Public Screenings: We are organizing an evening of screenings to take place at VisArt on Eastway Drive in Charlotte, NC. Invite your family and friends, enjoy popcorn and treats and see & hear your movie on the big screen in their small theatre! This will take place on a Sunday in May, the exact time and date to be announced. There will be a small cost to attend to support the non-profit VisArt & pay for the space. --------- About Andy Heck Andy (https://www.andyheckfilms.com/) works professionally as a Digital Content Creator, primarily focused on video production. To keep things fun, he works on short films, Youtube videos, and action sports content in his free time. Depending on the film, he’ll be working any number of roles including Director of Photography, Editor, or anywhere else needed. With experience on over 1,000 different video projects, Andy has experience with small, low budget films as well as high production projects with various crew sizes. He has a passion for helping others become valuable members of a crew and sharing experiences for others to learn from.

Make that Documentary (4 Classes on Thursdays in March)

Advent Coworking


Make that Documentary Your First Documentary Filmmaking Class Make your first short documentary so you can make your next one! Logistics: We will meet together for 2 hours and 30 minutes four times over the course of 4 weeks. We’ll assign you homework each week so that by week 4, you’ve completed a short documentary. Choose from one of these 3 choices, all taking place at Advent Coworking: Thursdays in March: 3/5 , 3/12, 3/19 and 3/26 Wednesdays in April-May: 4/22, 4/29, 5/ 6, 5/13 Wednesdays in May-June: 5/20, 5/27, 6/8, 6/10 $150=take 4-night class & be in our cohort OR $60 per night. Week 1: “You have an all-access pass to the world.” Identify & mobilize all the resources at your disposal. (We’ll walk you through a realistic inventory of your current People, Gear, Tools, Locations, Skills and Collaborators.Learn about additional tools & people available to assist you for free or cheap.) HOMEWORK includes: Editing exercises, schedule your interviews & b-roll filming) Week 2: “It’s a real conversation with real people.” How to capture the best possible interview. (Gear: Proper use of your audio gear, placement of cameras, three point lighting. People: the art of the interview, creating a comfortable, safe space for people. How to prepare your questions. How to capture the unexpected and unplanned. Ethical questions and building trust. Don’t let your gear get in the way of your conversation with the person.) Alternative ways to interview besides one-on-one talking heads (while traveling, capturing audio only). HOMEWORK includes: Conduct interviews, log footage, outline beginning, middle & end of your film. Week 3: “Adding the layers that make your film shine.” Where are you in your project right now? What do you need to do or learn to continue building your project? How can we (people in the room) help you? Plus, we’ll cover planning and filming b-roll, partnering with a music composer, correcting audio mistakes, creating opening and closing credits, subtitles (various languages). HOMEWORK includes: Create and add these layers to your project. Review a classmate’s work & share your notes on it. Week 4: “Show your Work” You’ll show us your project in its current state and recieve notes from everyone in the room. How to find your audience and show them your movie. What are your next steps to take to polish up your project? What were your favorite parts of making this project? What tasks do you want help with in the future? We’ll give an overview of film festivals: from scams to good ones. HOMEWORK includes: inviting people to our May screening, polishing up your project May 2020 Public Screenings: We are organizing an evening of screenings to take place at VisArt on Eastway Drive in Charlotte, NC. Invite your family and friends, enjoy popcorn and treats and see & hear your movie on the big screen in their small theatre! This will take place on a Sunday in May, the exact time and date to be announced. There will be a small cost to attend to support the non-profit VisArt (approximately $5 pp) & pay for the space. About Guest Teachers Julie will be joined by many different guest teachers who all have their own expertise. This will be an enriching class for sure! About Julie Julie McElmurry Biography Hi, I'm Julie. I grew up near Cherokee, NC and now live in Charlotte, NC. I'm a documentary filmmaker who loves creating movies, creating events and creating a space for people to find friendship, connections and community among each other. My career so far has included teaching college students, grad students and adults. I ran the logistics of a graduate program for 4 summers so yeah, I know how to teach and I love to help professionals with decades of experience translate that knowledge so they can teach too. I created the Charlotte Unconventional Film School in 2017 as a way to bring together local professionals and adults like me who want to learn from them.we’ve taught over 800 local adults filmmaking skills.

FIELD TRIP: Schmooze & Movie from Argentina & Panel

Who: This event is open to anyone. What: Movie screening, schmoozing and panel discussion featuring Director Cesar Rodriguez & Unconventional Film School Director Julie McElmurry Where: The Boileryard at Camp North End When: Gather at 5:45pm to chitchat and schmooze. Why: This series brings to Charlotte outstanding films that would not show here otherwise. How: Follow the link below to buy your ticket from CineCasual on Eventbrite. Bring some cash to buy delicious snacks beer or soda for sale there. Ticket is $5 plus fees and bring another $5 or $10 for snacks. --------- This screening is part of the CineCasuarl Film Series: https://cinecasual.com/filmseries/ A film series presenting recent, internationally-acclaimed and award-winning Latin American films, specially curated for the Queen Cit ---------- TICKETS:https://www.eventbrite.com/e/cine-casual-film-series-las-vegas-tickets-78108942951 ------------ The Film: Las Vegas Saturday, March 7,[masked] PM Camp North End @ Boileryard (1824 Statesville Ave., Charlotte, NC 28206) Martín and Laura, in their thirties, find themselves spending time in the same building for a summer vacation. An opportunity for Martín and Laura to find each other again, and perhaps to truly meet with the son they had together 18 years ago. Martín y Laura, de unos treinta años, se encuentran en el mismo edificio durante unas vacaciones de verano. Una oportunidad para que Martín y Laura se descubran de nuevo, y tal vez conozcan verdaderamente al hijo que tuvieron juntos hace 18 años. Year: 2018 / Country: Argentina / Language: Spanish with English Subtitles / Run Time: 1hr 15min

Photos (363)