When local film enthusiast Josh Foster, Hub City Press, and HUB-BUB launched the upstart Expecting Goodness Short Film Festival, no one knew what to expect.
Most grass roots film festivals don’t last beyond a year or two. But flash forward to year three, and the festival’s co-creators find themselves with too much of a good thing. Last year’s film festival featured 12 writers and 12 filmmakers from all over the state and sold out the 500+ seat Chapman Cultural Center Theater three weeks before the day of the event.
“HUB-BUB hosts over 100 community events every year,” says Cate Ryba, Executive Director at HUB-BUB, “and the press has a full plate, too. We looked at how the festival has grown in just two years and realized it had grown beyond our staffing capacity.”
That’s where Chris White and Emily Reach White come in. The Greenville filmmaking couple is normally wary of film festivals.
“They are so expensive to enter,” Chris sighs. His wife Emily adds, “and if you’re lucky enough to get in, even more expensive to attend.”
But the Whites adore Spartanburg’s Expecting Goodness Short Film Festival. Their adaptation of Thomas J. McConnell’s “A Proof For Roxanna” won the audience prize in 2012, and their film company was a corporate sponsor for last year’s event.
“Emily and I exemplify the marriage of film and literature,” Chris says, “I’m a total cinephile and she’s crazy for great writing. When Expecting Goodness approached us about leading the festival, we were nodding before they even popped the question.”
Expecting Goodness Film Festival is the only one of its kind in the world, pairing acclaimed short stories with South Carolina filmmakers who adapt the stories into screenplays and short films. More importantly, for the Whites and other independent filmmakers, it’s a festival that knows how to take care of and connect filmmakers.
“We’ve always felt at home in Spartanburg,” Emily says, “Especially at HUB-BUB and The Showroom. The Expecting Goodness Short Film Festival is just another way Spartanburg shows hospitality to emerging artists.”
As co-executive directors, Chris and Emily plan to build on two years of incredible success, extending that Spartanburg hospitality around the state with more screenings and more prizes and perks for filmmakers and writers. All while maintaining the festival’s grass roots, hometown feel.
“We want to make Expecting Goodness even better,” Chris says, “Emphasizing not only the importance of great stories as a basis of great films, but community-building as critical for emerging filmmakers in South Carolina.”
The Whites know the value of both story and community as it relates to film. They have independently produced three feature-length movies and a dozen short films in the past three years, all from their home in the Upstate of South Carolina. With Hollywood calling, they remain committed to their home state and to the process of “handmade films for friends.”