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We all know that Downtown Greenville is so picturesque, that it looks almost like a movie set. And it has been cast in a major role as background for several area commercials and indie films as well as being a gracious hostess to numerous stars of the big and little screen, including Renee Zellweger and George Clooney. But now DTGVL is taking a place behind the camera to play host to its first ever International Film Festival.

The 2012 International Film Festival will be held at various Downtown locations starting April 25th with an Opening Ceremony and Soiree at ZEN. The festival will feature about 50 independent films from all over the US and the world. Films range from short documentaries and narrative shorts to animated films and “green” films. The directorial talent ranges from international filmmakers to students to up-and-coming filmmakers – including local filmmaker, James Wiley of Riverside High. Films are shown in “Blocks” of 4 – 6 films in a 2-3 hour period. Coffee Underground, ZEN, The Kroc Center and The Upcountry History Museum are among the venues that will be hosting these events. Tickets for these screenings are $10. Tickets for other festival events range from $25 – $40 per event – or you can purchase a VIP Festival Pass, which gives you access to all events, for $99. For a list of featured films, screening times and ticket information, visit: www.gviff.com.

Centre Stage and ZEN will also offer various workshops hosted by award winning professionals from the film industry.  Topics range from “The Art of the Documentary” (hosted by Emmy winner, Harvey Hubbell V) to “Digital Filmmaking Tools” (with Academy award winner, Dr. Jerry Tessendorf).  The cost for these intensive workshops ranges from $25 – $30. Not to be left out, Warehouse Theatre offers its own homage to the film-making industry with “The Importance of Film and Movies in our American Lives”. As part of their WHT Forum Series, this engaging dialogue is centered around one of the Warehouse Theatre’s mainstage productions: “39 Steps”. The forum takes place on Wednesday, April 25 at 6PM and is free and open to the public.

If you find that you can’t get enough film after the Film Festival…not to worry. The Peace Center offers an array of film features for movie enthusiasts. Their “Downtown Films” series offers locals and visitors alike the chance to see films you can’t see anywhere else – from the hottest independent films, acclaimed foreign features, and beloved cinema classics. Digital surround sound and HD, not to mention the availability of beer and wine, make your viewing experience even better. The next film screening, “Monsieur Lazhar” (a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nominee) is scheduled for May 24th. Tickets are $9 with general admission seating. Opera and ballet aficionados need not feel left out – the Peace Center has thought of you as well. Their “Opera and Ballet in Cinema” Series features live performances and encore presentations of beloved classics from the worlds of opera and ballet – performed by the greatest artists of our time. Next on the schedule are the opera “Rigoletto” from the Royal Opera House in London on May 13th and “La Fille Mal Gardee”, a live streaming performance from the London Royal Ballet. Tickets for these screenings are $20. For a full schedule of both “Downtown Films” and “Opera and Ballet in Cinema”, visit: www.peace center.org.

If your budget favors something more on the “Free” side, don’t fret. Starting in May, Downtown Greenville will again be playing host to Moonlight Movies every Wednesday. This free, outdoor screening of beloved family and classic movies will take place at Falls Park around 8PM-ish. The series starts with a screening of “The Muppet Movie” on May 2nd. Lawn chairs, blankets and picnics are welcome, but like most city-sponsored events, pets are not allowed. For more information, visit: http://www.greenvillesc.gov/PublicInfo_Events/MoonlightMovies.aspx

Other venues in Downtown Greenville offer opportunities to see a variety of indie and classic films as well. Coffee Underground often shows screenings of indie films in their private theater. The Upstate History Museum also plays host to movie screenings of films that have historical significance. The schedule varies so check with the venues for more information.

So, as you see, Downtown Greenville gives movie lovers of all types a diversity of opportunities to see films they might otherwise not have a chance to see. So, gather up your fellow film fanatics to view something other than your run-of-the-mill blockbuster movie. You’ll be glad you did!

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When the days get longer and the temps warm up, Downtown Greenville “springs” into action with a flurry of great outdoor events. Everything from outdoor concerts and movie screenings, to farmer’s markets and festivals…DTGVL has a little something for everyone!  And the best thing? Most of them are FREE! So, round up your family and friends and head Downtown for a little fun in the sun!

March kicks things off with two of Downtown’s favorite concert events: Downtown Alive and Main Street Fridays. Chosen as one of the Best Places to Hear Free Live Music by fans of the Downtown Greenville, SC Facebook Page, Downtown Alive takes place every Thursday around 5:30PM at the Hyatt Plaza. Featuring some of the best musical talent the Upstate (and beyond) has to offer, this year’s concert series starts March 15th with a performance by local favorite, Kelly Jo Connect.  Not to be outdone, Main Street Fridays (which shares DTA’s Main Street venue and 5:30 timeslot), gets Downtown groovin’ on March 16th with the sweet funky sounds of Chocolate Thunder.  These free concerts continue until late August / September and are the music lover’s ritual that signals the start of the weekend.

April sees not only the continuation of DTA & MSF, but also Greenville’s very first International Film Festival. The goal of this multi-day event is to unite film enthusiasts and filmmakers from around the world to display the power of visual storytelling, creative excellence, and imagination of independent filmmaking. The event begins April 25th and continues until the 28th. Several Downtown locations will share hosting duties including Coffee Underground, ZEN, Centre Stage and The Kroc Center. Martial Arts and Eastern philosophy enthusiasts may enjoy taking part in World Tai Chi and Qigong Day on April 28th. This special event, held at Falls Park, will celebrate, demonstrate and educate the public on Tai Chi and Qigong. If your life’s philosophy includes BBQ, then you will not want to miss Project Host’s BBQ Festival on April 27th and 28th. Pulled pork aficionados will gather on Broad Street for a fun-filled festival with entertainment, crafts, cooking competitions and best of all…BBQ! Be sure to bring your appetite!

DTGVL’s calendar really revs up in May with a smorgasbord of fun! The merriment begins May 2 with Moonlight Movies. Featuring everything from family favorites like “The Muppet Movie” to nostalgic cinema classics such as “An American in Paris”, everyone from Grandma to the kids will find a film they like. Screenings take place every Wednesday in May around 8PM and due to the construction at The Peace Center, will happen in a new Falls Park location this year. Lawn chairs, blankets and picnics are welcomed (and fun), but like most City-sponsored events, pets are prohibited.

The first weekend in May will also see the return of the Saturday Market. This outdoor farmers’ market, features locally grown, farm-fresh foods as well as locally grown crafts, and begins May 5th at its long-time location on Court Street. Like the name implies, The Saturday Market takes place every Saturday from 8AM until noon and will run until October. Also taking place Downtown on May 5th is The Reedy River Rubber Duck Derby. This delightful annual event, featuring a river full of cute, little yellow rubber duckies, benefits local charities.

Thespians will be thrilled with two sophisticated events occurring in the month of May. Artisphere, one of Downtown Greenville’s premier festivals, takes place the weekend of the 11th through the 13th. Featuring the works of visual artists from all over the country, this art fest is a favorite of locals and visitors alike. Although the artwork is the highlight of this event, festival goers can enjoy a diverse selection of food and beverage and as well as experience the musical talents of local bands performing on a number of stages. Fans of the Bard will be happy to hear that Shakespeare in the Park will be starting up again on May 24th. Every Thursday – Sunday evening, Falls Park will play host to the enchanting works of William Shakespeare (with a modern twist) performed by a troupe of talented actors.  Audience participation is welcomed and very much encouraged.

If you’re looking for entertainment with an ethnic flavor, May offers two fun-filled festivals featuring the cultures of Greece and Scotland. Craving baklava? Then head over to St. George Greek Orthodox Church May 17th through 20th for the Greenville Greek Festival. Don’t miss this chance  to experience everything Greek with Greenville’s Greek Community! Mad for plaid? Then Greenville’s Scottish Games are just the thing that’ll make your kilt twirl! Starting with the Great Scot Parade down Main Street and ceilidh (that’s Gaelic for party) on May 25th, the good times continue with The Games at Furman on the 26th.

In recent years, Greenville has become a mecca for cyclists and cycle enthusiasts. Once again, Downtown Greenville will place host to USA Cycling Pro Championship Road Race on the 28th, with time trials taking place on the 26th. Some streets along the race route may be temporarily closed or blocked off on the day of the race.

So, you see, there is absolutely no excuse to sit at home on the beautiful Spring days for which our area is famous. Call your friends, grab your sunglasses and head Downtown to savor all that Greenville has to offer! See you there!



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