GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — A UNC Greensboro student is heading to multiple film festivals this year and not just to catch some movies.
Duncan Lauer’s short, fully animated documentary “Future’s Resistance” is playing at two upcoming festivals — FullBloom and ChangeFest — a fact that Lauer calls “insane” and “incredible.”
Lauer transferred from UNC’s School of the Arts to UNCG’s media studies department, where he’s currently finishing his bachelor’s degree. He’s set to graduate in 2022.
“Future’s Resistance” centers on Lauer’s best friend, a young woman in Beirut, Lebanon, in the aftermath of the explosion that rocked the city — and the world — last summer, leaving dozens dead and thousands injured.
But the idea didn’t start with the explosion. Political upheaval and social unrest had been building in Lebanon for some time.
“It was always something I would hear about, and there was never anything that I could do,” Lauer said.
He had initially thought to work on some kind of project as a way to build awareness, though he lacked a firm topic.
“I just knew I wanted to make a film about Lebanon to try and help,” he said. “And then the explosion happened.”
Lauer had found his subject. And he had his framework, too: a Documentary Production class slated for the fall of 2020.
What he conceived of was a fully animated short documentary about someone half a world away. During a global pandemic. It was an ambitious task for the first documentary the young filmmaker had ever tackled, but the message was important to him, so he faced it head-on.
Lauer admits he wasn’t always confident he would finish “Future’s Resistance” but says that support from his professor was essential to the project.
“As nervous as (Professor Kevin Wells) might have been at the idea of making an entire animated documentary short film, his guidance was incredibly important to me,” he said. “I must have made a million audio cuts, trying to make sure it was perfect.”
His hard work paid off, and now he’s heading to festivals with his project. Lauer says it’s hard to strike a balance between his excitement and the gravity of the subject matter. It’s a serious film about a serious subject, but still, he’s thrilled. However, he maintains his modesty. He’s more interested in spreading awareness about this difficult subject than he is to revel in his own success.
“The fact that I get to have this experience while I’m in college is really helpful and nice. I think it’ll help me in the future,” he said.
Lauer credits his transfer from UNC’s School of the Arts to UNC Greensboro with some of his success. School of the Arts was his “dream school” and instrumental to his growth as an artist, but the flexibility and freedom of UNCG’s Media Studies program suited his learning style better.
“I don’t believe I would have been able to make this without me leaving (UNCSA) and going to UNCG,” he said.
The documentary production class offered him an opportunity to learn and grow, but Professor Wells told him to worry more about the actual art than just a grade, and Duncan says “without that, it would not have been what it is.”
“Being at UNCG, being with Professor Wells, being with that class — especially during a pandemic, where things are already difficult — having that flexibility was monumental in shaping the film,” he said. “I will always be grateful to the school and always be grateful to Professor Wells and everyone else who helped me, especially in the class, who helped me make this. It was an amazing experience and I couldn’t have done it otherwise.”
You can catch “Future’s Resistance” at FullBloom Film Festival during a special premiere on Sept. 9, and then on Sept. 10 and 11 at the Iredell Arts Council or D’Laney’s Annex in Statesville.
You can also purchase tickets to stream the film through ChangeFest, starting Sept. 17.
It will also play at the Raleigh Film & Arts Festival later this year.
You can follow Duncan Lauer on Instagram.