Julie McElmurry, Filmmaker
I love interviewing, filming, editing + showing my movies to people!
A woman in my 40s, I’m learning filmmaking through CPCC and through Charlotte Film School, which I created in the spring of 2017 to connect us newbie filmmakers with local experts who are generous enough to teach us the craft.
I’m currently working on my 5th movie. Special thanks to National Catholic Women’s Week which as provided 2 grants of $1000 which covered most of the travel and material expenses of these projects!
Music wise, I have collaborated with Bryan Holt, a Charlotte, NC based composer and Ian Scott Holmes, a Scotland based composer who have created evocative, original scores to compliment 300 Years of Good and Energy of Nuns, respectively.
I’m learning film making so that my lack of technical skills will not get in the way of the real life stories I am capturing. I am most interested in capturing, preserving and sharing the stories of women. I love getting to know them and introducing you to them through these movies.
Contact me and let’s get a conversation goin’.
Such a Free Life (19 min., August 2017)
I am so happy that the women of this monastery have trusted me to tell a little piece of their story, from my perspective as an outsider. Such a Free Life: A Glimpse at South Carolina’s Franciscan Monastery. When they saw it, they told me they felt I had “captured their spirit” which is probably the biggest affirmation I could receive as a filmmaker.
The title, “Such a Free Life” comes from a description by the Abbess, describing their life. As outsiders, we make a lot of assumptions about what life must be like on the other side of the wall of a monastery. Maybe we picture some dark, dank, foreboding place full of dour figures. Take a look at their depictions in fiction and you see traits thrust on the characters which have nothing to do with reality.
When you see this, you may be surprised to hear about a regular visitor who met one of the women when his bus hit her car years ago, or you may be surprised to see someone taking out the recycling and then you realize it is the Abbess herself. The women, who follow a tradition begun 800 years ago by St. Clare of Assisi, have had a monastery in Upstate South Carolina since the 1950s and South Carolina will always be their home.
300 Years of Good (30 min., 2017)
300 Years of Good refers to the collective 300 years given by the 9 women religious featured in the movie to the people of North and South Carolina.
For this movie, I traveled all over NC and SC interviewing women about their work. Sr. Ann has been a foster mother to 80 kids, Sr. Nancy gives a humorous lesson on keeping orchids alive (no ice cubes, people!), Sr. Mary tells the story of her recent reunion with orphan kids she took care of in Raleigh… they’re in their 70s now!
It is currently (2017) being submitted to film festivals.
Put aside your assumptions about who Sisters are and get motivated to do some good by their varied stories including life with homeless people in Charleston, deciding to become a nun at age 50something and bringing Valentines to drug addicts on the outskirts of a town in South Carolina.
Anna’s Place + Energy of Nuns
Click here to listen to an interview about Energy of Nuns for the SisterStory Blog on Soundcloud.
Anna’s Place and Energy of Nuns have been
official selections of 5 Film Festivals so far
Anna’s Place (30 min., 2016)
This is the 1st movie I made. It is about the interesting people who hang out at Anna’s Place in Chester, PA, finding community, camaraderie, computers, crocheting and laughter.
Energy of Nuns (30 min., 2016)
This is the second movie I made. I spent Feb. 2016 in FL, PA and HI interviewing lots of women. Enjoy their stories about death, life and service to others, especially to the poor.
Current (Late Summer, 2017) Projects
I am currently working on my 5th movies. #5 is about the Franciscan Felician sisters who serve in Kingstree, South Carolina.
Stay tuned for more details.
Special thanks to National Catholic Sisters Week which has granted me 2 grants of $1000 each. With this money, I was able to travel to collect interviews with women in PA, FL, HI, NC and SC and make 4 movies!
As of now, I have not paid myself nor gotten paid for the time spent making the movies which includes travel + about 90 hours of editing to make a 20 minute movie. As I work on my 6th and future projects, I will be finding a way to receive a stipend.
I will be seeking people and foundations who believe in the importance of the work I am doing. I am capturing, preserving and sharing the stories of women religious. I see this as urgent work. I also see this as a sort of calling in my life right now. I am very passionate about these projects. I hope and pray I will be able to find people who can help me continue this work as I need to be able to a.)improve my technical skills through formal training so that my skills allow me to present their awesome stories without hindrance b.)purchase additional equipment (please see wish list below).
Franciscan Passages Movie Wish List
I may be turning to an online crowd-funding website as I seek money. I’d gladly accept any advice from experienced people. I do not enjoy dealing with or thinking about money and need help.
- $1000 would cover the class of about 3 classes offered through the Duke University Center for Documentary Studies (on editing and other technical aspects).
- $20 will pay for an extra sd card
- $2000 would cover the costs of a whole new movie from scratch
- $1500 would cover the cost of a used, older but great quality camera
Watch Franciscan Passages’ Documentaries right now, for free
Click on the links above-what are you waiting for?