For the past two years, the annual Film Fest 919 has rounded up the best of the festival circuit at Silverspot Cinema to basically give Chapel Hill its own mini-Cannes, often providing local viewers with their first, if not only, chance to see future Oscar winners on the big screen.

Though the festival isn’t until October, it just announced two ways to keep yourself busy and engaged with the social experience of cinema during the coronavirus shutdown.

Film Fest 919 is crowd-sourcing the Social Distancing Film, Song, & Photo Festival “for works written, produced by, and starring their stay-at-home crews.” Make your quarantine short and then post it to social media with the tag #FF919 by May 15. The 10 entries that receive the most engagements will be shown during a special event at the festival, which is October 14–18.

And if you’re not a full-fledged filmmaker, you can just reenact a favorite scene or make a music video or narrative photo montage. 

“We will be watching!” cofounders Randi Emerman and Carol Marshall said in a press release. “We only ask that participants are staying at home, following social distancing guidelines, and creating content suitable for all ages and audiences.”

For more passive film fans, the festival is also launching its Virtual Film Series of Zoom Q-and-A sessions with industry professionals about films available to watch on Netflix or Amazon Prime. 

The first selection is The Little Traitor, starring Alfred Molina. Director Lynn Roth will be on Zoom to discuss the film with fans at 7:00 p.m. EST on Thursday, April 16.

The Florida Project writer Chris Bergoch follows at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 30, while Emerman and Marshall host a Zoom wine social after Bottle Shock at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 14. 

The Virtual Film Series is free with preregistration; access information by subscribing to the festival’s newsletter at the bottom of its homepage or following it on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter

Contact arts and culture editor Brian Howe at