It’s a week and a half before the opening of the third annual SPARKcon, and about 20 of the participants are gathered on the second floor of DesignBox in downtown Raleigh to finalize plans. Dressed in everything from vintage outfits to suits to T-shirts and shorts, they buzz among themselves, quickly resolving minor difficulties; one person worries that they’re short on tents, only to find another has some extras he’s happy to share.

As the discussion continues, Jarrett Lee of filmSPARK mentions that they’ve been contacted by Disney about running a preview of Spike Lee’s new film Miracle at St. Anna as part of the presentation. There’s a slightly awkward moment before it’s determined that it’s past the due date for submissions. “Sorry, Spike!” Lee jokes.

Even with his independent film credentials, a known Hollywood commodity like Spike Lee doesn’t have much of a place at SPARKcon, where the talent on display is local and often unknown. For its third year, SPARKcon continues to wage the battle to help brand the Triangle as “the creative hub of the South.” The three-day conference and showcase of local talent is designed to bring together the area’s creative community, helping it connect with the public—and itself.

Full Story in the Independent Weekly