People’s Choice • Vote Now

Only one of these stories will get the Hollywood treatment as part of the virtual Firsts That Last film festival – and it’s up to you to make the casting call on which filmmaker will join the other 11 finalists. Watch below, and vote for the story you’d like to be told in a film.

Voting closes at 11:59 pm ET on April 15, 2022. For more details, see Official Rules & Regulations.

‘Finding Shakori’
  • 2878 votes

Veteran filmmaker Kristi Ray offers a new perspective of the Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival of Music & Dance through one band’s first performance there.


Kristi Ray

‘The State That Heals’
  • 4738 votes

After a major life upheaval, filmmaker Luke Gloeckner embarks on a road trip – and he quickly finds that North Carolina would be the perfect place for a fresh start.


Luke Gloeckner

‘A Wrinkle in Island Time’
  • 642 votes

First-time filmmaker Dani Azul shows how the ferry ride to Ocracoke Island can act as a time machine, making old love feel new again, for one couple.


Dani Azul

Film Series • Currently in Production

Here’s what you can expect from the Firsts That Last film series: a queen. A mandolin. A coffee cart. All with special ties to North Carolina, where memories were made, dreams came true and lives were changed. Experience all these incredible films for yourself this summer, then join us in August to vote for your favorite!

‘Queen of Pisgah’

In her first pro bike race in Pisgah National Forest, Kaysee Armstrong is humbled by the terrain. Four years later and fierce with determination, Kaysee returns for redemption.


Curren Sheldon

‘So Far’

1,175 miles make up the Mountains-to-Sea Trail in North Carolina. And in 2018, Jeff and Debra Rezeli found more than just stunning scenery on the life-altering trek.


Bryan Rierson

‘In the Rearview’

As two siblings look back on a road trip with their father 20 years ago, they discover their memories have faded. But the feelings they share when returning to these mountains remain the same.


Meagan Massa

‘Jacob’s First Mandolin’

A friendly wager on a family fishing trip to Emerald Isle years ago resulted in one boy’s dream come true. That boy, all grown up, turned his dream come true into a career.


Taylor Sharp

‘The Wapiti of Cataloochee’

In Rick Bryson’s childhood home, an old photograph of the last living elk in NC shaped his future – a future that included helping reintroduce elk to Cataloochee Valley.


Rick Bryson

‘Making Waves’

Areli Barrera and Leon Grodski Barrera arrived in Durham and turned a bicycle cart into three thriving cafes and an award-winning microroaster. At the heart of it all? Community.


Pilar Timpane


For the visually impaired, art has its limitations – but pottery is a special art form where the sense of touch makes all the difference in the world.


Josh Sliffe

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