Carolina BalloonFest featured in documentary



Statesville, NC. April 17, 2018 – Statesville North Carolina has yet again put itself on the map, not only as host to the second-oldest hot air balloon rally in the country, but also as home to an award-winning short film about its iconic fall festival, Carolina BalloonFest. The documentary, Our Story: Carolina BalloonFest, will be shown as part of the 13th Annual Myrtle Beach International Film Festival, held at the beach April 16 to 21.

The Film Festival’s schedule describes the documentary: “Our Story: Carolina BalloonFest rousingly tells, with sights and sounds, about the 2nd-oldest-running balloon festival in the United States. Daring
people who started an infectious festival ultimately drawing the best balloonists and enthusiasts from around the world. Historically, the piece takes you where you have never been before and involves you with the heartfelt act of the Balloon Fest paying right back to the community.”

Project coordinator, Kristie Darling, said, “This documentary was brought to life by a local film team who delved deep into our history and created an exciting account of the last 44 years of ballooning in Statesville.” Our Story: Carolina BalloonFest is directed by Peter Kulsziski, Sand Dollar Productions, and produced by David Comer, From Generation to Generation. The two filmmakers have worked in partnership for ten years, most recently producing The Gordon Family Story, Best Documentary winner at the 2016 South Carolina Cultural Film Festival and a Telly Awards bronze winner. They are currently in production on a documentary about Tracy Barnes, an internationally recognized hot air balloon designer and pioneer from Statesville.

“We are honored that this short film has been recognized at several film festivals since its release,” Kulsziki said. “That says so much about our topic: Carolina BalloonFest and the people who started this wonderful celebration 45 years ago. During production, we were introduced to amazing balloon pilots, festival organizers, and community leaders; amazing people with a wonderful story to tell. It was a pleasure to spend time with these people recalling their memories. The documentary is an introduction to a fascinating history and a community’s proud legacy. We hope to expand our work with a full-length documentary about BalloonFest soon.”

Four regional film festivals have selected Our Story: Carolina BalloonFest for inclusion in their events. The film was a featured documentary at the Cucalorus Film Festival, held annually each fall in Wilmington, North Carolina. It is one of the largest film festivals in the south, with over 300 films screened each year and attracting close to 20,000 film enthusiasts during its five-day run. It is now celebrating its 24th year.

The documentary was also featured last year at FilmSPARK, Raleigh’s annual film festival. FilmSPARK presents only films made in North Carolina, with a goal to share with the public excellent and engaging North Carolina-made films, as well as to raise awareness of the local filmmaking community.

And in Statesville, the Full Bloom Film Festival presented Our Story last September, among its selection of over 20 independent film makers’ diverse offerings. April’s Myrtle Beach International Film Festival is the fourth honor for Kulsziki’s and Comer’s most recent work.

Our Story: Carolina BalloonFest will be presented on Saturday, April 21, 2018 between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. For details on Myrtle Beach International Film Festival, visit

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