In Durham, the thrill of The Hunt | Arts

In Durham, the thrill of The Hunt


Solve this clue: Durham’s most famous romance unfolded at an 1880s James Manning-designed house. Shoot a short scene inspired by this iconic silver-screen couple on the porch.

Think you know the movie in question? If so, you could join The Hunt, a daylong video scavenger hunt, happening for the first time in Durham next month. Think of it as a seven-hour amateur filmmaking contest, a fast-paced historical tour of Durham, and a game of Trivial Pursuit all rolled into one.
  • Courtesy of The Hunt

At 8 a.m. on Saturday, October 25, dozens of four-person teams will meet in downtown Durham to receive a backpack containing the day’s clues. Teams will then follow each clue to landmarks linked to Durham’s past and present, where they will shoot a short video via smartphone and upload the clip to YouTube.

Meanwhile, judges will evaluate the videos and award points for speed, quality, humor and accuracy, among other categories. At the end of the day, the festivities will continue at Bull McCabes Pub, where champions receive prizes donated by local businesses.

“It’s a great event for people who are new to the city to learn about Durham, and for people who’ve been here for a long time to re-experience the treasures,” says Elisabeth Haviland James, an independent filmmaker and the mastermind behind The Hunt.
Years ago, James participated in a massive scavenger hunt that entailed taking Polaroid pictures all over New York City. “It was really fun and really exhausting,” she recalls. She wanted to recreate a similar event in Durham, this time with a filmmaking twist. As far as she knows, The Hunt is the first video scavenger hunt in the country.

“This challenge will not only expand your knowledge of the history, art and culture of the city, but it will also allow you an opportunity to play with tools that almost everyone has in their back pocket,” she says.

Organizers anticipate more than 200 people signing up for this uniquely Durham quest. Because The Hunt is slated for the weekend before Halloween, wild costumes and wacky team themes are highly encouraged. A few groups have already registered, and one team has named itself Ground Control to Major Bull.

“They’ll have to ham it up a little bit to win,” says James.

The event’s proceeds will support the Southern Documentary Fund (SDF), a Durham-based nonprofit that cultivates documentary projects in and around the South. The nonprofit was founded by Durham filmmakers Steve Channing and Cynthia Hill 12 years ago. Since then, it has supported more than 100 independent documentaries (including Private Violence, The Case Against 8, Los Jets, and Good Ol’ Freda), many of them award-winning. SDF is sponsoring more than 60 ongoing documentary projects through fiscal sponsorship and artist support services.
October’s event will help sustain Southern documentary, but participants don’t need to be film savvy to sign up. “It’s not designed for filmmakers,” assures James, who is a project director and former board member of SDF. “Anyone with a phone that can hit record and upload a video can do it.” Still, she hopes The Hunt will offer people a tiny window into the hard work documentary artists put into capturing the stories and lives of others.
For more information about The Hunt, look for the flyers posted around town and check out the event’s website and Twitter.

*Answer: The film is Bull Durham, and the scene features Susan Sarandon and Kevin Costner on the porch of the Queen Anne Victorian house at 911 N. Mangum Street, also known as the “Bull Durham House.”

Who: 50+ teams of up to four hunters each. Company teams, nonprofit teams, neighborhood teams, groups of friends, etc. Kids younger than 13 years old might want to sit this one out.
Where: The Hunt will take place within a 12-square mile area of downtown Durham. All locations will be accessible by foot, bike or Bull City Connector. The kickoff spot will be announced closer to the event.
When: Saturday, Oct. 25, beginning at 8 a.m. and lasting until the after-party from
4–7 p.m. at Bull McCabes Pub.
Registration: Regular/nonprofit team of four: $100 ($25/person)
Corporate team of four: $250 during early registration; $300 after Sept. 18.

Register and watch the video:
The Southern Documentary Fund:

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