ASHEBORO — "Blue & Gold Marching Machine," an award-winning documentary by Randolph Community College students about N.C. A&T's famed marching band, is up for another honor Thursday.
The film, named best documentary June 8 at the Cape Fear Independent Film Festival in Wilmington, will be shown Thursday at the Joedance Film Festival in Charlotte.
Eighteen productions will be screened, and one will receive a Judges Award on Saturday.
Randolph Community College students filmed from band camp until homecoming, said Jay Capers, photojournalism and multimedia instructor.
"We were able to pull it off in a semester," photography student Jenifer Hughey said. "I'm still amazed."
With band camp before the start of RCC's semester, the student team had to begin filming before their class started.
Capers said three to six photographers were at each of A&T's football games as well as at some of the rehearsals. The highlight was A&T's "Greatest Homecoming on Earth."
The Aggies are nationally known for their marching band. For that reason, the 200 to 300 students who come out for band are expected to give their best during hours of practice that include stretching, physical workouts, dancing, marching and playing instruments.
During filming, each RCC student was assigned an A&T musician to follow, interview and photograph. The idea was to learn not only what goes into creating an award-winning band but also a look into the rest of the student's life. That led to a back story of one band member and her relationship with her mother.
"We're all passionate about it," photography student Jenifer Hughey said. "There's so much invested physically, mentally and emotionally."
As with the Blue & Gold Marching Band, the RCC photography students become a "unique, huge family here," Hughey said. "We grow close and find out who we work well with."
Their five months of filming produced 500 hours of footage that had to be reduced to 16 minutes while telling the story in a relatable way.
"I'm blown away they can reduce a film to 16 minutes and keep it interesting," he said.
Hughey and Capers will represent the documentary team at the Charlotte festival. Filmmakers get two VIP passes to the festival and participate in a Q&A following their film screening.
Capers is hoping to get "Blue & Gold Marching Machine" shown at a couple more film festivals as well.
"We cared about the film so much and were deeply inspired by the band, seeing what the band students put into it," Hughey said. "We were emotionally invested."