By Lily Jones
Rant Correspondent

From full movies to podcasts and short films, cinema lives in the hearts of everyone. For proof that local level film is on the rise, look no further than Sanford.

Good writers often stick around to the career that incorporates their passion. Jared Campbell, a local filmmaker and the general manager of Spring Lane Cinemas in Sanford, embodies this sentiment.

Campbell started his film career at 14 with a fascination with horror and animation naturally leading to a passion for filmmaking. He took to YouTube, and with the help of some childhood friends they began creating short films. There was some initial recognition, but not enough for Campbell to feel like he could start a career. Being realistic, he continued to feed his love of film by starting at Spring Lane Cinemas in 2011.

He continued working there for four years, collecting more than 5,000 VHS tapes, making friends, and meeting his future wife. It wasn’t until 2014 when he returned to filmmaking.

Campbell and two of his colleagues began developing a script for his trilogy “OMART,” a story based in an adult movie store with absurd comedy and wild adventures, which was eventually picked up by Visart Video in Charlotte.

Through his most recent movie “RoseMary and Sage,” Campbell’s love of writing and directing movies has never died.

“The market for movies is over saturated with superheroes and remakes of the same horror plot line that has been done again and again,” he said. “It’s easy money.”

Campbell believes the making of a good film starts with the soul and passion one puts into creating it. This comes into play with “RoseMary and Sage,” a LGBT+ cop thriller penned by Campbell.

“It takes the idea of LGBT+ characters and normalizes them existing without the overwhelming need to address it,” he said.

Campbell’s progressive ideas in the film industry are key to what makes his work special. In the making is a sequel, “RoseMary and Sage: Turn Back Thyme.” It should be on the big screen at Spring Lane Cinemas in 2023.

On the other side of the screen is a Lee County High School chemistry teacher named William Mulligan. Mulligan found his love of film in horror movies while at school, and started getting into short films in 2005.

“I think the scariest thing to do is to take something completely realistic, like a paper cut or getting a nail ripped off, and run with it,” he said. “Seeing someone getting chainsawed in half is one thing, but everyone has had a paper cut.”

His views on horror are special in this regard. Taking a realistic scenario and upping the standards by tremendous amounts amplifies the effect.

Mulligan said his educational career has perks in terms of the process of creating horror cosmetics, from finding the perfect mix of chemicals for creating non-staining fake blood to understanding realistic sides of horror.

“No matter where you start, even if it’s a low budget short film with two of your friends, even if it goes absolutely nowhere, you’re creating something. Be proud,” Mulligan said.

Mulligan is also the author of horror novel “Raum,” which examines a lawyer who accidentally releases a demon, and is currently working on a sequel. He also hosts the ConCarolinas film festival and is always looking for short films to show.

All filmmakers have their quirks, whether it’s a specific location, a lighting choice, or even a unique process. The common variable among local filmmakers is an unbelievable love for the art, and the thrill that comes from seeing others enjoy what they’ve spent years creating.