_D5C5045brianby Brian Clarey

You might think that this week’s cover story, “Small surprises,” beginning on page 16, is about a movie.

It is — “Crooked Candy” is a taut little film about an interesting subject and his obsession with Kinder Surprise European chocolate eggs, which are illegal in this country.

It’s also about the creative process, the film-festival circuit and why most short documentaries suck.

But the theme that’s most important to me is the illustration of what happens when our best and brightest stick around awhile and get to know each other.

I’ve known Andrew Rodgers since he took over as executive director of Winston-Salem’s RiverRun International Film Festival. He’s a great interview — former journalists are like that — and a great citizen of the Triad for nurturing what has become one of the Camel City’s most important signature events.

I’ve known his collaborator Harvey Robinson longer than that. We met in 2000, shortly after I moved to town, working together at a restaurant known as the Exchange on Greensboro’s Tate Street. He was planning a career in film; I was getting my feet wet in the local journalism scene.

We’ve both come a long way.

Harvey and Andrew never met until last year, when the “Crooked Candy” project started to grow legs.

When it’s all over, the six-minute film should be screened at about a dozen festivals worldwide, maybe more. And they’re already plotting their next film.

This is what happens when talented people decide to stay.

Both of these guys could have moved on to bigger markets for better opportunities, and more money. Neither did. They had their reasons.

And so they developed their talents here in the Triad. The guy from Greensboro and the guy from Winston-Salem met just as each approached their prime. Their collaboration — just the first one, mind you — has been successful beyond anything they imagined, and their ride’s not over yet.

There’s a moral to this story too, one that I see playing out again and again: When talented people stick around, good things happen. And for creative professionals, the Triad is looking better every day.

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