Joedance Film Festival

Benefiting Rare Pediatric Cancer Research
Know Before You Go 150 150 Joedance Film Festival

Know Before You Go

Joedance | February 5, 2020


Know Before You Go

Friday, February 7, 2020
Doors: 6 pm / Screenings 7:00 pm
Please register for free tickets at Eventbrite

Details surrounding the event are as follows:
Location: CoCo and the Director
Address: 100 W Trade St, Charlotte, NC 28202

Please ensure additional time for parking due to heavy construction on Trade St.

The event is FREE. Please register for tickets at Eventbrite.
Donations are welcome to benefit Joedance.
Beer and Wine available for purchase.

Assigned seating is not available, please arrive early to ensure your seat of choice.


Forest Adventure dir. Micah Taylor and Amber Ensley (3:49)

Hot Questions dir. Dean Garris, writer Alexander Jullian III (8:42)

Inner City Dreams dir. Bob White, prod. Katy Harbor, Grahame Wood and Paul Heller (16:00)

Made possible by Foundation For The Carolinas


Joedance Film Festival Check Presentation to Levine Children’s 150 150 Joedance Film Festival

Joedance Film Festival Check Presentation to Levine Children’s

Joedance | February 5, 2020

A List of Things I Think About When Remembering My Son on the Edge of the Morning (In No Particular Order) 150 150 Joedance Film Festival

A List of Things I Think About When Remembering My Son on the Edge of the Morning (In No Particular Order)

Joedance | December 20, 2019


13. I never appreciated Joe’s obsessive need for organization more than when he managed to fit his entire birth into a 9-5 workday.

3. That boy could hold a grudge. It was a long, slow burn with that kid.

137. I was equal parts mortified and impressed when Joe somehow decided that pretending to drown while swimming the butterfly during a summer league swim meet would get him out of finishing the race. I still can’t believe he won a third-place ribbon.

85. I could never figure out if he insisted on licking his plate clean during dinner because my cooking was actually that good or because he knew I hated it. Perhaps both, or maybe neither. I always meant to ask.

26. When he abandoned his gerbil, Nibbles, after it ate his other gerbil, Big Tex, I was very glad he never wanted to become a lawyer or police officer. His sense of justice was always a bit cut and dry, no middle-ground.

1. That boy loved LEGOs.

44. Also Batman.

203. As he got older, Joe understood the importance of forgiveness. Despite everything our family went through, despite knowing near the end his time was limited, he learned to let go. Or maybe, it was because he knew it was over. In a way, dying seemed to soften his ridged edges near the end.

50. One of my favorite pictures of him is from middle school, when he and three friends went as the Four Musketeers for Halloween and since their school didn’t allow fake weapons as part of a costume, they all had rubber chickens instead.

51. Or maybe it was the picture of him and his elementary school Headmaster when Joe dressed up as him for Halloween two years before going as a Musketeer.

12. For how much Mike and I emphasized how important education was on all three of our boys, I’m sure it was Joe who proved it to Tony and David simply by example.

11. No, I’m serious. He really loved LEGOs.

62. When he was so small I could hold him with one arm, he liked to sit with his fists tucked under his chin, eyes squished closed, like he was already trying to solve all the toughest problems the world had to offer.

89. Joe had to get a pallet-expander put in the roof of his mouth around the age of eleven or twelve. Every week I would have to twist a small detachable key to help realign his teeth. He would sit on his bed, hands twisted in his sheets, staring over my shoulder at nothing in particular, telling me over and over: ‘I’m fine, Mom. I’m fine.’ I got to know that face too well in the years leading to his death. I hate that I remember that face at all. I hate that face the most.

131. I don’t even think love covers it when it came to Joe and his LEGOs. He would assemble them exactly as directed when he got a new set and then place them all on a shelf and wouldn’t let anyone even touch them again. They moved with us to five different houses in three different states. He would wrap them and place them neatly in a box and when we got to the new location he would take them back out and get so annoyed when he saw a piece had detached, but he would still carefully put them back together and place them on a shelf or a window ledge before unpacking the rest of his room.

202. Like most kids, he started eating the crust of his sandwiches, but I’ve always thought it was more because he was expected to when he got older and less because he liked it. He was always good about things like that.

79. I find that because of my work with Joedance, I have to remind myself that he wasn’t just the young man of eighteen or nineteen or twenty walking towards death with certainty no one his age should. He was three when he became a big brother, and then four when he liked to squeeze himself between Tony and David and pretend to read to them from a picture book that had no words. He was once five and found it fun to pretend to conduct the music playing from the radio like Mickey Mouse with the brooms in the movie Fantasia. At eight, he hated the move from Texas to Tennessee so much that every night for a week he pretended to run away, but only got so far as the edge of our backyard where he would sit until he would quietly come back inside in time to have dinner with the family. He was fourteen, shoulders back, jaw clenched, standing in his freshman dorm room at McCallie when I first saw the shadow of the man he was becoming.

213. I remember him laughing so hard once at dinner that he fell out of his chair and just kept laughing.

156. He once demanded he dressed up in business casual, complete with his own briefcase when Mike took him to a ‘Bring Your Son to Work’ day at JCPenney.

333. He liked Jeopardy! but hated Wheel of Fortune.

88. He liked to use his younger brothers as an excuse for why he still watched cartoons.

7. All his favorite movies were obnoxiously long, but I’m almost positive that was an ego thing more than anything.

19. He loved tomato and mayonnaise sandwiches and then eating them standing over the sink.

180. Some nights, not often, but some nights I find myself wide awake with dawn dragging itself over the horizon wondering, worrying if I’m remembering him right at all.

 Written by David Restaino, Joe’s brother.

3 Ways To Make A Meaningful Donation To Joedance Without Breaking The Bank 150 150 Joedance Film Festival

3 Ways To Make A Meaningful Donation To Joedance Without Breaking The Bank

Joedance | November 22, 2019

’Tis the season of giving!

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and we’re thankful for all of our sponsors, filmmakers, donors, and friends who help keep Joedance going year-round! As we close out 2019 and welcome a new decade, we’re thankful for 10 wonderful years as a nonprofit.

We’re thankful for the strides made in the battle against pediatric cancer…

We’re thankful for the growth and support we’ve experienced over the past decade…

And we’re thankful for your support!

As a nonprofit, your financial support is what fuels us. But, in the spirit of the season, there are ways you can give without writing a $1,000 check (but we’ll take that if you’d like…)

1. Shop Amazon: Get an early start on your holiday shopping with Amazon. This is the easiest way to give! Head over to and select Joedance as your charity of choice. Amazon will then make a donation to Joedance every time you shop- it’s that simple!

2. We need paper. Lots of it. Even though it doesn’t sound all that exciting or glamorous, it’s what we need. Find it on our Amazon Smile Wish List.

3. Donate $14.68 to our Days Campaign. Perhaps this is the most meaningful contribution you can make! The best part is we’re SO CLOSE to reaching our goal of $14,680. In fact, we’re at $13,518 today. Help us reach our goal and make a meaningful donation to honor Joe’s 1,468-day battle against cancer. DONATE HERE

Expanding Beyond The Carolinas To Welcome A New Decade 150 150 Joedance Film Festival

Expanding Beyond The Carolinas To Welcome A New Decade

Joedance | November 13, 2019

It’s hard to believe that a new decade is approaching! As we look back on the past 10 years, our hearts are full. Joedance has grown so much over the past 10 years and we’re thankful for the support from our local community.

Now, as we look ahead to 2020, we’re excited to welcome yet another “first” at the 2020 Joedance Film Festival. For the first time in the history of the festival, we’re welcoming filmmakers with a connection to Georgia or Tennessee. We recognize the growth and progress we’ve made over the past 10 years and we can’t think of a better way to celebrate the new decade than by inviting filmmakers from our sister states.

Growth Made Possible By YOU

Of course, all of our growth and success over the past 10 years are made possible by YOU. We’re thankful for our loyal donors, sponsors, and festival patrons who’ve helped in so many ways. This year, we’re participating in SHARE Charlotte’s #GivingTuesdayCLT campaign along with hundreds of other local nonprofits. During the Giving Tuesday campaign, we’re keeping the spotlight on our 1,468 days campaign.

Your support of Joedance has helped make meaningful strides in the battle against pediatric cancer. We’re asking you to recognize Joe’s 1,468 days with a special donation during the holiday season. Whether it’s a penny a day, or more if you can afford it, please help us remember Joe’s struggle while we continue to find a cure. Donate Today

A Treasured Gift 150 150 Joedance Film Festival

A Treasured Gift

Joedance | September 30, 2019


On September 30, 2009, Joe Restaino, a 2008 McCallie graduate, returned to the school he loved to deliver a chapel talk knowing there would be no cure for the osteosarcoma he’d been diagnosed with three years earlier. There, before students, faculty, his family and friends, he spoke eloquently about overcoming fear and being free. 

Seated in the audience was my then 15-year old son John, who was about four weeks into his own McCallie experience. At the time, boarding school was all new to our family. We didn’t know then that our adventure at McCallie would span ten years, include all three of our boys, and bless us beyond measure. We didn’t know then the impact that Joe Restaino and his family would have on us.

Shortly after that chapel talk, I got a phone call from John. We were early enough in the experience that an unscheduled, daytime phone call certainly got my attention. When I answered, John spoke with a voice full of emotion telling me about listening to Joe’s talk and seeing the love of the community and all of Joe’s family and friends who had come to support him. It was at that moment, he said, that he could begin to truly grasp how special McCallie was. The words about facing fear gave him courage, he said, and confirmed for him that taking this risk and leaving home at such a young age was the right thing to do. I think for the first time in months, we all exhaled. 

We never got the chance to know Joe. He passed away four months later in January of 2010. But for our family, his courageous chapel talk that fall is a treasured gift—a moment in time that inspired a young boy who went on to embrace his experience at McCallie and set an example for his younger brothers to do the same.

At the end of his life, Joe asked his family to work toward finding cures and improving treatment options for rare pediatric cancers. The Joedance Film Festival has been honoring his request for ten years and is going strong.

Today, I invite you to help us continue this life-saving work by making a small donation of $14.68 to honor the 1,468 days Joe fought his battle. Whether it’s a penny for each day, or more if you can, please help us remember Joe’s struggle while we continue to find a cure.

DONATE: You can donate to our 1,468 days campaign HERE 

WATCH: You can watch Joe’s inspiring Chapel Talk HERE 

Written by Kelly Crum, Joedance Board Member/ Secretary 

Joedance Premieres- Know Before You Go 150 150 Joedance Film Festival

Joedance Premieres- Know Before You Go

Joedance | September 20, 2019


We are greatly looking forward to the Joedance Premieres!
Date: Saturday, September 21, 2019
Time: 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Details surrounding the event are as follows:
Location: Elmwood Cemetery
Address: 700 W 6th St, Charlotte, NC 28202
Please follow direction parking signs upon entrance to the cemetery.
Elmwood Cemetery Map:
Free Event Parking

*BRING your own picnic (food and beverages) and chairs- DOORS OPEN at 7pm screenings start at 7:30pm. *


  1. Last Call at the Scarlet Moon, Co-Produced by Jerry Keys and Brad Hord

  2. Black Dispatch, Directed by Shea Sizemore

  3. Coventown, Directed by Mike Reda 

The filmmakers will be on hand for Q & A | This event made possible by The Foundation For The Carolinas

1,468 Days In Memory of Joe 150 150 Joedance Film Festival

1,468 Days In Memory of Joe

Joedance | September 16, 2019


Time never stops.

We follow it with clocks and calendars but it doesn’t slow down for anyone. Some days pass in the blink of an eye, and others seem like an eternity.

Time is an especially complex concept in the life of someone battling cancer. Minutes seem to fly by on the good days leaving you longing for more. And, on the bad days, time seems to stall as the pain and suffering drag on.

Joe battled his cancer for 4 years and 8 days. That is 1,468 days total. He fought every day even at his worst. There are no timeouts or breaks when it comes to cancer. Time continues to roll on regardless of remission or progression…

We know this because this is how the Restaino family lived for 1,468 days. Now, over 10 years later, we ask for your help to keep Joe’s story going. Because you and I have time, Joe didn’t.

His fight with pediatric cancer lasted four years and eight days. 1,468 days. Can you make a small donation of $14.68 to honor Joe’s 1,468-day battle with cancer?

Your support of Joedance has helped make meaningful strides in the battle against pediatric cancer. We’re asking you to recognize Joe’s 1,468 days with a special donation. Whether it’s a penny a day, or more if you can afford it, please help us remember Joe’s struggle while we continue to find a cure

Thank You For The Best 10 Years 150 150 Joedance Film Festival

Thank You For The Best 10 Years

Joedance | September 16, 2019


Because of you we celebrated our tenth anniversary in August and have continued to make an impact on the lives of children with cancer.

We returned to the Charlotte Ballet for a second year and screened 18 films by filmmakers from North and South Carolina over three nights. Expanding to three nights, Thursday became our Cultural Arts Evening with the students from Arts+ providing live music.

In these past ten years, together we have made an impact on the lives of children and adolescents battling cancer. Here’s how:

Joedance Internship Program:

  • Introduced Healios, a mouthwash that lessens the severity of mouth sores keeping children healthier during their treatment. This is part of every pediatric cancer patient’s protocol for free.

  • Collected data on the “Backpack Program” allowing patients to continue their treatments at home rather than having long hospital stays. This is being prepared for publication.

  • Interviewed patients and caregivers on the benefits of integrative medicine (such as acupuncture, Reiki, and art therapy). This data will be used for the new Supportive Medicine Department headed by Dr. Jennifer Pope at Levine Children’s.

Other Programs:

  • Funding the salary of the Research Technician at the Pediatric Cancer Research Lab in 2019.

  • Helped fund a clinical trial for recurrent osteosarcoma, authored by Dr. Javier Oesterheld, Specialty Medical Director at Levine Children’s.

We remain grateful for your support and all you have done to help us keep our promise to Joe to find cures and to support children and families with cancer.

Diane Restaino

The 10th Annual Joedance Film Festival 150 150 Joedance Film Festival

The 10th Annual Joedance Film Festival

Joedance | August 21, 2019

A record-breaking festival and a 10th anniversary to remember!