The Union Recorder

April 29, 2014

Inaugural film festival a memorable hit


Special to The U-R

MILLEDGEVILLE — The first Milledgeville Film Festival promised three days of movie magic in the heart of downtown Milledgeville.

As filmmakers from around the world began to gather at the Magnolia Ballroom Friday evening, looks of pleasant surprise were noted. Noted stars filled the red carpet including Stevie Lynn Jones, star of NBC's "Crisis" and the fun crowd from "Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo."

Dinner was immaculate and the keynote address from Jones captivated the audience.

After dinner, the crowd shifted Georgia College venues for the East Coast premiere of the AFI film "Young Americans" followed by a Q&A with writer/director Kevin Lacy, Cinematographer Kristin Fieldhouse and Jones, also this film's lead actress.

Saturday morning included intimate workshops with some of the industry's veteran directors, producers, casting directors, agents and actors.

Casting Director Brian Beegle and agent Barbara Garvey provided valuable insight to life in front of the camera, while producers David Hartle and Scott Thigpen discussed what it takes to bring a project to life behind the scenes. Directors Kevin Lacy, Kristin Wheeler, BJ Golnick and Jason Prisk also engaged a large crowd at the Campus Black Box Theatre.

Saturday afternoon screenings with short and feature films from around the world shined a light on the many different styles of filmmaking.

In the evening, hundreds flocked to the Oconee River greenway to view a community screening of the hit film "The Spectacular Now" projected onto a three-story blow up screen.

Sunday kicked off with of a filmmakers' brunch hosted at Andalusia, where guests were provided a private tour of the historic property by newly appointed Executive Director Elizabeth Wylie and April Moon.

Additional screenings followed with an awards ceremony honoring excellence in film.

The festival after-parties also drew a crowd as Festival Director Jeremiah Bennett mixed and mingled with the stars, filmmakers and community.

"The amount of stuff going on was beyond what I expected. If they had fewer events, I would have still thought the festival was great. But there were so many great things to do, I wish I could have gone to everything,” Hartle said. “It is amazing that the festival had the resources to pull so much together in its first year. Having the festival in Milledgeville is great because you can basically walk to everything.”

For many who attended the festival, the first impression by Milledgeville Film Festival was one to be rivaled.

"I enjoyed the festival tremendously. It is hard to believe this is their first year. I hope to make this a tradition and come back every year. I loved it," Fieldhouse said.

Don't expect this to be the first and only Milledgeville Film.

The Board of Directors begins planning next year's event this week.

To keep up with event, see a list of festival winners, photos and more, visit www.milledgevillefilmfestival.com.