MILLEDGEVILLE — Milledgeville resident filmmaker Michael Curtis is almost finished with the first independent Filmstigator grassroots project uniting artists from various disciplines to create original films in the southeast.
“GIFT,” shot partially in Milledgeville, Atlanta and on Jekyll Island, editing has wrapped, sound design nears completion and the music composer is currently busy writing a custom score.
Curtis expects to have “GIFT” ready for festival entries as early as February.
The film was shot on a RED Epic, the same camera that “The Hobbit” and many other big feature films and TV series are shooting with, according to Curtis.
All the actors and crew are from Atlanta.
The film was accomplished with a very small crew, shot in only 6 1/2 days.
Though no Milledgeville talent were used in the film, a 1926 Underwood typewriter, a main prop for the film, was repaired and refurbished by Whipple Office Supply for the movie.
Milledgeville scenes at a constructed lean-to building and a “dark vision scene” were filmed at Curtis’ Lake Sinclair property.
The Filmstigator movie plot features a tenacious young girl struggling with a boy’s darkest demons, as she tries to free him from his troubled way of life.
“GIFT” is a special project for me. Not only because it is the first narrative film I’ve directed and produced. Not just because I had the opportunity to help shape the story into its current form. It’s noteworthy because of how the film came into being ... crafted by a team of people who chose to trust in a newly formed (and woefully under-funded) film collaborative called Filmstigator,” Curtis said. “For me, “GIFT” is about many things. I’m much more comfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity as a director than I am with black and white answers. I prefer the questions, the mysteries. We all have things that frighten us, things we need to own up to and confront — both in ourselves and in others. We all have times we need to take chances and risk trusting another person.”
Curtis began his career as a motion picture and television editor, cutting films and broadcast promos for clients ranging from independent directors to major networks like PBS, ABC, TNT, Boomerang, Cartoon Network, and others. In the late 1990s he started EditLab, a production and post house based in Atlanta. Curtis originally trained as an actor and director in live theater at the University of Alaska Anchorage.
Now working exclusively behind the camera, his early experience working with stage actors remains a key component of his film directing approach.
In addition to directing, Curtis has served as a writer, editor and producer for scores of film, television and corporate spots. He has been awarded more than 100 creative awards over the last decade alone -- including Finalist Awards in both directing and editing at the New York Film & Television Festival.
In 2013, he launched Filmstigator, the Georgia Film Collaborative — a non-profit arts collaborative that brings writers, actors, and filmmakers together to craft high-quality films in the southeast.
“GIFT,” Curtis’s directorial film debut, is the first Filmstigator production as well.
Check out www.filmstigator.org to learn about the film.
As a non-profit arts organization, Filmstigator is always looking for funding supporting the arts and film projects that feature middle-Georgia.
“It’s pretty amazing what we have pulled off so far with no funding. But if we are to continue, we will need support from donors. That’s definitely part of our overall Filmstigator story long term,” Curtis said.