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March 17, 2014

Film Festival debuts notable lineup, actors

MILLEDGEVILLE — Judging on the selected productions, actors and industry professionals scheduled to appear at the first Milledgeville Film Festival, the city's three-day April event boasts a veteran's resume.

Festival chairman Jeremiah Bennett said actress Stevie Lynn Jones, 18, is making her first Georgia appearance to speak at the gala held at Magnolia Ballroom April 25.

Jones has completed numerous independent projects including the acclaimed Kevin Lacy directed “Young Americans.” The 30-minute American Film Institute production was selected as the opening night feature screening in Georgia College's Arts and Sciences Auditorium. 

The director, the film's co-star and cinematographer will be in town for a Q&A afterwards.

Booking the young actress is huge considering her lead role in the NBC's new drama “Crisis.” The major network series debuts Sunday at 10 p.m.

“She is top-5 billed on this huge show. NBC is putting a lot of money behind this one,” Bennett said at Thursday's festival board meeting. “We got her in the nick of time before she goes all over the place.”

Jones began her career at age 12 and has worked behind the camera as well.

Actors Alexandra Bartee and Matthew Withers are co-hosting the Friday gala. Both twentysomethings appeared in the box office movie “Endless Love” that recently appeared in theaters.

Bennett said Bartee just booked a reoccurring role on a Lifetime series.

On the film side, the festival cuts were made this week.

The withoutabox.com account received films spread amongst the drama, Georgia made, comedy, documentary, international and horror categories. Feature films have a slot as well.

The selection panel rejected 50 films. Nearly 20 countries were represented in the applicants.

“Only 40 percent of the films were selected,” Bennett said. “And for programming time, only 26 percent of the hours submitted got into this festival. Everything is going on like we've been around for a few years.”

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