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Georgia-made films to shine at UNG’s festival


Georgia is on the mind of several filmmakers who will present their short and feature-length movies at the 2019 Georgia Film Festival in September at the University of North Georgia (UNG).

Dr. Jeff Marker, professor and head of the Department of Communication, Media and Journalism (CMJ), explained this year was the first time the Georgia Film Festival only accepted submissions from Georgia and its surrounding states.

“We are celebrating the many different kinds of movies made throughout Georgia and the Southeast, and we are promoting diverse voices in the Georgia filming community,” he said. “We want to promote homegrown talent.”

Hosted by the CMJ department at UNG, the Georgia Film Festival will be Sept. 20-21 in the Continuing Education and Performing Arts building on UNG’s Gainesville Campus. For students, tickets are $20 for a day pass and $30 for an all-access weekend pass. For general audiences, tickets are $30 for a day pass and $50 for all-access weekend pass. Tickets can be purchased at window.

More than 60 films from independent filmmakers and college students were accepted into the festival. They will be shown at specific time blocks throughout the two-day event.

A new block this year is designated for high school student filmmakers. Marker explained when the film festival started four years ago, it always planned to incorporate high school projects.

“We want to encourage aspiring filmmakers at that level, too,” Marker said. “It’s important for filmmakers at a young age to experience showing their work to others and to understand the value of film festivals.”

Another important factor is to connect the high school and college students with industry experts, who will showcase their work and educate and entertain attendees in workshops.

“Some of the most talented filmmakers in Georgia will show their work and/or participate in workshops,” Marker said.

For example, actors Catherine Dyer and Jason MacDonald will present a master class for attendees. The pair along with Claire Bronson and Scott Poythress own Drama Inc., an acting studio based in Atlanta.

Seed&Spark window founder and CEO Emily Best will conduct the “Art of the Pitch” workshop. Seed&Spark is a film-centric crowdfunding and subscription streaming service of independent films.

Seed&Spark also has collaborated with UNG on a unique multimedia show, called The South Has Something to Say, to close the festival.

“It will be a mix of film and performance,” Marker said, explaining it will include a poet, a comedian and a dance performance. “Mixing films with live performances is a new kind of event for us. I think audiences will love it.”

Marker is also looking forward to the opening night film, which may set the tone for the weekend.

Written and directed by the husband-and-wife team of Ruckus and Lane Skye, “Reckoning” will illustrate the impressive abilities of the cast and crew.

“The story is suspenseful and riveting, and it was filmed in northeast Georgia. The lead, Danielle Deadwyler, is a star in the making,” Marker said. “And the supporting cast includes a few of the best in the business. Everyone will instantly recognize them from other films and television shows filmed in our area.”

Marker encourages UNG students, faculty and staff as well as community members to attend the Georgia Film Festival to see the homegrown talent at UNG, in Georgia and across the Southeast.


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