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South Georgia Film Festival back in March

The seventh annual South Georgia Film Festival returns this year to VSU. The festival celebrates the art and the industry of filmmaking and will be held on March 3, 4 and 5.

The SGFF brings the film and movie industry to Valdosta and shines a spotlight on local talent.

“My goal was to create an event that would draw creative film people to Valdosta because few of our students are able to be where those folks work,” Jason Brown, SGFF’s Director, said. “So, as we use the festival as an outlet for creative expression, we would then showcase for the community the industry and business opportunities that film presents for us locally.”

There will be 95 films, both from across the region, including VSU students, VSU alumni and Georgia and Florida filmmakers, and also from around the world, covering subjects like Ukraine refugees, German art installations and Chinese natives and expatriates.

Films will be showcased on campus, online and the Valdosta Mall.

“Having seen all the films already, I am excited for attendees to see so many films,” Brown said. “It’s an amazing opportunity for filmmakers to show their work to an audience.”

The festival kicks off on Friday, March 3 at 11 a.m. starting with a panel on documentary photography featuring Art Professor Lyndsay Godin and some students and alumni. This will be held in Student Union Meeting Room A and B. At 12 p.m., catch the feature film “The Language I Speak” by director Ana Cuadra about how accents and dialectics influence society in Ballroom A.

At 1 p.m. casting agent Chase Paris will be holding a discussion on how to prepare for casting sessions. At 5 p.m. in the Student Union Theater, Wiregrass alumni Demiven Knighton will be screening his film “The Middle Child – The Story of Tevin King,” a film that chronicles the life, journey and football career of local living legend Tevin King.

Friday night, the festival will hold screenings of films outdoors at the Valdosta Mall. The locally made film “The Holiday Dating Guide” was produced in Tifton, Georgia, and aired this Christmas on the Lifetime channel.

“This is the first time that we have screened a movie at the mall, so I believe it will be an event to remember,” Stephanie Leas, the SGFF’s Student Director, said.

They will also be screening the short “The Buick Special,” directed by VSU alumni Levi Johnson; the animated musical “A King I Once Knew” by Thomasville filmmakers Grayson Durham and Joshua Myers and “The Curse,” a short animation by Jae Yoo of Ringling College in Florida.

“During COVID, we started holding screenings outside, which has become one of the more special events that we have,” Brown said. “This year, our outdoor screening is hosted by the Valdosta Mall and VLPRA. With a bevy of locally produced films, that is something you won’t want to miss.”

Saturday will include films and panels all day in the Student Union and will start with the High School Block, a selection of films submitted by high school filmmakers around the country, at 11 a.m. Feature films screened Saturday include VSU alumni Brock Drury’s “The Sim Racer;” Memphis professor Marty Lang’s “Stay With Me;” Alan Bidard’s animated film “OPAL” and Bradley Berman’s documentary “Jack has a Plan.”

South Georgia Studios will be hosting a Pitch Fest starting at 3 p.m. on Saturday, where participants can pitch their movie ideas to three regional production companies.

“The winner will receive a cash prize and the means to help their project to become a reality,” Genesis Greenlee, co-student director, said. “It is something new and different that I think is cool.”

Participants can buy a $25 ticket to pitch while anyone with a pass can watch the event.

The awards ceremony kicks off on Sunday at 12 p.m. in the mass media building on VSU’s campus. After, the festival will resume at the Student Union Theater for the family-friendly wildlife block featuring Derek McFarland’s “Ringo,” Laura Albritton’s “Introducing the Indigo” and Suzan L Satterfield’s “Okefenokee Destiny.”

“Most people must drive out of their way to see a film festival,” Greenlee said. “This way more students can get the chance to have an out-of-college experience while staying on campus.”

All college and high school students can attend any screening or panel for free when they register.

Passes for the festival are $40, which includes all the screenings, panels and after parties, such as at the mall Friday night and at the Rainwater Conference Center Saturday night.

“I would recommend to first-time attendees the panels and the Saturday after-party at the Rainwater Conference Center,” Leas said. “With all of the panels, workshops and Q&A sessions, you get to hear from industry professionals who have great insight, advice and even tips on various areas of the industry.”

For $20 bump up to a Student Party pass and have all the same opportunities.

VIP Passes are $100, which include all of the above, a festival t-shirt and access to the filmmakers’ green room during the festival.

For those who cannot attend the whole weekend, a day pass is $15 for all screenings and panels. For those who cannot make it to campus, the Festival & VIP passes give access to the film festival’s Eventive platform so viewers can watch most of the films from the comfort of home or on a laptop. Or viewers can watch any specific film on Eventive for $5.

Buy tickets and register as a student at – https://sgff23.eventive.org/passes/buy

There will also be interviews with the filmmakers before they arrive on campus posted to the festival’s social media accounts, as well as updates leading up to the days before the festival.

Written by Rachel Larson, Reporter. Photo courtesy of South Georgia Film Festival.

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