The spotlight is on independent filmmaking this weekend as the curtain rises on the Macon Film Festival.
The festival runs through Sunday with screenings of 87 films from around the world.
Each film screens twice and that is just out of respect for the filmmaker, said Terrell Sandefur, who is the festivals marketing chair. They make trips to Macon from Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Hong Kong -- so we want to give them an option to have two solid screenings.
This also means there is still time to see any films you might have missed when the festival started Thursday afternoon. The screenings are at the Cox Capitol Theatre, the 567 Center for Renewal and the Douglass Theatre.
There are three venues and they are running simultaneously, so you can move around, Sandefur said. You can read what each film is about and ... can plan the festival experience in advance.
For this years festival, films were submitted in eight categories: Narrative Feature, Narrative Short, Student, Documentary, Music Video, Animation, Southern Documentary and Music Documentary.
Weve got it all, Sandefur said. The bulk of any real film festival is its shorts. A short can be two minutes to 59 minutes. Anything over an hour is considered a feature. We have a lot more shorts than we do features.
There are also Special Screenings each evening that include a celebrity guest.
Friday nights screening features soap star Crystal Chappell, who will be screening her new web series The Grove. Chappell is best known for her roles as Dr. Carly Manning on Days of our Lives, Olivia Spencer on Guiding Light and her current role as Danielle on The Bold and the Beautiful.
She won an Emmy for her role as Olivia and another Emmy in 2011 for her web series Venice.
Saturday will be capped off with a screening by Mink Stole, who appeared in a number of cult hits from director John Waters. She will be showing Waters Hairspray, in which she played Tammy.
The celebrities will introduce the films and be available after the screening for a question and answer session, Sandefur said. The celebrities also will be at the nightly after parties, which are only accessible with the $100 pass.
The parties are catered and its open bar, Sandefur said. All of our special guests -- all of our filmmakers that come in go to that. It is a huge networking opportunity.
The festival also includes a number of free, one-hour workshops that will cover directing, acting, casting and makeup, and are conducted by some of the special guests.
Those begin Friday at 1 p.m. with a session from Steve Rash, who directed Gary Busey to an award-winning performance in The Buddy Holly Story. Rash screened the film Thursday night as part of the festival kickoff.
The festival is in its eighth year and has put a renewed focus on Macon as a film location.
Before our film festival started, there had not been a movie filmed in Macon since the 70s, Sandefur said. Since the film festival started, weve had several films made here -- both indie and big budget. We had two big budgets last year and that is a direct result of the Macon Film Festival.
This includes last years release of Trouble with the Curve, which brought Clint Eastwood to town, and 42, a Jackie Robinson biopic that brought Harrison Ford to town and is set for release this summer. Sandefur said the films brought millions of dollars to Macon.
Aside from the fact they brought in a few hundred people to work on the film ... several hundred local people were downtown spending money as well. And it was just exciting to see movie stars on the streets, Sandefur said. Its put Macon on movie screens across the globe. They now look at Macon as a viable location to film a movie.
He said filmmakers visiting Macon for the festival have created a lot of that buzz.
Hollywood is a very small town. Its a small industry, people talk, said Sandefur, who is also on the Macon Film Commission. They come here and there are like, oh wow, this place is cool, its like a perfect location for whatever genre of film were looking for.
He said every major studio has been to Macon in the last year scouting potential locations for film and television.
The four-day festival brings all of these people downtown. They eat in the restaurants, they go out to the bars, they are spending money on hotel rooms, Sandefur said. Aside from the four day (festival), the real get is when they come back to film a movie.
Tickets, T-shirts, art posters and programs, which include a schedule and description of all 87 films, are available at the festivals headquarters at 567 Cherry St.
Macon Film Festival
When: Beginning at 10 a.m. Friday-Sunday
Where: Downtown Macon
Cost: $10 for day passes, $50 for a weekend pass and $100 for an all-access pass, which includes catered after parties. Student day passes (that dont include special screenings or after-parties) are free with valid student ID.
Film festival screening locations
The 567 Center for Renewal: 533 Cherry St., 238-6051
The Cox Capitol Theatre: 382 Second St., 257-6391
The Douglass Theatre: 355 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 742-2000
Film festival workshop schedule
All workshops last one hour, will take place at the 567 Center for Renewal and are free and open to the public.
1 p.m. Friday: Steve Rash with Action! Directing
9 a.m. Saturday: Crystal Chappell with On Both Sides of the Camera
1 p.m. Saturday: Cynthia Stillwell with The Casting Couch
1 p.m. Sunday: Mink Stole with Adventures in Dreamland with John Waters
3:30 p.m. Sunday: Roy Wooley with Dont Cover It In Blood - SFX Make-up