This weekend, youll see crowds of film-going folks from just about everywhere wandering to and fro between the Cox Capitol Theatre and the historic Douglass Theatre. Youll hear murmurs and exclamations on the charm and easy-going atmosphere of downtown Macon. Youll hear chit-chat about film blocks, special screenings and special guests. Youll see more visitors than you will locals. And youll find vibrating pockets of creative energy on just about every corner between Cherry Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
The Macon Film Festival, also known as MAGA, is a signature feather in Macons creative cap. We bring filmmakers to us. And we show off who and what weve got.
This year, Im particularly proud of one of Macons artistic assets. My friend and local videographer Stephanie Shadden has gotten used to me begging for favors over the years. Whether its one of my hair-brained pet project video ideas or working for well under her normal wages for my latest shoestring budget project, shes been a good sport and even a better friend.
So, this summer, when Stephanie told me she would be directing her first short film and needed a little help from her friends, it was time to return some of those favors.
Shot entirely on location in downtown Macon, Pepper is a whodunnit heist featuring a cast of local characters -- among them Anna Deignen, a local theater favorite; John Jones, manager of Macon Little Theatre; and Josh Graff, a local singer songwriter.
Among the locations are the legendary Grants Lounge, the Hay House and ... well, thats where the favor phones in.
Im here to write: Pepper may have been a short film on a miniscule budget, but it was no small production. I wasnt sure how my house could act as a double for the inside of the Hay House, but the magic of Maconwood took over.
From the lighting set up inside and outside of my house and the dolly track that ran through my dining room, to the real life law enforcement that showed up to act (and convince my neighbors something serious was going down on College Street), to the complete craft services serving dinner in my courtyard, Stephanie put her heart, soul and friends to work in her first short feature production.
Sometime close to 3 a.m. on a Sunday morning, my husband and I were in our bedroom when we finally heard, Thats a wrap!
Where would our excitement come from if it were not for our creative friends? How would our vibrancy actually vibrate if it werent for events like the Macon Film Festival? What can we do to continue to harness, help and catapult Macons arts and culture scene into the spotlight of the creative South?
Start with supporting our artists.
The locally grown short film Pepper will make its big screen debut at the Macon Film Festival in two slots. You can catch it at 4:30 p.m. Friday at the Cox Capitol Theatre or 3 p.m. Saturday at the Douglass Theatre.
Jessica Walden is the director of communications for the College Hill Alliance. She is also the co-operator of Rock Candy Tours, a Macon music history tour company. Contact her at 955-5997 or email@example.com.