Macon Film Festival markets itself to filmmakers

pramati@macon.comFebruary 28, 2014 

The Macon Film Festival will hold a special screening Saturday of “Birdy,” which won the grand jury prize at the 1985 Cannes Film Festival, and star Matthew Modine will attend.

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If there’s one thing that Terrell Sandefur would like people to know about the Macon Film Festival, it’s that it’s a film festival for filmmakers.

This year’s festival -- the ninth overall -- will reflect that attitude in a couple of different ways, said Sandefur, the festival’s president.

“We’re known as a filmmaker’s film festival,” he said. “Out of past festivals, there have been a lot of collaborations.”

Sandefur said Scott Seeke, who was a writer on the movie “Get Low” and a festival guest a couple of years ago, met two other filmmakers that year. Together, they’ve collaborated on the short film “Boxes,” which is scheduled to play at this year’s festival.

“They’re coming back together with this film,” he said. “That’s absolutely something we want to create are these collaborations.”

By doing so, Sandefur said the hope is that many of these filmmakers will return to Macon to shoot their movies. Proceeds from the festival fund the Macon Film Commission, which has helped bring productions such as “42” and “Need for Speed” to film here.

As part of this year’s event, Sandefur said the festival is hosting a daily mixer at various sites downtown exclusively for filmmakers to share ideas and information over free food and drinks.

The festival also will hold workshops once again that are free to the public where would-be filmmakers can learn about various aspects of the craft.

Sandefur said he thinks the festival has grown over the years in quality submissions as well as in the quantity of submissions. There continues to be international submissions as well, ranging from a Dutch movie about women boxers to an Icelandic movie about horses.

“The quality (of movies submitted) is so much higher than it was five years ago,” he said.

The support for filmmaking extends to the film festival now sponsoring the Reel Macon Film Festival, which started a few years ago as a rival event, created by filmmakers whose work didn’t get selected for the Macon Film Festival. Sandefur said the new partnership is a good way to allow local filmmakers to show their work.

“We want to support filmmaking,” he said. “There’s only so many hours we can show films.”

The festival also will feature a diverse group of special screenings, with the faith-based movie “Brother’s Keeper” being presented Friday night at the Cox Capitol Theatre. Sandefur said it’s the first time a faith-based film has been shown at a special screening, but he thinks it will open the festival up to a new group of patrons.

Saturday’s special screening will be the movie “Birdy,” which won the grand jury prize at the 1985 Cannes Film Festival, with star Matthew Modine in attendance. Modine also will take part in an “Art Matters” symposium Saturday at the 567 Center for Renewal with Los Angeles-based film critic Karina Longworth.

The festival will close Sunday with a special screening of the Oscar-nominated movie “Nebraska.” After the movie, the Capitol will host a live viewing of the Academy Awards.

For more information on the Macon Film Festival, visit www.maconfilmfestival.com or go to the festival’s headquarters at 567 Cherry St. For more information on the Reel Macon Film Festival, visit www.facebook.com/reelmaconfilmfest or call 478-737-3806.

Macon Film Festival Special Screenings

When: “Brother’s Keeper,” 7:30 p.m. Feb. 28; “Birdy,” 7:30 p.m. March 1; “Nebraska,” 6:30 p.m. March 2

Where: Cox Capitol Theatre, 382 Second St.

Cost: $25 daily festival pass

Information: www.maconfilmfestival.com

Reel Macon Film Festival

When: Noon-9:30 p.m. Feb. 28; noon-10:30 p.m. March 1; 1-7 p.m. March 2

Where: Shadows Interactive Dinner Theatre, 438 Second St.

Cost: $7 daily entry; $20 for festival pass

Information: 478-737-3806; www.facebook.com/reelmaconfilmfest

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