Hill: Rub elbows with folks in the industry at Macon Film Festival

February 28, 2014 

Undoubtedly, I am a fan of the Macon Film Festival. The ninth annual event began last night and continues all weekend, ending with the Academy Awards big screen broadcast Sunday. Like Bragg Jam, this is a concentrated example of how the arts are an economic stimulator in our community 365 days a year.

Arts events draw people to our city where they not only attend the gallery, concert, theater, film or dance event but they eat at our restaurants, fuel their cars at our gas stations and buy goods and services from local vendors. All of this and we get to enjoy these events in our own town!

Today and this weekend some of the top new filmmakers from around the world will be traipsing between the Cox Capitol Theatre, the 567 Center for Renewal and the Douglass Theatre for screenings of their films. You will see actors who you know from TV and film, but you also will meet actors and directors who haven’t yet been discovered.

Two years ago, producer Brunson Green screened his film “Pretty Ugly People” starring an unknown actress: Octavia Spencer. At the Macon Film Festival, Green got the call that he had the rights to make the film “The Help” -- a call that changed both his and Spencer’s lives.

The point is -- give it a try. Day passes are $25; students get in free. Workshops are all free, including the Art Matters Symposium that will be held Saturday at the 567 Center. Festival special guests Matthew Modine and Katina Longworth will discuss the role of film and film criticism in society.

The Contemporary Arts Exchange hitched onto the film theme with its February exhibition, “The Art of Film Professionals.” Saturday night they host a free closing party from 7-10 p.m. This is also the final week for exhibitions of Frances de la Rosa’s “Abstract Landscape Paintings” and “Retrospective” by Catharine Liles, both at Wesleyan College.

Tonight, Mercer Theatre presents a free staged reading of “Combustible/Burn” at 8 p.m. at the Grand Opera House. Penned by Mercer professor Andrew Silver, the play recounts the true story of the brave men and women who integrated the university.

At Theatre Macon, the Youth Actors Company production of “The Three Musketeers” opens a week-long run Saturday night. Directed by professional fight choreographer Kelly Mann, the show is sure to include some stunts that will blow your mind. This is the final weekend for Warner Robins Little Theatre’s production of “Little Old Ladies in Tennis Shoes” and “Always ... Patsy Cline” at Forsyth’s Backlot Players, while Perry Players continues its run of “Unnecessary Farce.”

If you’re up for a short road trip, Georgia College and State University Theatre’s production of “Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka” continues through Sunday at the Milledgeville campus theater.

Contact J. Cindy Hill at jcindyhill@gmail.com.

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