Macon Film Festival to partner with Bragg Jam

lcorley@macon.comJune 30, 2014 

The Macon Film Festival and Bragg Jam Music Festival announced plans Monday to partner in 2015 and infuse the city with 10 days of music and film.

Sean Pritchard, Bragg Jam’s board of directors and entertainment chairman, said the idea of hosting the film and music festivals back to back is much like other annual festivals and conferences, such as South by Southwest in Austin, Texas.

“The two organizations are still going to remain separate and have separate boards and separate missions,” Pritchard said. “The common goal is to create 10 really exciting and unique days for Middle Georgia.”

Bragg Jam will celebrate its 15th anniversary July 26.

Next year, the film festival, which has taken place every February for the past nine years, will change its dates to July 16-19 and will run just before Bragg Jam, which will be July 25. In between those two main dates will be other film festival and Bragg Jam-related events, Pritchard said. A full schedule of the 10-day event will be released early next year.

Terrell Sandefur, president of the film festival, said both organizations have been talking about the move for years.

“The film festival’s mission, our ultimate goal, is to bring filmmakers into the city ... in hopes that they see our city as a potential location for future films,” Sandefur said. “If we’re bringing them into the city and showing them our city at a prettier time of year, maybe it will entice them a little more to film a project here.”

Sandefur said the timing of the February festival was less than ideal because it occurred right after The Sundance Film Festival and just before the Academy Awards, making it hard to attract the films the festival wants.

“(Independent filmmakers) don’t submit to us because they’re holding out for that big festival premiere,” Sandefur said.

He said the change also will make it easier to get special guests. February is pilot season for television, meaning many celebrities are unavailable at that time.

However, moving the festival to July does have a downside, he said.

“I think that the only drawback will be the college students that are not in town,” Sandefur said.

Valerie Bradley, spokeswoman for the Macon-Bibb County Convention and Visitors Bureau, said she couldn’t speculate about what kind of economic impact the partnership could have.

“We think it’s an awesome opportunity and a great announcement, and we’re happy to be able to promote it,” she said.

The festivals will kick off their collaboration this July 26 with a screening of the music documentary “The Ballad of Shovels and Rope” at 2:30 p.m. at The Douglass Theatre, before the live music starts. The documentary is about the journey of two married musicians who went from working for tips to putting out a critically acclaimed album. Admission is $5 or free with a 2014 Bragg Jam Concert Crawl wristband or VIP pass, according to a news release.

“Music documentaries have played a big part with the film festival,” Pritchard said. “Those organizations have a lot of common qualities and a lot of common supporters.”

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