Everything you need to know to make the most out of the Macon Film Festival

The 14th annual Macon Film Festival will host a famous actress, show independent films from around the world and have a little something for everyone to enjoy.

Priscilla Esser, president of the Macon Film Festival, said she is excited about the festival’s special guest this year.

Gabourey Sidibe will be speaking at a Q&A session after the screening of “Precious” Saturday night, Esser said. Sibide’s performance in the 2009 film earned her an Oscar nomination.

“We’re thrilled to have someone of her stature. She’s just this dynamic acting presence, directing presence,” Esser said. “I love the strength and power that she brings with her that we’re gonna be having here at the festival. We’re really happy to have her.”

The festival will be Aug. 15-18 in venues all over Downtown Macon, according to the Macon Film Festival website.

Tickets can be purchased online or at the Macon Film Festival headquarters at 476 3rd Street, and they range from $150 for an all-access VIP pass to $10 for a single block ticket. To attend the after parties, you must purchase a VIP pass and be 21 years of age or older.

Esser said another exciting aspect about this year’s festival is that they have had a 40% increase in female directed and produced films.

“It’s really kind of this time of women coming into their own and staking claim,” she said. “I think that’s what’s gotten me really excited about it.”

The Macon Film Festival headquarters also has an interesting attraction. Esser and her husband, Edward, have constructed a room flipped on its side. Esser said the set will be available for people to take photos in throughout the festival as people come to the headquarters to get tickets and merchandise.

The festival will also feature virtual reality shorts at the Grand Opera House and fulldome films at the Museum of Arts and Sciences, Esser said.

Four films created in Macon will be screened at the festival on Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to noon as well.

“I’m always thrilled when you see so many local films getting in too that are like really great,” Esser said.

This festival will be the first one to have late-night screenings. Thursday night will be the 15th annual screening of “Napoleon Dynamite” on the Creek Stage at the Rookery, and “Freaks” will play at the Douglass Theatre on Friday night, Esser said.

“There’s really something for everyone, and it’s so great to have film makers present... and ask them questions,” Esser said. “It really draws you into the experience altogether.”

For a full schedule of events and to purchase tickets, visit the Macon Film Festival website at www.maconfilmfestival.com.