Filmmakers excited to visit Macon Film Festival

Beyond the workshops, awards and convivial atmosphere, there seems to be two main reasons that have drawn filmmakers to the 10th Annual Macon Film Festival.

For one thing, it’s a chance to show their films to an audience geared toward independent movies. It’s also a great opportunity to interact with other filmmakers.

That’s what attracted Kirsten Russell, of Brooklyn, New York, to the Macon festival.

“One thing I love about going to film festivals is that I get to do my favorite thing, which is watch movies all day,” she said. “I also get to meet some amazing filmmakers, whom I either end up working with on future projects, or I get advice from them, or they give me advice.”

Russell’s short film, “Universal Language,” screened Thursday at the 567 Center For Renewal and will screen again Saturday at the Douglass Theatre.

Russell is one of several filmmakers attending the festival for the first time this year. As it has grown over the years, the festival has drawn writer-directors and film submissions from all over the world, including Cyprus, Britain, France and Israel, among others.

Kristin McGary, an Atlanta-based filmmaker, shot her short film “Rain” in Macon a few months ago, so getting to debut the film here is special, she said.

“We found a really wonderful building downtown and a farm nearby to shoot at,” she said. “I’ve had friends who have had films here. They say everyone here is so nice and that they have an appreciation of independent film. So far, it’s been great. ... What happens here is that you have a great culture of film.”

“Rain” also was screened Thursday at the 567 and will be shown again Saturday at the Douglass.

This year, all of the screenings of the festival’s featured movies will take place at the Douglass as festival organizers want to take advantage of the new digital technology recently installed in the theater.

Gina Ward, director of the Douglass, said Saturday night’s screening of the movie “Slow West,” will be the first time attendees will be able to see a digital film screened there.

“The theater is close to a hundred years old, and when it reopened in 1997, it was state of the art,” she said. “That’s what we’re trying to get back to. ... We’re glad the Macon Film Festival (is having events) with the theater. That’s what we’re here for.”

To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.