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Calling all filmmakers!
Statesboro Film Festival looking for entries
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      Hollywood honors the best movies released in 2008 during Sunday's Academy Awards ceremony.
      On a far more local level, the Statesboro Herald and the Averitt Center for the Arts have organized the 2009 Statesboro Film Festival to find and honor the best locally-made films. The festival is scheduled for Thursday, April 16 at the Averitt Center in downtown Statesboro.
      And the festival offers everyone a chance to do what Hollywood does - make your own film.
      The project is being coordinated by Matt Bankhead, a video producer for Statesboro and the lead producer for the daily Studio Statesboro vodcast.
      Through the festival Bankhead hopes to provide a creative outlet for filmmakers in the community.
      "I felt like other than Savannah there was no place for people here to express their creativity through film," Bankhead said. "We wanted to put something together where the whole community could get involved; I mean, why should Savannah have all the fun."
      Simply put, the Statesboro Film Festival wants your films.
      "It doesn't matter if you want to be the next Spielberg or you just like to play around with a video camera, we want your film," said Jim Healy, executive editor of the Statesboro Herald. "I know we have some talented students at Georgia Southern, OTC and in the community. And I'm sure a lot of talented non-students, as well. It'll be a lot of fun."
      Some of the basic submission rules for the festival include, all films can be no longer than eight minutes, there is a $15 submission charge and the deadline to submit a film is 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 25. Bankhead said there will be no extensions to the deadline. Also, no films can be shown on YouTube, Facebook or other mass media site until after the April 16 festival.
      All rules and information about the festival can be viewed at -- the festival's official Web site.
      After all requirement are met, all the films will be viewable on the festival's Web site. A panel of three judges will review all films and narrow the field eligible to win the grand prize of a big screen television to no more than 20 films. The group of final films will then be put on the Web site and people can vote for their favorite film. The film with the most votes will be the grand prize winner.
      The winning film and lots of other submitted videos will be shown at the 2009 Statesboro Film Festival inside the Averitt Center on April 16.
Tim Chapman, executive director forthe Averitt Center believes it will be a refreshing experience for the creative-at-heart in the community.
      "These days anyone can make a film on their computer and I believe this event will inspire more people to make one by giving them a venue to create and show their product to the community so they can embrace it," Chapman said.
      Bankhead hopes next year to expand the festival to include awards for separate genres of film, but he said this will depend on the public's response to the festival and the number of entries submitted this year.
      Submissions soon will be accepted online and residents of all ages are encouraged to participate.



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