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Lights, camera, festival!
Inaugural Statesboro Film Festival thrills crowd at Averitt Center
041609 FILM FESTIVAL 03 web
Statesboro Film Festival Emcee Phil Boyum entertains an audience of about 180 at the Averitt Center for the Arts Thursday. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff
    The stars were shining Thursday night as the 2009 Statesboro Film Festival and Awards Show entertained about 180  people at the Averitt Center for the Arts Emma Kelley Theater.
    The inaugural event drew 16 entries — brief independent films ranging from comedy to documentaries, with a couple music videos thrown in.
    Hosted by the Statesboro Herald and Averitt Center for the Arts, the event was sponsored by Farmers Home Furniture, 119 Chops, and Gailey Trophy. Other local business also contributed to the night’s events.
    The Viewer’s Choice winner, chosen by voters who viewed the films at 2009 Statesboro Film Festival, was a spoof of those Saturday morning cartoons where kids battle evil and engage in adventuresome investigation of various crimes: Super Awesome Adventure Kids Squad, by director Robert Thomason, involved four “ adventure loving kids ”who sought treasure using a map taken from a “bad guy,” but were harassed by a group of drug-dealing gangsters.
    Wesley Peters, who acted in the film, accepted the award on Thomason’s behalf. He held a cell phone to his ear as he went onstage, and placed the caller on speaker phone before holding it to the microphone; his brother, producer Tyler Peters, thanked everyone involved in making the film.
    In addition to a trophy and gift certificates, this director also won a big screen TV.
    A panel of judges selected the winners of four other categories; Best Editing, Best Cinematography, Best Director, and Best Film. Winners in these categories received trophies and gift certificates.
    Statesboro Herald reporter Phil Boyum served as Master of Ceremonies and announced the nominees, while Matt Bankhead, producer of Morris Multimedia’s Studio Statesboro, announced the winning entries.
     A music video directed by Robert Bonds, based on R&B artist Riko’s single, “The Love Triangle,” won the award for best editing. Another music video, “Things People Say,” was based on a single by country group Lady Antebellum, directed by Hodges Usry, won the award for best cinematography.
    “Super Awesome Adventure Kids Squad” also won the award for best director.
    A blend of comedy and drama, “Bo,” directed by Justin Peay, won the title of best film. The story was about Bo, a man with a clown face who just wanted to be taken seriously. After saving a coworker from bank robbers, he discovered her dark secret; she was the bearded lady.
    Viewers enjoyed nine films before an intermission catered by 119 Chops, which featured heavy hors d’eouvres.
    A reception preceding the event was provided by Georgia Southern University Public Relations professor Lisa Muller and several students.
    Members of  the audience appeared to enjoy the evening, with several rounds of enthusiastic applause throughout the program.
    “I liked it. I was surprised we had so many entries” said Ed Killebrew, whose coworker Natalie Lightsey  directed an entry, “The Dark Date.”  
    Laura Geddie, whose brother Bryan Geddie directed another entry, “A Silent Warning,” was pleased with the event as well.
    “It was really good,” she said. “I hope next year there are as many entries, if not more. It was a really good idea.”
    The idea was the brainchild of Bankhead, who brought the suggestion to Statesboro Herald Executive Editor Jim Healy last year.
    Other films entered in the festival were as follows:
    * “Di Passagio Trailer” and “Di Passagio,”— (theatrical trailer and excerpts from the Jamesworks Entertainment film that profiled four college students on an international adventure, directed by Jonathan Pope.
    * “The Last Straw,” — story about a frustrated father who snaps due to his son’s mother’s refusal to allow him to see the boy. Directed by David Cone.
    *  “The Andy Mayfield Story” — Directed by Kalvin Houk, this was a human interest piece about a man who overcame depression after a friend ran over his cat.
    * “Curtis Johnson Campus Cop” — A humorous take day in the life of a college campus policeman, directed by Matt Ballman.
    * “I Am Mia,” — A young man tries to write a journal entry, but is distracted by his image in the mirror and discovers a new side of  himself. Directed by Steve Nyberg.
    * The Fight” — This film was directed by Bulloch County eighth grader Beeka Regassa. A stray soccer ball strikes a girl and a domino-effect fight ensues. The message is: don’t fight.
    * A Silent Warning” — This funny film had a serious message about the dangers of hitch hiking. Directed by Bryan Geddie.
    * “The Date” — A cell phone call from a persistent boss ruins a date. Directed by Renaldo Leon.
    * “I Heart Tap Water” — A documentary about the dangers of drinking bottled water, which results in no tap water in year 2028. Directed by James Kicklighter.
    * “Pacific Terror” — Directed by Neil Russell, a plane crashes in 1957 on a Pacific island and the survivors are met with a giant Pickenese, which eats the pilot. Dynamite takes care of the dog, but the survivors find themselves watching a bomber jet drop its load on the island.
    * “The Dark Date” — A romantic evening takes a frightening turn, but the young couple discovers the terror is caused not by a monster, but a drunken roommate. Directed by Natalie Lightsey.
Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at 489-9414.
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