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Nepal documentary wins Statesboro Film Festival
Event celebrates 8th year
Kenny Gamblin, center left, notched Best Film and Best Cinematography, Shane Nelson, center right, picked up the Best Editing award (with co-director Blake Turner), Beeka Regassa, far right, won Best Director, while Abby Smith and mom Amy Smith, left, were the Viewers Choice winners during the 2016 Statesboro Film Festival at the Averitt Center for the Arts Friday. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

A documentary about Nepal earthquakes and their aftermath during spring, 2015, took top honors Friday night during the 8th Annual Statesboro Film Festival.

Held in the Emma Kelly Theater, hosted by the Statesboro Herald and the Averitt Center for the Arts, the event was sponsored by Millhouse Steakhouse and Gailey Trophy.

The competition welcomed area film makers to submit short films that are judged in categories such as best film, best cinematography, best editing, best director, and viewer’s choice.

             The festival began in 2009, born of an idea by Statesboro Herald videographer Matt Bankhead, who is a key part in the production of the event, said Statesboro Herald Chief Operations Manager and editor Jim Healy, who welcomed guests and competitors.

           Local businessman DeWayne Grice served as emcee.

“Who knows – maybe we will see your films one day on the big screen in a movie theater,” Grice told competitors before the films were shown. Thanks to new technology and equipment, this year the films were shown in high definition for the first time, Healy said.



The short film “For Nepal” was chosen as Best Film. The documentary shared “intimate accounts of indigenous Nepal people directly affected by the earthquakes of April and May 2015,” Grice said in an introduction. The film was directed by Kenny Gamblin.

“Thank you. It’s amazing,” Gamblin said as he accepted his award. “This film is … multifaceted, has a lot of purposes and reasons behind it. Everything we do is for the glory of God. Everything we do is deeply Christian … and the purpose of this film is to leverage connections to hand off to churches” and other charitable, Christian organizations.

“For Nepal” was also given an award for best cinematography, and was nominated in the categories of best editing and best director.

 The “Best Editing” award went to a film titled “P.Y.D.G.” directed by Blake Turner. Grice introduced the film as a music video that “shows the struggle of two detectives as they try to take down a serial killer.”

A film titled “Celestial” was awarded Best Director, honoring director Beeka Regassa. The film dealt with members of a religious cult committing suicide by drinking poison after being convinced by their leader that the afterlife was a better choice. “Celestial” was also nominated for best editing and best film.

The film “One Idea - One Girl” was chosen by the public for the Viewers’ Choice award. The mother-daughter team of Amy and Abby Smith put together a series of short video clips used in a TV program a Julia P. Bryant Elementary School in Statesboro, encouraging fellow students to strive to be better, help stop bullying and be “JPB Awesome.”

Abby, a fourth-grade student, came up with the idea after watching a “Kid President” video, and intends the films to “inspire other kids to follow their dreams and make a positive impact on the world,” Grice said.

Other nominees in the best editing were “Winding Road,” a music video set to a song with the same title by The Piano Band and directed by Shane Nelson; and “Into the Past,” a historical documentary about Statesboro history and its historical buildings, directed by Katherine Connor.

Other nominees for best cinematography were “Handcrafted Discipline,” a film about the struggles budding filmmakers encounter, directed by Richard Patrick, Madison Reynolds, Meagan Sheehan and Simone Horace; “For Him,” a story about a man seeking vengeance and torturing people who took a loved one from him, directed by Madison Reynolds, Erica Pierno, and Tahir Daudier.

Also, a documentary on the Okefenokee Swamp directed by Tyson Davis, Julien Verdon, Grant Hoover, and Tahir Daudier; and “Tom: A Love-Hate Story,” a video about an Eastern Towhee bird who relentlessly fought his reflection a local home, directed by Alan Harvey.

Best director nominees also included “For Him” and “For a Moment,” a film directed by Richard Patrick and Madison Reynolds about a young couple dealing with relationship challenges.

Other nominees for best film were “Celestial,” “Tom: A Love-Hate Story,” “For a Moment,” and “Hand-crafted Discipline.”

Another film submitted was “Doug Goes to a Party,” A film done in silent movie style about a  man bored with his life who gets invited to a party at a popular person’s home.


Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.






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