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Prodigal son story tops Film Festival awards
W 041113 FILM FEST 02
Christian Washington, far left, notched the Best Director award for "Chance", Alayna Baer, center left, AnnNell Byne, center right, and Jake Taylor, right, accepted the People's Choice award for "Provenance," and Nelson Miller, center, cleaned up with awards for Best Cinematography and Best Film for "Beautiful Things" during the 2013 Statesboro Film Festival at the Averitt Center for the Arts on Thursday. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

Statesboro Film Festival Awards
Best Film: “Beautiful Things,” produced by Nelson Miller

Best Director: “Chance,” produced by Christian Washington

Best Cinematography: “Beautiful Things”

Best Editing: “Game Over,” produced by Jake Taylor and AnnNell Byne

Viewers’ Choice Award: “Provenance,” produced by Jake Taylor, AnnNell Byne and Alayna Baer

    Local legend, poignant real-life situations and bizarre stretches of the imagination brought laughter, reaction and applause as the fifth annual Statesboro Film Festival displayed eight short films by local artists Thursday night.
    Awards presented included the highlight of the evening, Best Film.  
    “Beautiful Things,” by filmmaker Nelson Miller, was an emotional commentary on a son leaving home to explore the world, then returning home to his loving father.
    The film also won Best Cinematography.
    Guests enjoyed a light snack during a reception preceding the film presentations. The event, hosted by the Statesboro Herald, was held at the Emma Kelly Theater in the Averitt Center for the Arts.
    Before viewing the first four entries, guests were treated to a showing of the 2012 Statesboro Film Festival Best Film winner, “Save As …” by filmmaker Brian Graves. A man sees Jesus in his computer screen after opening a message from God, and follows him out of the office.
    After an intermission featuring heavy hors d’oeuvres from Millhouse Steakhouse, an event sponsor, guests enjoyed an address by Beau Turpin, a Georgia Southern University graduate who had a role in the film “We Are Marshall” in 2006 and who is producing the film “Erk,” which will be partially filmed in Statesboro, about the legendary football coach Erskine “Erk” Russell.
    He and others involved have researched the film for the past year.
    “There’s a real blessing on this movie,” Turpin said. “It’s been this way the whole time.”
    The final four films were viewed before awards were announced.
    The Viewers’ Choice Award was determined by online voting, while other awards were chosen by a panel of judges.
    A film called “Provenance,” produced by Jake Taylor, AnnNell Byne and Alayna Baer, was chosen for the Viewers’ Choice Award. A man and woman experienced strange events while cleaning out his deceased mother’s home. After learning about an unrequited love during the Civil War, the woman is visited by the ghost of the man’s ancestor, who asks for a ring the couple found so he and his ghostly bride could finally be married in the afterlife.
    A fascinating film, “Game Over,” won Best Editing. The film was about young men who played an old-fashioned video game cartridge in a Nintendo Entertainment System and found themselves sucked into the game, playing Super Mario and other classic games. One man remained trapped in the game. Jake Taylor and AnnNell Byne produced the film.
    The Best Director award went to “Chance,” a film by Christian Washington that brought strong points home as actors played out the tragedy of a man being killed in a car accident after breaking up with his pregnant girlfriend.
    Other nominations for categories included “Toast,” by Alysia Marion, nominated for Best Editing, was about a young woman reliving a romantic evening before being brought back to reality in a hospital, as she argued with a nurse about medication.
    “The Bridge,” a documentary about a Nashville, Tenn., food ministry, was nominated for Best Editing, Best Cinematography, Best Director and Best Film. The filmmaker was James Minick.
    “Taking Chances,” by Brian Burns, featured an actor pondering circumstances that led to a decision to take the opportunity to meet a young lady or let her walk away.
    “Packinghouse Road” addressed a local legend about a meat packing company that burned when the owner locked its doors, trapping 23 workers inside. Legend has it a woman who died in the horrific fire haunts the premises and a nearby playground. The film was produced by Alysia Marion.
    Other sponsors of the event included Gailey Trophy and Averitt Center for the Arts. Statesboro Herald Operations Manager James Healy welcomed guests and local businessman DeWayne Grice was emcee.
    The film awards program is the brainchild of Statesboro Herald videographer Matt Bankhead, who brought the idea of a film festival to life in 2008 after approaching Healy with the idea. Bankhead presented the awards Thursday evening.
    Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.

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