Though Halloween has come and gone for this fall, Tattnall Square Park was still alive with things that may go bump in the night. On Thursday, Nov. 7, the Macon Film Festival held a special screening of “Sleepy Hollow”, a film directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp. The rated R film was played in front of at least 200 people on blankets and in fold out chairs, and was part of a project the Film Festival holds every year. Usually in October, the Festival committee holds a screening of a scary movie in the cemetery to set the mood for the rest of the month. However, this year the screening date was moved from the last week in October to the first week in November, and was relocated from the cemetery to Tattnall Square, just a stone’s throw from Mercer’s campus.
The event started promptly at 6:30 p.m., with festival president, Terrell Sandefur, speaking front and center to introduce the movie and offer to complimentary hot chocolate and Starbucks coffee. Sandefur welcomed all those in attendance and thanked them for attending the first event of the 9th annual Film Festival. He assured the audience that this year is guaranteed to have an amazing line up and encouraged those in attendance to also check out the independent films lined up for the festival, the list of which shall be released come winter.
When asked why the screening was moved this year, Julie Wilkerson, treasurer for the board of The Macon Film Festival, said moving the screening to Tattnall was an easy way to bring in more Mercer students and allow students to know a little more about the festival. The new location also offered electricity and restrooms for the convenience of the audience. Wilkerson stated the reason for picking “Sleepy Hollow” for the screening was because of renewed interest brought to the 1999 film due to the brand new Fox series of the same name. She encouraged all college age students to check out the festival, and is excited to see the turn out for this year.
The Macon Film Festival started in 2006 as a project of the Capitol Theater in an effort to encourage independent filmmakers in Macon. In its beginning, the mission statement of the Macon Film Festival was “celebrating the art and craft of the moving image.” In 2009, the Festival became a 501c3 organization. Thanks to the Film Festival’s work with the Macon Film Commission, Macon has been put on the movie map, and has been seen most recently in movies such as “42,” “Fast and Furious 5” and “Need for Speed”
The festival will start this year on Feb. 27 and will last through March 2. The festival will screen various independent films, special screenings, celebrity guests and various workshops throughout the four days. Though nothing is set in stone yet, the workshops may be related to a number of areas including directing, make-up, casting and even more.
As well as introducing a new mission statement: “Surrounded by a rich music and Southern culture, the Macon Film Festival celebrates independent films while promoting filmmaking for entertainment, inspiration, education, and economic development,” the festival will also follow a new theme. In its 9th year, the festival will be working around a theme of music in and around Macon and the rest of the south. One of the Special Screening will be a Music Documentary centering around southern music and its beginnings, and will feature such record labels as Muscle Shoals, and Capital Records.
Ticket information and movie schedules for this year will be posted to the Macon Film Festival site (maconfilmfestival.com) in winter 2014. The festival will be held at the heart of downtown Macon. When presented with a valid college ID, students will receive a free day pass for four days straight. The day pass will allow its holders to access all the screenings for that day, excluding Special Screenings.