by Burt Reynolds Institute for Film & Theatre


JUPITER, FL: If you happened to be in Macon, Georgia between July 17 and July 19, you were sure to notice the heightened level of excitement in the air. The charged atmosphere had nothing to do with an approaching hurricane unless the hurricane in question was Burt Reynolds. If, during that same visit, you found yourself constantly hungry, it was most likely due to the appetizing aromas coming from area restaurants serving up their weekend specials—Smokey and the Bandit burgers and Buford T. Justice Punch. Let there be no doubt—Macon loves Burt Reynolds! From the moment it was announced that the Hollywood megastar would be attending the film festival and would be available for a Q&A after the screenings of his hit films Deliverance and Sharky’s Machine fans near and far made travel plans.

The weekend visit to Georgia reunited Reynolds with some very dear long-time friends including Captain Chaos, a fictional superhero from his Cannonball Run movies. On screen, the role was played by Reynolds’ good friend Dom DeLuise, who passed away in 2009. In DeLuise’s honor, ABC/Fox reporter Chace Ambrose gladly donned the red satin cape and mask and played foil to Reynolds’ J.J. McClure character. Also in attendance was Amber Caldwell, a member of the Georgia film community, and Terrell Sandefur, Director of the Macon Film Festival, who moderated the Q&A sessions along with Todd Vittum, Executive Director of the Burt Reynolds Institute for Film and Theatre.

Among the friends who stopped by to say “Hello” were J. L. and Cindy Parker, who worked with Reynolds on his numerous Georgia movie projects including The Longest Yard. Reynolds also visited with Sherry Billings and actress Chesta Drake, both of whom were involved in his most recent Georgia location film, Hamlet & Hutch. Billings also worked on Reynolds’ recently released film Category Five. Additionally and unexpectedly, Reynolds crossed paths with Gallery West owner/photographer Kirk West and his wife, Kirsten. The Wests presented Reynolds with photographs taken during a recording session for the Allman Brothers band at the Reynolds Ranch in Jupiter, Florida in 1994.

Recalling the wonderful times he had while filming in the Peachtree State, Reynolds told a reporter, “I love Georgia. I love the people of Georgia. I feel like I’ve come home again.”

As if his wonderful memories of movies made were not enough, Reynolds was further honored with the Georgia Film Legend Award. Before a sold out crowd at the historic Douglass Theatre, the star of Deliverance and Sharky’s Machine, which he also directed, was nearly brought to tears by the overwhelming love emanating from the audience. “Georgia is my lucky state,” he said as the audience rose to give him a standing ovation.

Burt Reynolds memoir, But Enough About Me, will be available in bookstores worldwide in November. It is available for pre-order through Amazon at:…/…/0399173544

posted 05/01/2017 in Events
Tags: macon film festival


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