Gateway Macon Shorts Competition Heats Up

Macon Shorts Press ConferenceMACON, GA (06/14/2011) - The Macon Shorts film competition was first previewed for filmmakers in attendance for the Macon Film Festival in February of this year.  With a little help from industry contacts around the country, the news spread like wildfire and by the April 15th deadline, the inaugural short film contest had received applications, resumes and treatments for close to a hundred potential films each of which featured at least three Macon locations and one of the city’s signature festivals.  “Filmmakers were given a list of approximately 30 of Macon’s landmarks, museums, historic sites, and colleges from which to select a minimum of three locations to incorporate into their film.  That translates into an incredible amount of research about Macon,” according to Beth Dunwody, Director of the Gateway Initiative, which launched the contest to increase awareness of Macon’s significant assets.

The first round of Macon Shorts entries came from Japan, London, Indonesia, Los Angeles, New York, Florida and Kansas, as well as a significant number from filmmakers from within Georgia.  The field was then narrowed to eighteen contestants who were asked to submit scripts for their proposed films.  "We originally intended to reduce the field to fifteen, but increased the number due to the quantity and quality of the initial submissions,” said Jenn Stiles, who helped administer the competition.

In the second phase, the panel of jurors was expanded to review the scripts with input from filmmakers, directors, film enthusiasts, and academicians.  Each script was evaluated for storyline, characters and feasibility of production, as well as how effectively the objectives of Gateway Macon were met through the incorporation of locations and characters.  On June 1st, all filmmakers were notified of the outcome, including the five finalists who have been asked to submit full production books with budget, cast, crew, locations and schedules for the final selection phase.

At the end of June, three final scripts will be selected to be shot in Macon later this year and three lucky filmmakers will be provided seed money for the production of their 10 minute films.  Additional stipends are being offered to filmmakers who choose to utilize local talent, crew and vendors in the making of their film.  “It really is a win-win all the way around,” according to Macon Film Festival Board member Terrell Sandefur.  “Filmmakers get assistance to do what they love while promoting Macon in the process and tapping into the vast pool of local talent.”  The three finalists will also take their shorts on the road to film festivals around the country, complete with the required "Filmed entirely on location in Macon, Georgia” credit.

The five finalists vying for the top three spots to be funded are: “Superhero” by Kristen Wright (in association with Jeff Shipman), Atlanta, GA; “Home” by M. Elizabeth Hughes, Los Angeles, CA; “Richard & Jimi” by Michael Dunaway, Atlanta, GA; “The Razzle” by Joseph Guay, Atlanta, GA; and “Final Acts” by James Kicklighter, Bellville, GA.  The genres vary from romantic comedy to period drama with potential locations including The Hay House, Mercer University, Wesleyan College, Luther Williams Field, Grand Opera House, Ocmulgee River, Grant’s Lounge, Rose Hill and Riverside Cemeteries, and the Macon Regional Airport with references to Bragg Jam, Cherry Blossom Festival, and the Macon Film Festival.