Film buffs – and filmmakers in particular – are invited to Projex’s last screening on Saturday at the Gadsden Museum of Art.
The Fall Shorts Film Event, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., is free and open to the public.
In addition to the screening of 10 short film projects, said organizer Jerry Ramsey, the event will feature guest speakers and film news: The Creation of the North Alabama Film Commission, with Candace Krissie as inaugural president, Ramsey as founding president and professor of film at Jacksonville State University Jeff Nichols as founding member of the board of trustees.
Krissie and Ramsey of Vacant Lot Films released this summer a trailer for their independent production, the psychological horror film “A Dark Corner”, written and directed by Krissie.
The commission will serve several counties in northern Alabama and be headquartered in Gadsden, Ramsey said. The region needs a film commission, he said, to make it “official” as part of the film industry.
“Birmingham and Mobile already have a commission, so we’re playing a bit of catching up, but the possibilities are endless,” Ramsey said.
The goal of the commission will be to bring more projects to the area and hopefully have the opportunity to participate in Alabama’s cinema incentive programs.
“There is so much talent in Northern Alabama, beautiful places, and many great citizens and local business owners who are supporting the growth of the film industry here,” he said.
Projex has had previous events at the museum, including a spring launch event that drew the director and producers of the movie “Survivor Girls,” which wrapped filming last spring, largely in Gadsden.
The end-of-year event on Saturday will feature screenings of several award-winning shorts and a number of presenter filmmakers, including:
• Meagan Bellflower started working in film at age 17 as a screenwriter for the Erwin Brothers film “October Baby”. She worked in the camera department for National Geographic’s “Doomsday Preppers” and “Mudlovin ‘Rednecks” on Animal Planet, and has auditioned for “America’s Got Talent”; and was second camera assistant on “Mom’s Night Out” with Sean Astin and Sarah Drew.
At 21, after developing a disorder requiring neurosurgery, she entered college and focused on her own project. She launched a YouTube channel, shot her first short – “The Perfect Woman,” which premieres Saturday – and is writing a novel. She graduated in psychology and neuroscience at UAB and said she was fascinated by both the arts and the sciences.
• Director Karen Johnson will present three projects. Recent films she has worked on include “The Reliant”, “Resemblance” and “Summer of ’67”.
She is the founder and executive producer of Sheepshed Entertainment and recently won the award for best director of a short film at the International Christian Film Festival. She said she enjoys teaching production techniques and training the filmmakers of tomorrow. With Christ at the center of her life, she said she aimed to produce meaningful stories and share her love in all areas of her life.
• Rico Shay is a Montgomery freelance writer, director, producer and videographer. He wrote his first film in 2018 and created So Visionaire Films later that summer.
He says he has a close relationship with God and “patiently persevere” towards what he wants to accomplish. He wrote, directed and produced nine short films; writes an article he aims to complete; and has four other shorts and shows in development. It won the Best Student Film award at the 2020 Sidewalk Film Festival for “Slave 2,” filmed DC comedian Young Fly’s show at the Stardome, and produced and directed the TV pilot “Funny Guy”.
• Laura Ann Heaton Gray grew up in Atlanta and was a professional dancer with the Georgia Ballet, which led her to tour with Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” Broadway touring show. She graduated in theater with a concentration in directing and arts management at the University of North Alabama.
A few days of playing roles on shows like “Resurrection” on ABC, Lifetime Pilot “HR” and “Devious Maids” led to a new love for cinema and she began writing, producing and directing her own projects. in 2014.
Since then, his company, Excelsior Studios, has produced award-winning films and in February opened a sound stage in Huntsville where his company specializes in commercial video advertising and photography.
• Mike Hayhurst is an award-winning film and theater director and producer. He was born and raised in the UK and founded Evening Squire Productions in 2016.
Evening Squire shorts include “15 Down, available on Prime Video;” Oma “, starring Lynn Cohen;” The Pits “;” Evie’s Elements “;” olivia wears a bear hat “;” Liozna “; and “Uncertainty Principle”.
His movie credits include “Buck Run”, “The Trip to Bountiful” with Cicely Tyson and “A Day Late and a Dollar Short” with Whoopi Goldberg. He is the director and cinematographer of the web series “All Talk”, starring Jason Mewes and Joe Patane, and the reality show “Unique New York”, with Nathan Kaufman, which has generated more than half a million views. .
• Jere Hunt, originally from Huntsville, holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from Marymount Manhattan College in New York City and has danced with Rioult Dance NY for 10 years. He is currently with the Huntsville Ballet Company and has worked on music videos, films and television.
He recently created a dance short, “One Thing is Certain”; choreographed his first musical, “Newsies”; and directed his first musical, “The Light in the Piazza”.
• Alex M. Gibson is co-owner of CinePros, a production company in Alabama, acting as director and producer. He chairs the Alabama Film Co-op, one of the oldest film groups in Alabama (since 1970). Its mission is to offer free workshops and seminars to those who wish to learn more about cinema.
Contact Gadsden Times reporter Donna Thornton at 256-393-3284 or [email protected]