Here's a success worthy of celebration.
Two weeks ago, the Imperial Theatre held its second annual Southern Fried Flicks Film Festival and attracted more than 100 filmmakers from across the region and more than 1,500 film fans eager to celebrate the Southern cinematic aesthetic.
The festival, which after a modest beginning in 2005, truly came into its own this year. Entries and interest were way up, and Imperial Theatre Executive Director Lara Plocha was so encouraged that she already is planning for bigger and better next year.
Although just having a self-produced film screened in front of an eager audience is reward enough, the Southern Fried filmmakers also were in the running for a variety of honors and awards. Here's a rundown of the winners:
First - Secret City: The Oak Ridge Story, Keith McDaniel
Second - Happy Crying Nursing Home, Niklas Vollmer
Third - Sphere of Influence, Stace Treat
First - 29 Reasons to Run, Damon O'Steen
Second - Deep Green, Tim Johnson
Third - Marcus, Rich Robinson and Bob Hardison
First - Song for Robbie Miller, Sean Bates
Second - Dear Sweet Emma, John Cernak
Third - Would You Cry If I Died?, Bob Pondillo
BEST STUDENT FILM (COLLEGE)
First - SYN, Benjamin Chavda
Second - Voodoo Doll, Roberto Minervini
Third - Tears in the Rain, David Estrada
BEST STUDENT FILM (HIGH SCHOOL)
First - Lunchroom Perspectives, Alex Taylor and Billy Probus
Second - Sorry, Hodges Usry
Third - Poof Fantasies, John S. Davidson Fine Arts School junior class
BEST LOCAL FILM
First - Deep Green, Tim Johnson
Second - Artists at Work, Charlene Gowan
Third - What'll It Be, Duane Brown
First - For the Title, Josh Long
Second - The Ugly Couple, Chris Flowers
Third - All That Remains, Aaron Brownlee
It should be noted that no fewer than five of the winners were produced locally, making Southern Fried a victory not only for the Imperial but also for Augusta's burgeoning moviemaking community. Congratulations to all.
Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or firstname.lastname@example.org.