Movie buffs can see nearly 20 local films this weekend at the Poison Peach 5 Film Festival.
The fifth annual event will showcase 15 short films and four feature films by local and regional talent at the Imperial Theatre starting at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 4, through Sunday, Jan. 6. Screenings begin at 7 p.m. daily.
Tickets are $10 for a single day and $20 for a weekend pass from the Imperial Theatre box office or online at imperialtheatre.com.
The lineup includes action, drama, Westerns, horror, animation, science fiction and even short films by students at John S. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School, said Christopher Forbes, the festival’s organizer and a local filmmaker.
“It’s really a good showcase for film talent in the Augusta area,” Forbes said. “What I like about this particular group is that it’s a really diverse selection.”
The short film 1,000 Bullets to Heaven Pt. 3: Southern Hospitality by Joshua Seymour pays homage to director Quentin Tarantino.
A 28-minute drama, 20 Something, by local filmmaker Karlton T. Clay features characters in their twenties struggling with relationships.
On Saturday night, the festival will have a horror movie double feature with the films Blood River, the tale of a vicious mother-and-daughter vampire team who set a trap for a group of friends traveling cross-country, and Confederate Zombie, a period horror film written and directed by Stephen Gilliam.
Other feature films being screened at the festival include Miss Strangelove, Forbes’ vampire musical that was filmed in Augusta, and Vengeance Without Mercy, a film about a Civil War veteran that hunts down the crooked sheriff who murdered his family 10 years earlier.
The Poison Peach Film Festival started at Le Chat Noir and moved to Imperial Theatre three years ago because a larger venue was needed to accommodate the growing audience. It is designed to promote filmmaking in Augusta.
“I saw the need for this a few years back,” Forbes said. “Most markets of Augusta’s size have a fairly large film event every year where people in the film community get together and screen their own work, pull people in to see what they’ve done and network. There’s a really active film community here in Augusta. Unfortunately, when we didn’t have a festival, we had no real big event to celebrate it.”
Forbes said he is particularly pleased with this year’s lineup.
“What struck me when I was looking at what we’ve done is just the sheer scope of some of these projects,” Forbes said. “These are really big, big projects that have been in production one way or another for a couple of years.”
For instance, Confederate Zombie involved about 200 people. Miss Strangelove was filmed over a year and a half with numerous local people.
“The vast majority of people who worked on these films are going to be there,” Forbes said. “It’s kind of neat to be able to watch a film and then turn around and go through the lobby and see everybody that was in it.”
The Poison Peach Film Festival was named by members of Southeastern Filmmakers, an active film community with nearly 300 local members. The group wanted to find a name that reflected the horror, science fiction and fantasy genres.
“It’s not really a competitive festival. We just want people to get involved in what we’re doing here,” Forbes said.
To learn more about Southeastern Filmmakers, visit www.southeasternfilmmakers.com.