As an independent filmmaker, Duane Brown believes in the power of film festivals to reach audiences, and as the program director for the Black Cat Picture Show, Brown believes Augusta is a great place for an international film festival at the caliber of other film festivals he’s attended.
The third annual festival, to be held Aug. 18-20 at Le Chat Noir, drew more than 100 entries from the United States as well as the United Kingdom, Germany, Hungary, China, Finland, Russia and France. About half of the films being presented are from outside the U.S.
“It grows exponentially every year,” said Brown. “The first year we were sold out every night.”
While Brown serves as one of the judges for the festival, deciding the entries, he said that none of the local filmmakers on the committee are allowed to submit their films for screening out of fairness to the other filmmakers.
Since Augusta already has the Poison Peach Film Festival in January, which screens a lot of local and regional films, the Black Cat Picture Show wanted to find its own niche with a broader scope of filmmakers.
A couple of films Brown is excited to see on the theater circuit include American Satan, starring John Bradley, who also plays Sam in Game of Thrones; Drake Bell, who was in the Nickelodeon series Drake and Josh and has done numerous voiceover roles and television parts; and Bill Goldberg, who rose to fame as a WWE wrestler. The movie is about a rock band whose members drop out of college and move to the Sunset Strip to fulfill their dreams.
“It’s a really good film,” Brown said. “I think this will bring in people from Atlanta and Columbia.”
American Satan is the feature film and will be shown at 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 19.
Another film Brown is excited about is a short from Austria from MeTube2: August Sings Carmina Burana, presented on Friday, Aug. 18.
“It’s about five to six minutes, and it’s visually wonderful. It’s a spectacle to see,” he said.
Also included in the festival is a film with a local tie.
D.K. Bhaskar and Tom Grant’s film, Elephants in the Coffee, will be presented at 1 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 20.
Bhaskar is an international photographer who founded the Augusta Photography Festival, and Grant is the former editor of The Metro Spirit.
Their film “is about the conflict between endangered elephants and coffee growers in southern India. We shot it primarily during two study abroad trips to India, which we made through Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, Ga.,” said Grant in an email. Grant is an associate professor at Abraham Baldwin.
Grant will be at the screening and available for questions.
A festival pass is $40 for the entire weekend and a reception on Aug. 18. For more information, call Le Chat Noir at (706) 722-3322.