As it enters its fourth year, the Poison Peach Film Festival is working hard to live up to its name, said founder Christopher Forbes.
“It’s horror, action, fantasy, even a bit of slapstick this year,” the Augusta filmmaker said. “We try to stay true to it and pull in films of a slightly skewered nature. It’s definitely oddball.”
Forbes is one of more than a dozen local talents featured in the three-day festival at the Imperial Theatre.
The event starts Friday, Jan. 6, with an hour of short films, followed by the premiere of a raw cut of Confederate Zombie, a film by Stephen Gilliam. The screening features a live soundtrack performed by the band Hellblinki.
A portion of the Civil War-era zombie flick was filmed at the third Poison Peach Film Festival.
The Imperial Theatre, Gilliam said, made a perfect backdrop for shooting a recreation of President Lincoln’s assassination.
“It was great,” Gilliam said. “It was fun to make. We had to be really creative. That’s the great thing about independent film.”
More than 50 people participated as extras. They’ll repeat the feat this year, using the final day of the festival to shoot scenes of the vampire musical Miss Strangelove.
Forbes, who wrote the original screenplay, promises it will include vampires, witches, dancing executioners and a beautiful woman who rises from the dead.
On Saturday, he’ll also premiere Glass Bullets for Broken Hearts, a feature-length Western with Cody McCarver and Billy Joe Royal. The film is a fictionalized retelling of the original story of Billy the Kid.
Friday, Forbes said, is best described as “R-rated,” while Saturday’s films are more “family-friendly and PG-13.”
The festival, he added, includes the work of directors from Charleston, S.C., Tennessee and Florida. But this year’s festival is unique in that it features more finished products from Augusta filmmakers than ever before.
“In Augusta, we have a lot of talent, a good number of resources and great locations,” Forbes said. “We’re here to show people that video of this quality can be done in Augusta.
“It’s a big event. If you want to see what’s going on with film, particularly in Augusta, this is the place to be.”
ON THE BIG SCREEN
WHAT: The Poison Peach Film Festival
WHEN: 7 nightly Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 6-8
WHERE: Imperial Theatre, 749 Broad St.
COST: $8 per day; Sunday is free
PIANO BATTLE, directed by Chris Cheape; Two piano students battle it out while their teacher is out of the room. Running time: 2 minutes, 30 seconds
THE COMPETITION, by Amier Naji; An art student fears having his work evaluated. Running time: 2 minutes, 40 seconds
SANCTUARY, by Daniel Allen; An art film about a young man’s search. Running time: 5 minutes, 45 seconds
SURRENDER, by Karlton T. Clay; The Rev. Reginald Anderson’s world is turned upside down when a secret comes back to haunt him. Running time: 38 minutes
THE 1964 DREAM, by Ray and Migdalia Etheridge; A nightmarish look at “evil, dark places”. Running time: 5 minutes
CONFEDERATE ZOMBIE (raw cut), by Stephen Gilliam; An advance preview of the feature film Confederate Zombie, which follows a group of survivors fighting to survive a zombie outbreak in the final days of the American Civil War. Running time: 55 minutes
DEADLINE, by Dan Beck and Stephen Gilliam; Film noir created for the 48-hour Guerilla Film Competition. Running time: 5.5 minutes
CALLING YOU OUT, a music video from the group The Atom Blonde, created by Yannik the Filmmaker. Running time: 5 minutes
TYLER JENKINS, by Edward and Paul Cannon; The Cannon Brothers from Columbia deliver a slacker comedy. Running time: 15 minutes
DESOLATION, by Johnny “Jay Starkes” Cropps; A young man wakes up to a deserted city. Running time: 8 minutes
1,000 BULLETS TO HEAVEN – GENESIS, directed by Josh Seymour; Seymour’s action opus is expanded and features a trailer for the next installment buried somewhere in the middle. Running time: 30 minutes
CASA SONATA, directed by IdaLease Cummings; A girl must get the house clean before her mother gets home, making music in the process. Running time: 3 minutes, 5 seconds
CIRCUS, by Mikalyn Rush, Ashley Plocha, and Veronica LeBlanc; A boy finds his fame under the big top. Running time: 5 minutes, 25 seconds
LIVING WITH DIABETIC PARENTS, directed by Erin Mercer & Logan Collier; A documentary showing a young woman’s home life. Running time: 5 minutes,10 seconds
BLACK HISTORY SHOW OPEN, by Erin Lightfoot, Sassett West, Kiana Harrison, Leah Wright, Chelsea Bridges, Kendra Mills, and David Wicker; Cinematography, dance, and poetry in an introduction to the 2011 DFA Black History Program. Running time: 2 minutes, 10 seconds
DETOUR preview trailer, Cheryl Broadus; A preview of the new film from the Orangeburg filmmaker. Running time: 1 minute
THAT’S BULL: ELIJAH AND THE PROPHETS OF WALL STREET, by Rhonda and Sharee Washington; The new film from a Columbia filmmaking team examines the heart of business. Running time: 11 minutes
THE NIGHT THEY DROVE OLD DIXIE DOWN, Nashville recording artist Sue Nalley covers this classic song in a music video photographed at the historic Octagon Hall in Franklin, Ky. Running time: 5 minutes
DOCSTAR, a fast-paced “reality” film about Manchester, Tenn.’s Dr. David G. Florence. Running time: 19 minutes
I JUST MIGHT LIVE FOREVER, by Cody McCarver; A song written for the western Glass Bullets for Broken Hearts. Running time: 5 minutes
GLASS BULLETS FOR BROKEN HEARTS, by Christopher Forbes; A fictionalized retelling of the origins of Billy the Kid. The original screenplay was written by Augusta-area screenwriter Graye Bumgardner. Running time: 80 minutes
THE LETTER, by Gretchen Dzedzej; A soldier entrusts his friend with a letter for his wife in case something happens to him. Running time: 10 minutes
RENEW, by Christopher Forbes; A short film that captures footage from wind farms from central Indiana to western Texas, combined with time lapse material from Chris Martino.
MY DOGGONE DESTINY, by Gretchen Dzedzej; Sarah is a young woman who has been experiencing an unusually persistent streak of bad luck. Running time: 50 minutes
Be in the audience for the final scene of the vampire musical Miss Strangelove. There is no admission charge on Sunday but release forms will be required. Participants should dress in black. Shooting begins at 7 p.m., but participants should arrive at 6:30 p.m. Learn more at forbesfilm.net.