Jokara-Micheaux Film Festival dazzling
September 3, 2008
"Bond, James Bond," Ralph Wilcox (right)
tells Barton Rice Jr. (left) that he has
always wanted that acting part.
Talking about the city coming to town,
Hollywood descended on Colquitt, Blakely and Camilla, August
29-31 for the third Jokara-Micheaux Film Festival. There
were stars, producers, directors, writers, authors, cameras
and journalists all over the place. The Film Festival has
become an annual event, but this was a really special one,
since the first full-length movie, The Lena
was to premiere right here in Colquitt
where most of it was produced in the 22,000 square foot
The opening ceremonies started with a Southern-style
breakfast at Tarrer Inn in Colquitt as the celebrities and
many of the visitors were welcomed to the area film festival
After the breakfast, the celebrity guests, symposium
panelists and out-oftown visitors were taken to historic
Cotton Hall for orientation and showings of special featured
screenings. A workshop followed at the Colquitt/Miller Arts
Council Building as the filmmakers explained how movies and
TV production projects were completed within budget. Another
workshop followed after lunch telling the many production
services that are offered for filming and TV productions
right here in Southwest Georgia.
Co-stars of The Lena Baker Story, Beverly
Todd and Tichina Arnold, speak at Film
Festival Gala Dinner in Colquitt.
That evening, the first annual Flint River
Arts Show reception was held in Camilla at McRee Hall to
give the people in that area a chance to meet some of the
celebrities and professionals attending the film festival.
More screenings of films and workshops were offered in
Camilla on Friday.
On Friday night, a Celebrity Reception was held in
Blakely by invitation only. It was a gala affair as people
from the three cities met each other as well as many of the
celebrities attending the festival.
On Saturday, Blakely hosted more workshops and featured
screenings of movies such as Amazing Grace that was
followed by Movieguide founder Dr. Ted Baehr. Along
with the film festival activities, Blakely held their EC2055
Block Party with live music by Shane Owens, Sawyer Brown and
other artists. The Bed Race and many other activities
entertained many others.
The Film Festival ended in style as usual with a black
tie Gala Dinner held inside the beautifully decorated
Jokara- Micheaux Sound Stage in Colquitt. When Ralph Wilcox
is in charge of a gala event, it is a gala event.
Stevie Flowers, events coordinator, who was in charge of
events for Stevie Wonder, Denzel Washington and NFL events
and Joel Zwick, director of My Big Fat Greek Wedding,
Full House and Webster; hosted the event.
They welcomed the 400 plus guests, and recognized the
industry professionals, and star sponsors of the event.
Recording artist, Faye Raye played and sang several of
her recordings. U.S. Representative Sanford Bishop gave
praise to Ralph Wilcox and all those who helped make this
During a delicious dinner, the crowd was entertained by
Todd Cochran, composer, arranger, musician of The Lena
Baker Story and Vince Hollis, saxophonist.
The Southwest Georgia premier showing of the recently
finished full-length film of The Lena Baker Story
was shown. This was the story of the first and only woman
who was sentenced and killed in the Georgia's electric chair
in the 1940s.
After the movie, two the costars were introduced.
Actress, Tichina Arnold, who played the part of Lena Baker,
and actress, Beverly Todd, who played the part of her
mother, told of their praise and admiration for Ralph Wilcox
and his wife, Brenda.
Bill Thompson, Georgia State Film Commissioner, told how
this event and accomplishment was almost unprecedented and
was quite an accomplishment.
Dr. Ted Baehr, founder of Movieguide and
President of the Christian Film and Television Commission
praised those who made this film and all Christian films for
the big screen and TV.
Andrea Lauer-Rice, founder/ CEO Lauer Learning,
introduced her husband, Barton Rice Jr., executive producer
of The Lena Baker Story.
Brenda Cheatem-Wilcox, vice-president of Jokara-Micheaux
Production Studio, then introduced her husband, Ralph
Wilcox, writer/director/ producer of The Lena Baker
Barton Rice Jr. praised the work and determination of
Ralph Wilcox and his crew for making this all happen.
Ralph Wilcox praised the Charles and Catherine B. Rice
Foundation as well as all those who had faith in him to make
this all happen. Wilcox said, "This is just the beginning."
There was a time of taking photos with the many
celebrities, getting autographs and meeting these stars who
all praised the work of Wilcox's first movie, The Lena
Southwest Georgia Film Commissioner Ralph Wilcox said,
"You ain't see nothing yet. It's going to get bigger and
better every year."