FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jokara Film Festival Held in Colquitt
September 3, 2006 -- The first JOKARA Family Film/Video Festival has now found its way into the history books of Southwest Georgia. The festival got underway Thursday, August 31, 2006; it was quite a successful event with over 150 registered industry professionals who came from various locations: Atlanta, Hollywood, California, New York, Chicago, Illinois, Florida, Michigan, Texas, and even the United Kingdom.
The festival offered something for everyone, ranging
from a tour of Southwest Georgia, with Mr. Bill Halford of Arlington, as the
guide. There were movies galore, several symposiums, and gospel entertainment,
not to mention great barbecue provided by Mr. Burnell Grant.
A well attended “Meet and Greet the Filmmakers”
reception was held at LAPD Restaurant. Those present had an opportunity to
interact with the celebrities, take pictures, and get autographs.
After a wonderful meal that was prepared by Big Mama’s
Place of Blakely, Rowena’s Catering of Albany and Mr. Billy Roland,
entertainment was at its best with Ms. Faye Raye, a recording artist from
Atlanta; Vincent S.C. Hollis, a saxophonist from Albany, Doc McKenzie and the
Hi-Lites from South Carolina.. The keynote speaker was Ms. Hattie Winston (Nurse
Margaret on the t.v. sitcom Becker). Winston’s speech was one that promoted
family friendly films, as she spoke of the many roles that she was offered but
did not accept because of the content. She said, “I made a commitment never to
participate in anything that would embarrass my child.” Winston introduced her
husband Harold Wheeler, the musical composer for the hit show, “Dancing with the
Stars.” Wheeler has also composed music for the Emmy and Academy Awards. Joining
Winston and her husband was Glynn Turman (Mayor Royce on The Wire).
Dr. Ted Baehr, publisher of MOVIEGUIDE and president of
The Christian Film and Television Commission, was also one of the notable
Southwest Georgia Film Commission Director Ralph Wilcox
said, “I am so glad that so many of my friends have come to support this
effort.” He recognized Joy Jinks and Karen Kimbrel as the JOKA in JOKARA, with
the last syllable “RA” representing Ralph. He also thanked Brenda Cheatem and
staffer Judy Jones-Colston for all of their support and dedication.
It was an impressive gathering of show-business
industry professionals and local and regional supporters. There were
approximately 600 people in attendance.
Among the participants was actress Deborah Callaway
Duke, who appeared in both “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Warm Springs.”
“I think it’s great,” Duke said of the festival. “It’s
going to give a lot of people an opportunity to do their dreams.”
Screenwriters Shayne Edwards, Charles Robertson and
Nathan Myers, all of Fort Worth, Texas, and with EpicStar Pictures, traveled to
Colquitt to pitch one of Edwards’ family features films, a 19-minute short
titled “Invictus,” and another screenplay that was a team effort.
“To have that already happening was a good sign,”
The weekend events featured film screenings, as well as
workshops for screen writers, filmmakers, film production technicians, actors,
producers, and directors.
“This event has made a difference, and I do believe
that this is the beginning of something major," Wilcox said.
"On behalf of Henny Penny Video/Televison Production
Company and the Southwest Georgia Film Commission Office, a special thank you is
extended to all of the sponsors, attendees, and well wishers for the tremendous
showing of support. Get ready for 2007, the next JOKARA Family Film/Video
Festival," he continued.
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