When Jeremiah Bennett came to Milledgeville in 2012 to work as a production assistant on the reality show “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” he found much more than an interesting family that captivated America’s television audience.
Bennett, who later became a producer on the hit show, saw Georgia’s Old Capital as untapped potential for the state’s film industry, and thus the Milledgeville Film Festival was born in 2014. Six years and one nearby city added to the event’s title later, the Milledgeville-Eatonton (ME) Film Festival is growing while keeping true to its mission as an event created by filmmakers, for filmmakers. The ME Film Festival was scheduled to begin Tuesday night with a red carpet event and screening of the movie, “83 Days” filmed in Eatonton. The festival continues through Sunday and features additional screenings, industry panels, and a Saturday awards ceremony and dinner where actor Louis Gossett Jr. will be presented with the ME Film Festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Bennett, ME Film Festival founder and president, said the festival received 67 submissions in its inaugural year in 2014. About 30 works were screened over the course of 2 1/2 days. Compare that to this year, where the festival has received more than 500 submissions from 35 different countries. More than 100 films, both short and feature-length, are being shown over the course of the six-day event.
In between all the panels and screenings, the festival seeks to show visiting filmmakers everything the area has to offer. They will kayak either the Oconee River or parts of Lake Sinclair (depending on water levels at the river), take the trolley tour and visit historical sites such as the Old Governor’s Mansion, and even ride bikes around the Central State Hospital campus and Bartram trails. Lockerly Arboretum will also be featured as the historic grounds will play host to a filmmakers brunch Sunday morning. See more at Union Recorder.