/ The Atlanta Traveler
Atlanta — By Linda Erbele on January 29, 2010 at 1:53 pm
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Catching the stars at the Macon Film Festival

The fifth annual Macon Film Festival opens February 18. This year the festival will be four days long. The festival screens both main-stream and independent films. Over 50 filmmakers will be there.

“It has turned into quite a big festival,” explains publicity  chair Terrell Sandefur. There are over $10,000 in prizes.

Among the stars attending the film festival are two with Macon roots. Illeana Douglas, granddaughter of the late Academy award winner Melvyn Douglas will be there with her  film, Easy to Assemble about a movie star who quits acting to work at IKEA. The Macon Film Festival’s Best in Show award will be renamed the Melvyn Douglas Award. (He was from Macon also.) Illeana Douglas will dedicate the award on Saturday, followed by a special “Melvyn Douglas Matinee” screening of The Candidate at 2 p.m. It is a 1972 archival film in which Douglas plays the father of a young Robert Redford.

Jack McBrayer, of 30 Rock fame, will be present for a special screening of Forgetting Sarah Marshall. He was born in Macon in 1973.

The are several films you’re not going to want to miss:

An American Opera by Tom McPhee – which details the tremendous dog recovery efforts that took place during and after Katrina. Thousands of people had to leave their pets behind. This film has been winning awards at film festivals around the country.

Stuck, directed by Steve Balderson, will have its Georgia premier Friday, February 19. The movie is about a woman who was wrongfully accused of murder.

“It’s very campy,” says Sandefur, “and very good.” It stars Karen Black and some local talent, because it was filmed in Macon.  Balderson fell in love with this central Georgia town when he came to the film festival last year with movie star Black. Three months later he was back with his crew to begin filming.

That Evening Sun will end the festival. You may have heard some of the recent buzz about this film, which was screened at the Atlanta Film Festival. It has only recently been released for national distribution and has won a number of awards. Starring Hal Holbrook, Dixie Carter and Macon native Carrie Preston, the story involves an elderly farmer who “escapes” from his retirement home only to discover that his son has rented the family farm to a ne’er-do-well that the farmer has always disliked.  It’s one of the best films I saw in 2009.

It takes three venues to get in all the events at the festival, but it is headquartered at the historic Cox Capitol Theatre in downtown Macon (see map.)   See CoxCapitolTheatre.com for tickets. Macon is about an hour south of Atlanta. You can do it in a day trip, but after you look over the schedule, you’re going to want to stay.

(Photos courtesy MAGA. Used with permission.)

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