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Shining a light on Savannah’s stars of Art and Commerce

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IF YOU look up at the beautiful granite and limestone façade of Savannah’s City Hall, you will see two statues: one representing art and the other representing commerce.

How apt that our city’s early leaders chose these seemingly diverse symbols to represent our community. Individually, art and commerce have each been important influencers in our area’s development, but we are now seeing the true power of their potential when combined together.

That is because there is no sector that does a better job of illustrating the perfect intersection of these two diverse ideologies than the film and entertainment industry.

In my last column, I announced the inaugural Savannah Film Alliance Gala open to the public on September 28 that has the express purpose of uplifting and celebrating the breadth and health of Savannah’s professional film community.

The Gala is meant to shine a spotlight directly on industry members who are doing amazing things to ensure Savannah’s rightful place in the film industry. I am very excited to give you a sneak peek at the men and women who will be honored. Drumroll, please...

The 2019 SFA Gala Honorees are:

Nora Clark, a production coordinator with credits on numerous film and television projects, now at work on a documentary about the life of Chicago tap dance legend Bril Barrett;

John Grace, who has worked as director of photography and camera operator on theatrical features and commercials, including work for ABC, NBC, CBS, HBO, ESPN, PBS and Walt Disney Studios, among many others. He is also a faculty member of the Georgia Film Academy and teaches technical production classes at Savannah Technical College;

Genevieve Hawkins, with credits as a production and location coordinator, has worked on such Savannah-filmed projects as “Lizzie,” “Peanut Butter Falcon,” “The Act,” and “Council of Dads”;

Amanda Kulkoski, documentarian, cinematographer, and film professor at Savannah College of Art and Design;

Witt Lacy, an assistant director who has worked with a variety of productions before setting up base in Savannah to work on “Underground,” “Poison Rose,” “Lady and the Tramp,” and “The Glorias,” among others;

William Martin, documentarian, cinematographer, and educator, who has 15 years of production experience in television news;

Buck Meeks, location services and period actor, who first worked in period costume locally 30 years ago in the filming of “Glory”; and

Anthony Paderewski, whose background includes a wide array of roles in the film industry, including photographer, acting coach, producer, location scout, location manager, and actor.

These honorees have made remarkable contributions to the industry, as well as ensuring Savannah’s rightful place as a premier production location. They are the ones who trudge through a mosquito-infested swamp to scout out a great movie location or wait patiently on a dark beach to film the perfect sunrise.

They delight in mentoring the next generation of filmmakers and they keep the seemingly minuscule details in check while ensuring every facet of production runs smoothly. They make Savannah look and feel as gorgeous to filmmakers and audiences as it is to those who live here.

It’s about time they had their 15 minutes of fame.

Please join me in celebrating these individuals at the inaugural Savannah Film Alliance Honors Gala to be held Saturday, September 28, at the new event venue, Victory North, located at 2603 Whitaker Street. As an added bonus, it may well be the most fun and entertaining event Savannah has ever seen! For more information on tickets and sponsorships, visit www.SavannahFilmAlliance.org.

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