Miller Countians excited about hometown movie success - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Miller Countians excited about hometown movie success

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April 8, 2008

Colquitt-- Several years ago, not everyone in the quiet town of Colquitt was convinced it could be turned into a place where movies were made. When a man named Ralph Wilcox said he wanted to build his studio here, some believed it could happen. 

"Our organization was one of the ones that had faith in it, we believed in it," says Billy Roland of Golden Triangle RCN, a supporter of the film. 

"We had lots of doubters. We all have a dream and Ralph Wilcox will see that that dream comes true," adds Veryl Garland-Cockey, Chamber of Commerce President as well as a cast member.

As Georgia's first mural city, and the home of Swamp Gravy Folk Life Play, Colquitt has already displayed a love of the art of storytelling.  And Karen Kimbrel says, "Filmmaking is just another way to tell a story.  We saw it as a natural fit for what we were doing here."

With some faith and support, the studio was built and its first feature film, the Lena Baker story was shot here and in surrounding counties last fall.  "We also aspired to his notions about bringing economic development to southwest Georgia and that's exactly what it did," explains Garland-Cockey.

Many locals were given jobs on the cast and crew, and the film's stars like Tichinina Arnold, Michael Rooker, and Peter Coyote were seen around town.  "One thing that makes it so great is all the scenes were filmed here in our area," says Roland. 

Some will travel to Atlanta this weekend to see their hometown on the big screen at the premier. "Its the premier event of the Atlanta Film Festival. It's the only even that's sold out. We're very very excited.

Now with a town full of believers, they hope its just the first film of many to be made here, " says Kimbrel.  "The Lena Baker Story" will also be screened at the Cannes Film Festival in France in May. The film's producer hopes for a nationwide release of the film this fall.

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