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My experience speaking at the Rome International Film Festival wrap-up & #Rome, GA sightseeing photo essay

By Joy A. Kennelly

Recently I was invited by North Avenue Post Director of Marketing, Tracie Kriete, to join Georgia Production Partnership's "Plugged in Producing" Panel (say that fast three times:) at the Rome International Film Festival, considered by Moviemaker Magazine as “one of the outstanding film festivals in the southeast” and “one of twenty film festivals worth the submission fee.”  Theatre2

Now, for those of you who have never heard of Georgia Production Partnership (GPP), it is a "not-for-profit coalition of companies and individuals who are active in the state’s film, video, music, and interactive game industries. (They do) whatever it takes to promote film and television production in Georgia. You might say that the most important achievement to date has been our contribution to the Georgia tax incentives bill.  GPP has worked tirelessly on the formulation and passage of, what is officially called, The Georgia Entertainment Industry Investment Act of 2008."

Now what does this mean to you as a filmmaker with a budget of $500,000 or more? You are eligible for a transferrable 30% tax credit for qualified production and post-production expenditures if you shoot in the state of Georgia. I don't know all the details, but you can learn more if you click the link above. I do know it has turned Georgia into one of the top five TV and film production locations to shoot however.

Did you know Denzel Washington is coming to Georgia with Director Robert Zemeckis to film Flight? Or that Billy Crystal and Bette Midler are coming here to shoot Us and Them? Also, Cameron Diaz, Chris Rock and JLo have been here shooting What To Expect When You're Expecting.

Pretty fun, eh? But I digress. Back to the Rome International Film Festival and our experience visiting the city of Rome, GA

DowntownI convinced my CA2GA girlfriends, Brenda and Anne, and my new screenwriter friend, MH Witten,  All of usto join me for the day and this gorgeous building below was our first view of the festival site. There is such history in Georgia we love driving anywhere.

Heritage hallWhen we arrived in the room where we would be speaking, initially I was worried my friends would comprise the entire audience, but pretty soon people started trickling in and we ended up with a good-sized crowd.

Here's the pictures and bios of our moderator and my fellow panelists in order of our appearance:

Panel8

Moderator: Tracie Kriete, MSM:Tracie is the Director of Marketing for North Avenue Post.  She has worked in the digital landscape since 1997. Her expertise lies in social media, search, SEM/SEO, video, display, sales strategy/execution, oine marketing, and graphic design to name a few.  Currently she is on the Speaker Series Committee for GPP, MembershipCommittee for AIMA, Membership Committee for DMA, Founder/President of WIIM, and freelances online reputation management for a variety of clients.

Panel6L.C. Crowley: L.C. Crowley is a writer, producer and director with a diverse background in music videos, television and lm. In 2006 he produced and directed the feature-length documentary Birds of Eden, which explores therole played by African-American spiritual music in the tiny Alabama hamlet of Gee's Bend. He has also directed commercials for a wide range of brands including Coca-Cola, Toyota, AT&T, and General Electric. 

Crowley now is based out of School of Humans, the bi-coastal entertainment label he founded in 2009. There, Crowley has executive-produced, written and directed myriad projects including Funny By Nature, featuring Sarah Silverman, Janeane Garafalo, and Judah Friedlander in conjunction with General Electric. And Stu You Should Know, a multiplatform series for Discovery Networks starring hit-podcasters Josh and Chuck. Crowley has also directed several music videos, recently helming the critically-acclaimed "Close To You" for popular indie-rock artist Ben Sollee.

David Warren: David is an Atlanta based producer and location scout. He is a Texas lm school grad who did time in LA with Spelling and Hallmark. In the "ATL" he made his bones producing for Cartoon Network. Some highlights were the Adult Swim Launch Campaign, The Star Wars: Clone Wars Launch Campaign, and the doing time in a haunted prison with the Scooby Doo Villains. Currently, he is juggling commercials, features, and television series and developing three original reality series.  

Joy Kennelly Joy A. Kennelly is an Award-Winning Social Media Strategist, Producer, Personal Publicist and Founder of The Joy Writer. Using her expertise in social media on such platforms as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Hootsuite, etc., she has successfully integrated and incorporated over one hundred additional regional online social networking sites into publicity for numerous clients in entertainment, travel, technology, and fashion, as well as, in promoting and supporting numerous political candidates and social causes.

Joy began her publicity career at Sony Pictures Imageworks (SPI) marketing the visual effects team of THE GHOST AND THE DARKNESS starring Michael Douglas and Val Kilmer. At SPI, she founded, produced and began serving as the Executive Director of the Short Pictures International Film Festival (SPIFF) for four years. 

SPIFF began as an internal screening event for SPI employees and quickly grew into an internationally acclaimed film festival. MTV, HBO, and William Morris agents scouted the films she personally helped select and screen. Many films which premiered at SPIFF went on to appear at other prestigious film festivals around the world, including Cannes Film Festival. She also produced an online film festival called ME Fest for Penton Media which drew 100,000 hits in less than three weeks in 1999.

Joy has presented classes and produced seminars on social media at The Musicians Institute, American Cinematheque, and at conferences throughout the US. She currently resides in Atlanta, GA. 

(Since this is my blog I allowed for a little longer bio because some might not know my film background and I am qualified to discuss producing, especially from a publicity standpoint. The others credits stand alone. I think these guys on my panel are about to become huge if you must know...)

What I enjoyed about our panel discussion is we all came at this topic from different perspectives (branded entertainment, TV producing, film) and together we were able to provide a wide spectrum of information many appreciated hearing. 

Panel4 - good Everyone is so talented and humble here in GA I really enjoyed the entire experience. The gentleman speaking to us above is the Film Editor for Paste Magazine. That reminds me, I need to touch base with him!:)

(I will also have some exciting news to share very soon regarding one of the panelists too! Stay tuned.) 

PanelHere's all of us with the Festival Director, Harry Musselwhite, after the panel discussion. Casting Director, Shay Bentley-Griffin, who is a board member of the Rome International Film Festival and GPP, was also in attendance and it was a pleasure to meet her after reading about her involvement in creating GPP in the September issue of Atlanta Magazine. (Click the link for the full story.)

I also enjoyed the interaction that occurred with the audience during our talk. Even MH, my screenwriter friend, had a chance to contribute her insights on participating in a Burbank, CA screenwriting pitch fest. I was surprised to hear how many people who attended her event weren't even in the business, but wealthy people wanting to get involved in film.

Don't they know the risk?:) And where are they now?:)

Very interesting filmmakers in the audience too. One guy (whose email I have misplaced - please email me again if you're reading this!) began making films after his sister died two years ago. He just submitted his first documentary to Sundance. Good luck!

Another was a high school student who had won an award for his film and was heading off to college on a full scholarship. Many others were accomplished and had produced numerous films too.

Award-winning filmmaker, James Kicklighter, was in our audience too. Check out his credits on IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm2155567/bio Impressive filmmakers coming out of Georgia, I'm telling you!

What I enjoyed about the Rome Int'l Film Festival was there also appeared to be many first time filmmakers whose films were accepted which we watched later on in the day. They may not have been tightly edited or the best produced, but the fact their voice was being seen and heard was cool.

Festival brochuresThere were also a few very well made films which we especially enjoyed. Click here to download the program for the entire roster. Many zombie films (which, us being girls, skipped.:) and more which looked entertaining if their trailers on the official site are any indication.

Grow! was all about sustainable farming and was very interesting. A wee bit long, but it was a topic I enjoyed learning about. Had no idea it even existed, but apparently it's huge and my new friend from the panel, David Warren of Maglev Media, actually is pitching a very cool reality show concept on it.   Another documentary we enjoyed watching was Fanning the Fire. If you like bluegrass, then you will enjoy this one too! Very well-made. After exploring Rome's main street drag and enjoying dinner at one of their famous chicken wing places, we popped into the Zombie after-party for a few minutes before heading back home.

After-partyNow, if you're curious about what Rome, GA looks like, continue on because I'm going to post my pictorial essay from here on. Enjoy! 

TrioThis is the three of us CA2GA girls in the lobby of the renovated theatre. It had a distinct smell of smoke due to there being a fire there a few years back apparently. Beautiful old-style theatre. One of the attendants, an older African-American woman, kept saying, You girls are Charlie's Angels. You're Charlie's Angels.:)

Mary HelenHere's MH enjoying the shops. Such quaint stores and restuarants! She and I met at my writing group and since she's pursuing screenwriting I invited her to join us knowing she'd appreciate the opportunity. She drove too which was an added bonus since she knew where to go!:)

TheatreBuildings Buildings2 Buildings3 Brenda and anne Bulldogs Me Restuarant Window2 Window Skate Beer Me2 Anne Buildings4 Tattoo Buildings5 All in all, it was a wonderful time with new and old friends speaking the language of storytelling. 

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