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Building a Bridge from Beaufort to Hollywood : Beaufort International Film Festival 2018

story by Cindy Reid     photos by Susan DeLoach

Call Sheet

     Call sheet: A list, usually created by the first assistant director, of actors who will be required on set for each day’s shooting, what scenes are scheduled and which locations will be used.

     Calling all movie lovers, film buffs, festival goers and film festival fans. It’s that time of year again when our town is transformed by film makers and film lovers into the closest thing to Hollywood this side of the Beaufort River. Starting February 21 and continuing through February 25, this will be the twelfth annual Beaufort International Film Festival (BIFF) and organizers are expecting their largest crowds yet. Last year, over 12,000 people attended some part of the festival over the course of five days, and as the festival grows every year, so does the size of the crowd.

     The festival schedule has been adjusted to a week later in the month than it has been held in the past, in order to avoid scheduling conflicts with Beaufort’s growing reputation as a Valentine’s Day destination, and with the Savannah Book Festival. Going forward, the festival will continue to be held in the time period between Valentine’s Day and the Academy Awards, and next year there will even be an additional day added to the festival schedule.

     Ron Tucker, President, Beaufort Film Society and  Co-Film Festival Director, says “This year is more of an ‘out of the box’ year. Starting this year, we will be screening all the feature films at night. This will be the first year that we host the Screenwriter’s Workshop and also a feature film on Thursday night. We are doing this in order to reach people who are out working all day but would like to see the feature films.” (At the price of $6.00 a film, you can’t beat this deal!)

     This year, approximately forty three films will be screened starting Thursday February 22 at 9 AM at the University of South Carolina Center for the Arts theater at 805 Carteret Street, Beaufort. “Our Official Selections represent the very best in filmmaking brilliance. Every human emotion will be affected ranging from intense anxiety to a pull of the funny bone.” stated Rebecca Tucker, Co-Festival Director. “Films from France, Israel, Canada, the United Kingdom and Mexico are among the selections, giving audiences a very diverse group of films to see. “

     Ron says,  “Filmmakers from around the world will be coming to the beautiful city of Beaufort from Paris, LA, NYC, Portland, Arlington, Lynchburg, Honolulu, Charlotte, Haifa, Washington DC, Jacksonville, Huntsville, Atlanta, Greenville, Charleston, North Hills, Mount Pleasant, North Charleston, Calgary, Brevard, Simpsonville, Bluffton, Caldwell, Fort Mill, Hilton Head, London, Findlay, India, Spartanburg, Orange, Morelia Mexico, Columbia, Bologna, Abbeville, Mandeville and places we probably don’t know about yet.”

     “It’s growing” says Ron, “This is the most films we have ever had at the festival. We have question and answer time built in the schedule for every filmmaker coming. We are also including films not in competition, such as the ones from ‘Reel South,’ the South Carolina ETV program hosted by Darius Rucker.”

     Awards will be presented in the areas of Features, Documentaries (Feature and Short), Short Films, Student Films, Screenplays, Animation. Comedy and Audience Choice. Also winners will be named for Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Director. Ron says, “This is the first year that every director nominated for Best Director is scheduled to be here and attend the festival.” The awards winners will be announced at the  Red Carpet Reception and Awards Gala on Sunday, February 25th, also at the USCB Center for the Arts.

Key Light

     Key light: the main light on a subject. Usually placed at a 45 degree angle to the camera-subject axis. In high key lighting, the key light provides all or most of the light in the scene.

     For those new to the BIFF, a short introduction to its visionary founders Ron and Rebecca Tucker is in order. Rebecca, originally from Elizabethton, Tennessee, is the co-founder and Vice-President of the Beaufort Film Society since 2009 and Co-Director of the Beaufort International Film Festival since its inception in 2007.

     Formerly, Rebecca served as producer, director, writer and Marketing Director for Sandbar Productions, also doing business as Good-To-Go Video, from 2001 through 2013, specializing in documentary style productions featuring the United States Marine Corps.

     Rebecca served as the company liaison with the major network and cable providers like The History Channel, The Learning Channel, A&E, National Geographic and others. Rebecca was a key producer for over 600 Recruit Graduation Video Programs at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, SC. Rebecca is a member of the Carolina Film Alliance and the International Documentary Association.

     This year Rebecca has been heavily involved with promoting each film, and the festival, on social media platforms such as Face book and Instagram. “We are featuring one film a day” says Rebecca, “and I think the film makers appreciate how much we support them and work to keep their films in the spot light.”

     Ron is originally from Woodruff, South Carolina and served in the Marine Corps for twenty one years, retiring at the rank of Captain in 1992. He served three tours in the Beaufort area during that time and is a veteran of the Persian Gulf War. In 1993, Ron formed a video production company, Sandbar Productions, LLC dba Good-To-Go Video.

     From 1994–2013, the company produced a series of documentary productions about the Marine Corps and provided content for many of the leading film and television providers to include The History Channel, National Geographic, ABC, CBS, NBC, the BBC and many more. GTGV has been awarded over 25 national and international awards for production excellence. From 1999-2013 GTGV produced over 600 graduation ceremonies at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, SC and made DVDs available for the new Marines and their families.

     In 2004, Ron became the Chairman of the Beaufort Regional Film Commission as part of the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce. In this position, he served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Chamber Board of Directors. He was certified by the Association of Film Commissioners International in 2004. Ron is currently a member of the International Documentary Association and Carolina Film Alliance and is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and holds a Master’s Degree in Management from Webster University.

     Being named ‘STS Top 20 Event’ by the Southeast Tourism Society is only the latest of many honors BIFF has garnered over the years and it takes a whole cast of characters to make that happen. Just a few of the folks that contribute their talents every year are: Don “Music Man” Lehman, who is returning for the tenth straight year to BIFF, playing the best of jazz, blues and more at the opening and closing ceremonies. Susan DeLoach, Official Beaufort Film Society and BIFF Photographer and Debbi Covington, Official Caterer. Anneliza Itkor is the Awards Gala Emcee and has been a Finalist Juror for many years. Simone Griffith and Candace Brasseur, have also been Finalist Jurors for many years and their contributions are invaluable. These are just a very few names among the many that create the full BIFF experience for the film makers and film goers.

 Magic Hour 

     Magic hour: The short time just before sunset when light levels change dramatically and very quickly, enabling golden shots.

     This year, BIFF 2018 marks the inaugural presentation of the Pat Conroy Lifetime Achievement Award. The award is named for bestselling author and Academy Award nominated screenwriter Pat Conroy, who was a long time resident of Beaufort, SC before his death in March 2016. “It is with the blessing of the Conroy family that we have named our most prestigious honor in the name of Pat Conroy. Beaufort’s long film history began with Pat when his novel The Great Santini was made into a feature film and shot right here in Beaufort,” said Rebecca .

     The award is being presented to Military Technical Advisor, actor and author Dale Dye. Ron says, “If you look at his body of work in the film industry over the past three decades, read the stories from the directors he has worked with like Robert Zemeckis, Steven Spielberg and Oliver Stone, you’ll see why we’re so very honored to present the first Pat Conroy Lifetime Achievement Award to Hollywood legend Dale Dye.”

     Dale Dye was the Military Advisor on three productions shot in the Beaufort area, Forrest Gump, Rules of Engagement, and the television pilot Semper Fi. Ron says, “ He is one of the most recognized and respected players in the movie and television industry and his work has had a huge effect both behind and before the cameras, particularly in projects with a military theme. He has been credited with single-handedly changing the way Hollywood makes war movies.” Dale Dye’s work  has ranged from technical adviser to acting roles in war movies such as Platoon, Casualties of War, Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers. He also hosted the History Channel’s documentary series, The Conquerors.

     Dale is a native of Southeast Missouri. In 1962, he graduated as a cadet officer from Missouri Military Academy with hopes of attending the U.S. Naval Academy. When that failed and there was no money available for college, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and reported to boot camp in January 1964. He served in Vietnam in 1965 and 1967 through 1970 surviving 31 major combat operations.

     He emerged from Southeast Asia highly decorated including the Bronze Star with V for Valor and three Purple Hearts for wounds suffered in combat. He spent 13 years as an enlisted Marine, rising to the rank of Master Sergeant before he was chosen to attend Officer Candidate School. Appointed a Warrant Officer in 1976, he later converted his commission and was a Captain when he was sent to Beirut with the Multinational Peacekeeping Force in 1982-83. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland with a Major in English.

     As a lifelong movie buff with a special penchant for war movies, Dale decided to head for Hollywood when he retired from active duty in 1984. His idea was to see if he could help make war movies more realistic and improve screen portrayals of military men and women. He founded Warriors, Inc., a business with the stated agenda of shining some long-overdue positive light on the people who serve and sacrifice in American military uniform past, present and future.

Over the years, Dale built his business into the premier military consultancy to motion pictures and television employing his well- respected, rugged and realistic method of fully immersing actors in a boot camp-style training program before the cameras roll. To date his firm has worked on more than fifty movies and TV shows including several Academy Award and Emmy winning productions.

     Dale also founded Warriors Publishing Group which publishes a premium slate of military-themed books written by veteran authors. Dale Dye is a published novelist, screenwriter and director as well as a consummate character actor with critically-acclaimed appearances in many films and television productions.

     He is currently in pre-production with what will be his feature film directorial debut in the World War II themed film No Better Place to Die. (the preceding biographical information was provided by the Beaufort International Film Festival). The Pat Conroy Lifetime Achievement Award is sponsored by Leslie and Landon Thorne.

     Set Decorator Missy Ricker will receive the prestigious Behind the Scenes Award for her nearly twenty years of career achievements in the film and television industries. This award is presented to a South Carolina film or television professional, “Who very often works quietly off camera but whose efforts are vital to the success of team production efforts. Those many unheralded moments sometimes spanning an entire career are recognized with this award,” said Ron.

     Missy Ricker is an East Coast set decorator for the film and television industry, based in Charleston, SC, where she shares her home with husband and fellow crew member, Joey Ricker.

     Originally from Virginia, Missy began her career in theater and gradually moved into the film industry as a set dresser and ultimately as a set decorator. She earned her MFA in Photography and Filmmaking from VCU in Richmond, VA in 1994, and is currently an appointee to the Film Production Academic Advisory Committee at Trident Technical College, a Member of the Board of Directors for the Carolina Film Alliance™, and a proud member of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 491 Studio Mechanics Union.

     Her most recent credits include the pilot for the television series The Sinner starring Jessica Biel, Christopher Abbot and Bill Pullman, The Inspectors television series, seasons 2 and 3, on CBS Saturday mornings starring Jessica Lundy, Brett Green and Terry Serpico, and the latest feature film in the Halloween franchise starring Jamie Lee Curtis. (the preceding biographical information was provided by the Beaufort International Film Festival) The Behind the Scenes Award is sponsored by Edie Smith and Eugene Rugala.

Wrap

     Wrap: End of shooting. As in, “That’s a…”

     Ron says, “Word has gotten out among film makers because they are encouraging each other to submit their films. Our festival runs very well, our town is beautiful and I think our reputation for Southern Hospitality plays a role as well. In fact, this year we adjusted the schedule and planned the awards gala for Sunday evening so that our film makers can spend time seeing our area and perhaps envisioning future projects here.”

     Ron and Rebecca agree, “Every year the bridge from Beaufort to Hollywood gets shorter!”

     For more information about the 12th Annual Beaufort International Film Festival, visit www.beaufortfilmfestival.com. The festival is produced by the Beaufort Film Society.

     The festival dates are February 21-25, 2018 with the Red Carpet Reception and Awards Gala taking place on Sunday, February 25th at the University of South Carolina, Beaufort, Center for the Arts.

     The Beaufort Film Society is a nonprofit, 501 (c) 3, member-supported organization, dedicated to providing the highest levels of entertainment and education to the public from all areas of the film industry.

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