FEBRUARY/MARCH 2011 MACON MAGAZINE I 31
story starring grande dame Edith Ivey, who appeared in “TeCurious Case o Benjamin Button.” (During lming, Ivey’saecting monologues about mortality and loneliness le eventhe well-rehearsed crew in tears.)“Tere’s nothing wrong with making a popcorn fick or pureentertainment,” Kicklighter said, “but lm is such a powerulmedium that I think there’s a responsibility there to go a stepurther and interact with the audience, to ask questions thatmake viewers evaluatetheir own lives and whatis really important. Idon’t have the answers,but I like to use strongstorytelling to posequestions, with the hopethat viewers will seek out their own answers. Ireceived an e-mail roma lady in Pennsylvaniatelling me that she hadjust watched ‘Te CarWash’ and or the rst time elt she wasn’t alone. Just that onemessage made that entire project worthwhile.”Kicklighter, a 22-year-old rom Bellville, is inevitably taggedas a prodigy, wunderkind and lovable “old soul,” with eightmovies to his credit, more in the works and a shel o awardsrom indie lm estivals and arts organizations around theworld. He established JamesWorks Entertainment at 16 withthe mission “to create socially conscious lms that engageour audiences through new media to action in their personallives, communities and around the globe.” So, in a inseltownyearbook, he might be voted “least likely to appear in the creditso a Michael Bay schlockbuster.” Kicklighter’s visions o “painand beauty” do not involve the shoot-’em-up car chases, breast-implant buets and other cheap eects that dene big-budgetAmerican cinema. Granted, his most recent lm, “Followed,”which was shot in Macon, eatures zombies, but it may be hismost ambitious “message movie” to date, redening horror interms o everyday guilt. Tese undead do not eat brains; they godeeper, tugging baleully at your conscience, haunting you orlapses in social responsibility, or sins o omission.“Te zombies represent all o the invisible people in our liveswe should care about – the homeless person under the bridge,kids in a sweatshop – but don’t,” he said. “At best, we throwmoney at the problem, but we don’t stop to touch these people,to eel them, to bring them back into the community. One o the zombies in ‘Followed’ is wearing shoes made o plastic waterbottles because we’d seen a child in Ethiopia wearing those,scrounged rom the trash. So we weren’t trying to be campy orcheesy; we’re using zombies to illustrate real social divisions.”Kicklighter does not have stars in his eyes, but he clearly has seen
Macon Film Festival
• Feb. 17 - 20• Downtown at various venues• www.maconlmfestival.comThree of James Kicklighter’sworks will be featured.
Read more about the festival.
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(1) James Kicklighter instructs child actor Joshua Tweedy and zombie extras inthe opening scene o the short flm "Followed,” which was shot here in Macon inDecember. This scene took place in Washington Park. (2) Kicklighter gives directionto lead actor Erryn Arkin and actress Sylvia Boykin in a scene shot at the So ChiGallery. (3) Kickligher reviews with director o photography Jason Winn on a sceneshot at Mercer University. (4) From let, Kicklighter, Kasey Ray-Stokes, child actressAbigail de los Reyes, Abigail's dad Bruce Reyes-Chow, Mark Ezra Stokes and RachelWilliams view on a monitor a scene previously shot at the Terminal Station.