Thursday, April 7, 2011

The George-Anne

Short story, ‘Followed,’ adapted into feature film
Staff reporter

Dr. William McIntosh will soon witness his short story, “Followed,” take on a cryptic life of its own The Georgia Southern University psychology professor’s tale has been adapted for screen by GSU alumni James Kicklighter. The 20 minute-long film will premiere at the National Film Festival for Talented Youth in Seattle on April 30. “It’s the story of a man who finds himself followed everywhere by the corpse of a child and how he comes to grips with how his life contributed to her death,” said McIntosh. Despite both having roots in Statesboro, the writer and filmmaker were not aware of one another’s existence until Kicklighter had been slotted to direct the film. “The script and story came to me from Maureen Cooke, a writer and producer based in New Mexico. I did not know Dr. McIntosh nor did I have any classes with him. It was by pure chance that Maureen asked me one day where I was attending college, and we realized that we were both at Georgia Southern,” said Kicklighter. “That we’re both affiliated with Georgia Southern is just a nice coincidence,” said McIntosh. According to Kicklighter, those ties to the South proved helpful when directing the film. “‘Followed’ was shot in December around Macon, Ga., at Mercer University, Wesleyan University, Washington Park and in assorted locations in the historic downtown district,” said Kicklighter. In addition to providing a historically Gothic setting, Kicklighter was also able to connect with McIntosh during the movie making process. “Any questions I had concerning the story, he was able to answer. Will was an invaluable resource, and it’s great to have such access to

Photos courtesy of James Kicklighter Top Left: Extras act as corpses in a scene from “Followed.” Top Right: Actress Abigail de los Reyes is the corpse of the girl. Bottom Right: Director of Photography Jason Winn with Director/Producer James Kicklighter review some footage. Bottom Left: Production Assistant Steve Nyberg with First Assistant Director Anthony Ennis and Director/Producer James Kicklighter study the area for their next shot.

a source writer,” he said. Several GSU students were able to receive first-hand experience in filmmaking, including Ellen Johnston, a senior digital filmmaking major. “James knows Professor Bastarache. She asked me and some of my friends if we were interested and most of us were able to work

on the film over winter break,” said Johnston. During the process, Johnston realized how much effort is involved in cinema. “I learned how much time, money and preparation it takes to make good film,” she said. “One of the rewarding experiences I had was meeting a bunch of
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awesome people that I hope to work with again in the future.” As for Kicklighter, he’s using those connections made to do just that. “We are working to secure Georgia-based investors to produce films here in the state,” he said. “We have been working now for six years, so it’s exciting to

use some of our creative capital to produce the kinds of entertaining, socially-conscious stories we want to tell.” “Followed,” after previewing last Tuesday on campus, will open in a nationwide release during the summer and fall 2011. Dates will be posted on Kicklighter’s website, www.jameskicklighter.com.

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