The Springer Opera House is going Hollywood. Or maybe “Y’allywood” is more like it.
The 147 year-old State Theatre of Georgia has launched a film division aimed at cultivating an indigenous movie industry in Columbus and the Chattahoochee Valley.
At a Wednesday news conference, producing artistic director Paul Pierce announced the establishment of the Springer Film Institute, a new program that will train citizens in all phases of movie-making while working to plant the seeds of a robust film culture in Columbus.
“Georgia’s film industry is now a $9.5 billion business,” Pierce reported. “Columbus is in a great position to seize some of that business and the Springer is here to help. It all starts with story-telling – something that Southerners do well.”
Pierce introduced a host of local filmmakers, screenwriters, film festival founders and other organizations working to build up a robust film industry in the Chattahoochee Valley.
“Besides these local industry professionals, we also have countless small-scale filmmakers working in our area right now and many more who are eager to tell their stories in film and break into the industry,” Pierce said. “The Springer Film Institute wants to support their efforts and we are devoted to bringing fresh resources to the table.”
“This is not intended to compete with or undermine other local efforts in film,” Pierce noted. “Far from it. We are cheerleaders for all the other enterprises and we will studiously avoid duplication of services. The Springer Film Institute is a passionate advocate for grassroots story-telling through film and that’s going to be out niche. SFI will be an incubator for budding filmmakers and as a feeder for other film production and training programs in the area.”
Pierce introduced two new employees who will lead the Springer Film Institute – director Sara Lynn Herman and producer Jef Holbrook. Herman and Holbrook are film and tv veterans who will teach, produce student films and help the community build up a cadre of filmmakers, screenwriters and cinematographers.
Beginning in March, Herman and Holbrook will teach a series of six-week and four-week workshops. Courses include indy filmmaking, screenwriting, film editing, cinematography, acting for the camera and voiceover acting. The entire program can be viewed at springerfilm.org
“These workshops will allow students to get their hands on cinematic equipment, learn professional filmmaking techniques and discover the world of on-camera acting and on-set film production.” Holbrook said.
“Of course, our primary goal is to teach the fundamentals of filmmaking,” Herman explained. “But everyone wants their films to been seen by the masses so we will also be teaching the secret sauce of commercially-viable screenplays and films.”
Pierce is confident that much bigger film news is in store for Columbus in the near future. “There is a sense of “now” in the air. You can just feel it. It’s time for Columbus to tell its stories to the world.”