Movie set for festival debut

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A film largely shot in Butler County is drawing a lot of interest far beyond south Alabama.

&#8220Honeydripper,” filmed in the fall of 2006 by famed indie writer-director John Sayles, will be featured at two major festivals this September, says Alabama Film Office location coordinator Tommy Fell.

&#8220I've been e-mailing back and forth with (‘Honeydripper' producer) Maggie Renzi, and it looks like it's a go for the film to be shown in both New York City and at the Toronto International Film Festival in September,” Fell said.

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The movie is slated for limited release in NYC and Los Angeles on Dec. 28, just in time for Oscar consideration.

The production will also be entering the college classroom.

Clark Atlanta University is basing a film marketing and distribution course on the Sayles production. The school and other participating colleges will help develop and implement a grassroots marketing campaign with their professors and the film's distribution team.

Not only are Renzi and Sayles looking at innovative ways to market the film, Fell said, they are also actively promoting the film's soundtrack, which is filled with blues, early rock n' roll and gospel music, including performances by local choir members.

According to Sayles who chose skilled musicians and vocalists for the film, there is no lip-synching or pretend playing in ‘Honeydripper': it's all the real thing.

&#8220Currently, the Honeydrippers Band is touring and performing at a number of places and they are getting a lot of attention, which means even more publicity for the movie,” Fell said.

&#8220Maggie and John are really excited about this film and the fact it can be marketed a little differently than in the past. Everything is coming together.”

Fell said the 50s-era film, which stars Danny Glover and Charles S. Dutton, is still tentatively slated to premiere in Greenville and Montgomery in February 2007 (in conjunction with Black History Month).

Greenville Mayor Dexter McLendon said he is &#8220very excited” about the upcoming film, which will feature county residents in both speaking and non-speaking scenes shot in Greenville, Georgiana, Midway and other Butler County locales.

&#8220I've had so many people asking me when this is coming out. It's going to be so much fun to see so many of our local people and places we know on screen. The fact we now have a first-class theater to show it in is also great,” McLendon said.

&#8220I can't wait for it to happen.”