Size Matters: Events & Venues

wedding-reception-hardwick-weddingWhen it comes to event planning, size matters when it comes to the venue. Successful events are ones that are ‘full’ of people. Before booking a venue, you need to have a really good idea about the number of attendees.

If you are inviting 100 people, don’t book a venue that has a capacity for 500. Nobody wants to stay at that party … you know, the one that nobody came to.

Have that same party of 100 people at a smaller venue, where the space if full of people, and you’ve thrown the “it” party because it’s packed. It’s psychological I know, but trust me, it’s true. Going too BIG will make your guests want to go HOME.

maga2016_sochiFor instance, you go to a restaurant that has 50 tables and only 10 tables are occupied. You think that there has to be something wrong with the food or the service. A “Nobody Is Here” feeling influences the experience you have. If you poll diners at a taqueria with 10 tables, serves $2 tacos and has a line of people out the door waiting to get in, they will rate the food as “excellent.” In their mind, this is the best food in town because everyone wants to be here.

People want to be ‘where it’s at’ – Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to event venues. Intimate settings are like chicken soup for social gatherings.


terrell-sandefur-at-sochi-galleryAbout the Author

Terrell Sandefur is the owner/event planner at The SoChi Gallery in Macon, Georgia.

SoChi Gallery is an event venue that hosts weddings, receptions, holiday parties, corporate events, birthday parties, cocktail parties and pop-up shops.

Blane McDonough & the Sundance Kid

Terrell Sandefur. Andrew McCarthy. Macon Film Festival 2016Eleven is in the can and aside from the Hotter than Hell temperatures,  2016 Macon Film Festival was a success. Kicking off with a Sundance Institute Short Film Master Class presented by the Knight Foundation and a 30th anniversary screening of “Pretty in Pink” with special guest Andrew McCarthy.


Sundance Institute Short Film Master Class at Macon Film Festival

© Sundance Institute | Photo by Maryann Bates

The festival opened with a max capacity crowd for the Short Film Master Class presented by the Sundance Institute at Theatre Macon. This educational workshop featured real world advice from Sundance Short Film Programmer, Mike Plante, and acclaimed film director, James Ponsoldt. Followed by a Sundance sponsored filmmaker mixer at the festival’s VIP Lounge.

© Sundance Institute | Photo by Maryann Bates

© Sundance Institute | Photo by Maryann Bates

Pretty In PInk posterMore than any other, the ’80s was the decade that defined me. It was during this time period that I was in high school and college and it was also the decade that the Brat Pack ruled silver screen and pop culture. This was “my generation.” I am still an 80s alternative at heart. Thanks to SiriusXM’s 1st Wave, it’s still 1985 to me … but when you look at the offerings of today’s artists they are not nearly as cool as The Smiths, The Cure & The Psychedelic Furs. Arguably, the best movie soundtrack of all time is “Pretty In Pink.” With 2016 being the 30th anniversary of the film, I felt compelled to bring it to Macon Film Festival. Since the early days of the film festival, long before we could get any special guests, I had a personal goal of bringing a Brat Packer to the festival. I reached out to Andrew McCarthy two days after the 2015 festival ended and invited him to be our special guest for 2016. He agreed to come. So for me, personally, this was a big deal. I picked him up at the Atlanta airport and on the ride back from the Atlanta airport I felt like we bonded, I mean, this guy could be my best friend.

We arrived in Macon and immediately went to the media room for interviews followed by a press conference and then a VIP Meet & Greet. The media and VIPs were predominately female and it was obvious that Andrew was their 80’s crush. It was cute.

Terrell Sandefur. Andrew McCarthy. Macon Film Festival press conference

Press Conference with Andrew McCarthy

Prior to the PRETTY IN PINK screening, I did a Q&A with Andrew in front of a sold out crowd. He was fully engaged, his comments were thoughtful and funny. Personally, I think it was an exceptional Q&A, and I’d dare to say it was one of the best we’ve ever had at the Macon Film Festival. Ultimately, the most important question was answered:

“Do you still have the linen jacket (that Blane wore in Pretty in Pink)?” He responded, “Yes, it’s hanging in my closet.”

Andrew McCarthy, Terrell Sandefur, Macon Film Festival Q&A

Over the last eleven festivals, I’ve had some pretty amazing Q&As with our guests, but I think this was the best one I’ve ever done. Say what you want,  I don’t care, I did a Q&A with the star of my favorite movie of all time, Less Than Zero. It was a big deal. Mr. McCarthy is currently directing the Netflix series Orange Is The New Black and ABC’s The Black List.



Billion Dollar Baby: Georgia Film Industry panel at Tubman Museum. Macon Film Festival 2016

Billion Dollar Baby: Georgia Film Industry panel at Tubman Museum

Aside from the Sundance Master Class, three other filmmaking workshops were offered throughout the weekend to educate filmmakers & festival attendees. I arranged one of the workshops, presented by the Macon Film Commission, entitled “Billion Dollar Baby: Georgia Film Industry,” to educated festival goers on the current state of filmmaking in Georgia and how to get involved.

Billion Dollar Baby panelists

Billion Dollar Baby panelists

Our esteemed panel of Georgia film power players included: Alison Fibben (GA Film Office), Clark Cofer (Georgia Production Partnership), Elliott Dunwody (Bright Blue Sky Productions and Macon Film Commissioner), Jeffrey Stepakoff (Georgia Film Academy), Jeremiah Bennett (Glass Door Studios; Milledgeville Film Festival), LaRonda Sutton (Film City,LLC), and Shelbia Jackson (Dekalb County Entertainment Office).


After parties are always a staple of our festival. Party planner, Priscilla Esser, always pulls out the stops and delivers a great time in spite of the horrific heat this year. Our famous signature cocktail, the MAGATINI,  is a staple.

After Parties: Macon Film Festival 2016. Terrell Sandefur, Priscilla Esser, Michael Dunaway, Dewayne Bontrager, Kathleen Morgan, Danny Effin Davis

After Parties: Thursday, Friday, Saturday

I have to give a big shout out to my dear friend, Kathleen Morgan, who made the trip from Los Angeles to support me and the festival this year. It means a lot.

Kathleen Morgan, Terrell Sandefur & Cameron King Thompson at Macon Film Festival media room. #maconfilmfestival

with Kathleen Morgan + Cameron King Thompson at festival media room

The Jury and Audience Award winners have been released, with no film taking more than one prize. “Jasmine” won the Narrative Feature jury award, while Linda J. Brown’s “You See Me” took home the Documentary jury prize. Georgia-lensed documentary “Hotel Clermont” was the audience’s choice in the nonfiction lineup. “Jerico” won the Karen Black Audience Choice Award for Narrative Feature.

Check out the full list of winners after the jump.

Best Student Short Film

  • “Bird Dog” directed by Katrina Whalen

Best LGBT Film

  • “How to Be Alone” directed by Erez Eisenstein

Best Documentary

  • “You See Me” directed by Linda J. Brown

Best Narrative Short

  • “Cowboys” directed by Bernabe Rico

Best Narrative Feature

Best Music Documentary
  • “Cab Elvis” directed by Andrew Franks
Best Southern Film
  • “Farmer/Veteran” directed by Alix Blair

Melvyn Douglas Best in Show Award

  • “Autumn Fall” directed by Jan Fardoen
Audience Choice Award for Documentary
Audience Choice Award for Narrative Short
  • “Almost Home” directed by BJ Golnick
Karen Black Audience Choice Award for Narrative Feature
  • “Jerico” directed by Seckeita Lewis
Georgia Film Legend Award
  • JL & Cindy Parker
ICON Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Andrew McCarthy


The festival is over and I’m cooling off in the pool with Ned & Priscilla Esser. #ItsHotterHere for sure!

Pool: Ned Esser, Priscilla Esser, Terrell Sandefur

Casting Call: Macon, Georgia

Macon_Mayhem_logoCASTING CALL:
Reality TV casting company, Crybaby Media, is currently casting a new show about women who like to date the Macon Mayhem hockey players.
Do you get giddy when the Mayhem are in town? If so, we would like to hear from you.
Ideally looking for attractive, outspoken women between 21-40 who have dated Mayhem players or want to date Mayhem players. If this is you, please email with the subject heading: MACON MAYHEM
Please include some photos and tell us why you’re right for this.

The Movie Lover’s Summer Vacation

2016_MFF_POSTERJuly in Macon, Georgia is gonna be Hotter Than Hell.
BE COOL: go to the 2016 Macon Film Festival.  Four days of movies, celebrity guests, special screenings, filmmaking workshops and legendary after parties throughout the festival weekend, July 21-24. The AC will be pumping in all the venues. So chill out and enjoy the show.

Named one of the Top 25 Coolest Film Festivals by Moviemaker Magazine, Macon Film Festival is known as the “Friendliest Film Festival” by filmmakers far and wide. The festival screens independent films that you can’t see in theatres, including narrative shorts, narrative feature, documentary, Southern documentary, music documentary, LGBT & student shorts.

61 films in competition, 5 spotlight films, 4 special screenings, 3 after parties, and 4 free workshops including a master class in short films will be held at 10 venues located within 3 walkable blocks in downtown Macon at this year’s festival.

Sundance MASTER CLASSThe 2016 festival opens with a FREE Short Film Master Class presented by the Sundance Institute on Thursday, July 21.  This educational workshop features real world advice from Sundance Short Film Programmer, Mike Plante, and acclaimed film director, James Ponsoldt. The discussion will guide attendees on how to get the most out of resources to make a successful short film within development and production, and how to navigate the film festival world after its finished. This is an AMAZING opportunity for filmmakers. It’s free, but registration is required. Space is limited so register today. Click HERE to register.

Location: Theatre Macon, 483 Cherry Street, Macon, Georgia 31201

Event Times:

11:30am – Check in

12pm – Sundance Film Festival Short Program Overview

1:45pm – Short Film Screening

2:30pm – Discussion with filmmaker, James Ponsoldt

4pm – Reception

Three other filmmaking workshops throughout the weekend are free and open to the public. Filmmaking in Georgia is now a $6.1 billion industry. Attend the workshops and learn how you can get involved. I will be moderating one of the workshops “Billion Dollar Baby: Georgia Film Industry” sponsored by the Macon Film Commission. This panel will focus on the current Georgia Film Industry and how you can get involved. The discussion will include film education, the current film & TV tax incentive, how communities can benefit from the film industry, in-demand industry jobs and the importance of film festivals.
Panelists are: Alison Fibben – Project Manager at Georgia Film Office, Clark Cofer – Co-President of Georgia Production Partnership, Elliott Dunwody – Owner of Bright Blue Sky Productions & Macon Film Commissioner, Jeffrey Stepakoff – Executive Director of Georgia Film Academy, Jeremiah Bennett – Film & TV Producer at Glass Door Studios & President of Milledgeville Film Festival, LaRonda Sutton – Owner/Principal at Film City; Former Director of the Mayor’s Office of Entertainment for the City of Atlanta, and Shelbia Jackson – Project Coordinator & Georgia Film Liaison for Dekalb County. This panel is Friday, July 22. 1pm at The Tubman Museum, 310 Cherry Street, Macon Georgia 31201.

Pretty In Pink Screen at MaconFilmFestivalThe Opening Night special screening on Thursday, July 21, is the 80s Brat Pack classic PRETTY IN PINK with special guest Andrew McCarthy. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the film which written and produced by the high priest of ’80s teen movies, the late John Hughes. A Q&A with Mr. McCarthy, who is currently directing the Netflix series “Orange Is The New Black” as well as being a celebrated travel writer, will begin at 6:00pm precedes the screening.

THE END OF THE TOUR at MaconFilmFestivalFriday, July 22, is THE END OF THE TOUR, directed by James Ponsoldt, is the story of the five-day interview between Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg) and acclaimed novelist David Foster Wallace (Jason Segel). Before the screening, Mr. Ponsoldt will be conducting the Sundance Master Class.

My Blind Brother at MaconFilmFestivalSaturday, July 23, is MY BLIND BROTHER, with special guest Charlie Hewson, is a relationship comedy, written and directed by Sophie Goodhart, starring Adam Scott, Nick Kroll & Jenny Slate. Mr. Hewson will conduct a Q&A following the screening.


Morris from America at MaconFilmFestivalSunday, July 24, is MORRIS FROM AMERICA, written and directed by Chad Hartigan, is a delightfully original take on growing up, following your dreams, and finding your voice. Starring Markees Christmas and Craig Robinson, the film won two prizes at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

AfterPartyVenues.2016.TravisJean.TheSoChiGallery.419CherryStreetThis year’s hip & historic party venues are Travis Jean, The SoChi Gallery and 419 Cherry Street. Entrance requires an All-Access Pass or the Opening Night Pass.

Festival HQ, located at 502 Cherry Street,  will be open July 18-25. Come by and say hey, ask questions or buy some merch.

Macon Film Festival 2016 Spotlight Films

MFF-logo-225x225Macon, GA — The Spotlight Films for the 2016 Macon Film Festival (July 21–24) have been announced.

“This year’s spotlight feature films are sure to entertain and inspire our festival audience. This collective represents examples of outstanding independent films that have been showcased at film festivals throughout the year. Our programming committee is excited to provide Macon a sneak peek of these films before they are released on a national scale,” said Tabitha Lynne Walker, 2016 Festival Programmer.


The ArbalestNarrative Feature Spotlight: THE ARBALEST

Director: Adam Pinney

Synopsis: When an unexpected tragedy befalls an amateur game inventor, his wife and a rival make a pact to share in the spoils of his invention. But when that invention becomes an international sensation, the pair charts different courses in their own lives, until desire brings them together again for one final game. Adam Pinney’s THE ARBALEST is a wildly inventive comedy that takes the details and design of the 1960’s and 70’s to new heights, turning a tale of unrequited love into an alternate reality where a beloved toy brings wild success and never-ending suffering.

ContemporaryColorMusic Spotlight: CONTEMPORARY COLOR

Director: Bill & Turner Ross

Synopsis: Ten of the country’s elite color guard teams—the flag-flipping, sequin-studded crème de la crème of the “sport of the arts”—sync steps with musical luminaries for a bacchanalia of beats, sabre-spinning, and glitter cannons. Live performances by David Byrne, Nelly Furtado, How to Dress Well, Devonté Hynes, Money Mark + Ad-Rock, Zola Jesus, Lucius, Nico Muhly + Ira Glass, St. Vincent, and tUnE-yArDs!

Harry BensonProgrammer’s Choice Spotlight: HARRY BENSON: SHOOT FIRST

Director: Matthew Miele and Justin Bare

Synopsis: The film charts the illustrious career of the renowned photographer who initially rose to fame alongside The Beatles, having been assigned to cover their inaugural trip to the United States in 1964. With unprecedented “behind the scenes” access, Benson captured some of the most vibrant and intimate portraits ever taken of the most popular band in history. His extensive portfolio includes iconic images of Winston Churchill, Bobby Fischer, Muhammad Ali, Greta Garbo, Michael Jackson, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Robert F. Kennedy assassination, and his work has appeared in publications including Life, Vanity Fair and The New Yorker. Now 86, workaholic Benson has no intention of stopping.

The SeerSouthern Spotlight: THE SEER

Director: Laura Dunn

Synopsis: Henry County, Kentucky, like many rural landscapes across America, has become a place of quiet ideological struggle. In the span of a generation, virtues of simplicity, land stewardship, local economies and rootedness to place have been supplanted by a capital-intensive model of industrial agriculture characterized by machine labor, chemical fertilizers, soil erosion and debt – all of which have frayed the fabric of communities. Writing from a long wooden desk beneath a forty-paned window, Wendell Berry has watched this struggle unfold, becoming one the most passionate and eloquent voices in defense of agrarian life.

Macon Film Festival is July 21 – 24. Passes are now available on the festival’s website or at this Ticket Derby link:

Media: If you are interested in covering the film festival please send an email to



About the Macon Film Festival

Founded in 2005, Macon Film Festival is an annual event held in the heart of historic downtown Macon. Surrounded by a rich musical and southern culture, the organization celebrates independent films while promoting filmmaking for entertainment, inspiration, education, and economic development. The 11th annual Macon Film Festival will take place July 21-24, 2016. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for up to the minute updates, and visit our website

Macon Film Festival announces 2016 Official Selections


The official selections for the 2016 Macon Film Festival competition have been announced.

The complete listing of official selections will compete in the following categories: Southern Documentary, Music Category, Documentary, LGBT, Narrative Shorts, Narrative Feature and Student Shorts. The selections are both domestic and international, including selections from Afghanistan, Argentina, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, Norway, Serbia, Singapore, Spain, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and the USA. All competition films will screen twice during the festival.


EAT WHITE DIRT / USA (Director: Adam Forrester) – Eat White Dirt weaves the story of Tammy Wright, a 37 year old addicted to eating kaolin, with that of scientists, local historians, a physician, an artist, and other practitioners of earth-eating. Each is connected by their own unique kinship with kaolin, or ‘white dirt.’ The film focuses on this practice within the American South while also referencing its global perspective.

FARMER/VETERAN / USA (Director: Alix Blair) – After three combat tours in Iraq, Alex Sutton attempts a fresh start hatching chickens and raising goats on 43 acres in rural North Carolina. Alex embraces life on the farm with his new love Jessica, but cycles between a state of heightened alert and “feeling zombified” from a cocktail of prescriptions meant to stabilize his injured mind.

HOTEL CLERMONT / USA (Director: Heather Hudson) – This film honors the Clermont: a place all Atlantans know of, but few know. The hotel intrigues all walks of life. Part of the fascination is due to its basement tenant: Atlanta’s oldest strip club. The residents who rented rooms in the hotel upstairs occupied even further-outlying corners of Atlanta society. It is their stories we aim to tell.

YAZOO REVISITED: INTEGRATION AND SEGREGATION IN A DEEP SOUTHERN TOWN / USA (Director: Rae Morris) – History of race relations and the 1970 integration of the public schools in Yazoo City, Mississippi, the hometown of the filmmaker’s father, the late writer, Willie Morris.


BRANCHES/ USA (Director: James Kicklighter) – When a young girl answers the siren song of a boy, she loses and finds herself in the forest.

CAB ELVIS / USA (Director: Andrew Franks) – Dave Groh, a cab driver who dresses like Elvis, finds himself not only in a battle with the city of Seattle but also the dark side of Elvis.

HAMMEL ON TRIAL ‘AN ARTIST IN AMERICA’ / USA (Director: Vic Campos) – Documentary short on legendary NYC musician/artist/punk poet/anti-folk hero Hamell on Trial who has defied any easy categorization in a career that is now entering its 30th year. Along with live performances, it’s time to see and hear what everyone has been talking about.

NATHAN EAST: FOR THE RECORD / USA (Director: Chris Gero) – a film that takes viewers behind-the-scenes as one of the most influential bass players in modern music recorded his debut solo album. The film chronicles Nathan’s career from when he hit the road at age 16 with Barry White, his session and touring work across musical genres, and membership in the legendary jazz quartet Fourplay.

SWEET DILLARD / USA (Director: Jim Virga) – From the first day of class to a national competition, Sweet Dillard provides an inside look at one of the nation’s best public high school jazz bands.


THE BIRTH OF AN ARTIST / Ukraine (Director: Natasha Babenko) – Handicapped 17 year old Dasha as she lives her ordinary day: waking up, taking bath, dressing up, eating, playing with her little brother and doing what she does the best – painting with her toes. Dasha was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth. Dasha’s day is full of struggle but she manages to emerge herself into a world of hope.

KANDAHAR JOURNALS / Afghanistan/Canada (Director: Louie Palu) – Arriving in Kandahar, Afghanistan as the war’s violence spirals out of control, photojournalist Louie Palu is unaware that he will spend the next five years covering the conflict. Kandahar Journals is the story of Palu who reflects on the events behind his psychological transformation after covering frontline combat from 2006 to 2010.

LEGS: A BIG ISSUE IN A SMALL TOWN / USA (Director: Beatrice Alda & Jennifer Brooke) – When a very large and controversial piece of art gets publicly displayed in a small town, opinions start flying and feisty people take legal action. Experienced through the eyes and voices of one small town’s colorful residents, both newcomers and established folk reveal struggles to fit in, to have a voice, to be respected, to be heard.

MIND/GAME: THE UNQUIET JOURNEY OF CHAMIQUE HOLDSCLAW / USA (Director: Rick Goldsmith) – Basketball super-star Chamique Holdsclaw’s roller-coaster attempts at recovery from near-suicide reveal an uphill battle against the stigma of mental illness.

THE REBOUND / USA (Director: Shaina Allen) – For the Heat Wheels, Miami is a city of opportunity, second chances, and a call to win – against all odds. The Rebound is an account of Heat Wheels’ quest during the year following defeat at the national championships. A story of unwavering resolve and a testament to our ability to overcome life’s toughest challenges.

THE SAMARITAN / USA (Director: Kevin McAfee) – Desperate to escape a communist country, a man defects and leaves everything behind him to seek freedom. Once free, he now needs help to free his family but does not know how to get it. Soon he will meet the young lawyer Eddie Roush who will be willing to take a chance to help this man and free his family.

YOU SEE ME / USA (Director: Linda J. Brown) – Filmmaker Linda Brown’s father embodied 1960s masculinity. But when a devastating stroke leaves him vulnerable and dependent, Linda decides to confront the silence surrounding his troubled and violent past. The result is an engrossing journey about the danger of carrying unresolved grief to our graves.


BULLIED TO DEATH / Italy (Director: Giovanni Coda) – BULLIED TO DEATH depicts a 24 hour performance against homophobia through the real stories of teenagers worldwide that experience severe bullying episodes at school, from their own families and on the web, as a result of their coming out about their sexuality.

DAWN / United Kingdom (Director: Jake Graf) – As dawn creeps across London, two outcasts meet, more afraid of themselves than each other. As the veil of night is lifted, the pair is forced to look at themselves and face the reality that life is sometimes what you make it, and that in the light of day, it takes more than the eyes to see inside a soul.

EASY: A THREE-MINUTE LOVE STORY / USA (Director: Robert Guthrie) – Two high school guys are in love. One’s Christian, one’s Jewish. A father disapproves, the other’s parents are thrilled. Who cares that it’s not perfect? They got this.

HOW TO BE ALONE / Israel (Director: Erez Eisenstein) – “Listen to me: there is life without love. Loneliness is the soul’s forgotten desire. You don’t need anyone. Don’t search, don’t hope, don’t dream; and only then, perhaps, you too will learn how to be alone.

RSVP / USA (Director: Shannon Beeby) – A gay widower attempts to fulfill his husband’s final request: To spread his ashes on his hometown beach, in the company of the family that disowned him.

UNCONDITIONAL / USA (Director: Kent Igleheart) – The single largest group of homeless youth is LGBT. Kicked out or run away because of who they are. This is the story of one.


A KING’S BETRAYAL / USA (Director: David A Bornstein) – The final 24 hours in the life of a Piñata, as told from the Piñata’s perspective.

ACROSS THE TRACKS / USA (Director: Michael Cooke) – Two African American sisters grow up in racially charged 1960s Georgia. But one is born with fair skin and when schools integrate in their small town, she decides to change her destiny – by passing for white.

ALMOST HOME / USA (Director: BJ Golnick) – After years of battle on the front lines of Afghanistan, a Marine returns home to mend a broken relationship with his dying father. He carries with him the haunting memories of war and a promise he kept to a fallen brother in arms. If he can make things right with his father, maybe he can find peace within himself.

THE BARRY & RO SHOW / USA (Director: Jordan Liebowitz) – Married TV stars Barry and Ro try to shoot a promo for their 1970’s variety show.

BEAT AROUND THE BUSH / Canada (Director: Brianne Nord-Stewart) – A short adventure comedy that follows UNA, a 75 year old widow recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, who struggles to stay optimistic as she tries her hand at achieving her very first orgasm ever. Fortunately, her two best friends, GOLDIE and BEATRICE, are there to cheer her on.

BOTTOMLESS / USA (Director: Veronquie Vanblare) – A Belgian woman seeks citizenship in the United States, and finds that her experiences are bottomless.

BUMBLEBEES / USA (Director: Jenna Kanell) – Despite being told as a child he would never speak or walk, Vance accomplished what doctors thought was impossible. But now he has a new challenge: dating.

COUGAR / USA (Director: Jane Merrow) – A young man meets an older woman in the bar with interesting results.

COWBOYS / Spain (Director: Bernabe Rico) – Martin is a finished actor, both professionally and personally. He’s divorced, has no friends and a son he hasn’t talked to for more than a year. But one fine day he’ll get a working offer his agent will not let him pass: to be companion of a 5-year-old boy in a costume contest at the Amusement Park.

DUO / USA (Director: Karl E. Landler) – When Melanie begrudgingly agrees to give Marcel, a French mime who doesn’t speak English, a ride to his audition in Las Vegas, they both have to overcome their differences to prevent this trip from being a disaster.

EL CHEVERE / USA (Director: Tony Reames) – Down south they only whisper his name. A stranger comes to town to stop a mythical creature known only as “El Chévere”.

HEART LAND / USA (Director: Sheri Mann Stewart) – An estranged mother and daughter who have lost touch with their roots rediscover the meaning of family and love.

HELLO CHARLES / USA (Director: Hamish Grieve) – The film tells the story of George, a young man who has arrived at a low moment in his life after years of mistakes and bad choices. About to make another really bad decision George gets a rather unexpected visit from Charles, his imaginary friend from childhood.

HUX / USA (Director: Mageina Tovah) – Hux, longing to connect, rebels against the lonely isolation of her autism. Braving the confusing, chaotic world of others, her attempts at interaction are repeatedly thwarted – by her powerful aversion to stimuli, and by an epidemic that decimates the population. But when all seems lost, Hux finds one final chance to connect.

IN MEMORY / USA (Director: Robert Kirbyson) – In a seemingly utopian future, an elderly woman struggles to accept that it seems like it’s her turn to die.

IN THE CLOUDS / Argentina (Director: Marcelo Mitnik) – The difference between how we think romance should work and how it actually does is at the comedic heart of IN THE CLOUDS, an exploration of cultural disagreements about intimacy, love, and marriage proposals in the age of YouTube.

IT HAS TO BE YOU / USA (Director: Conrad Rothbaum) – One night at the Lindenwood Diner, three shots ring out. Six people. One crime. Everyone has their own perspective.

JACKDAW / USA (Director: Travis Champagne) – A father mourns on the one-year anniversary of his wife’s disappearance.

LAND OF EXODUS / USA (Director: Skinner Myers) – Obed, a Mexican street kid with hopes of making it to America, leads a recently kidnapped American teenager to the Mexico/United States border.

LITTLE STICKER / USA (Director: Michael Jackson Chaney) – An ordinary icon takes on new meaning as a couple wrestles with different methods of grieving over a tragic loss.

THE MOTHER LOAD / USA (Director: Nicole Kemper & Grant McGowen) – The web series follows Carrie, a by-the-book first time parent, as she stumbles through the first year of her baby’s life. She finds camaraderie and support in her best friend, Astrid- a parent with two kids, who’s “embrace the chaos” philosophy often conflicts with Carrie’s drive to do everything right the first time.

THE PERFECT HOUSEGUEST / USA (Director: Ru Kuwahata & Max Porter) – A house is visited by a clean, organized, well-mannered guest.

PRACTICE / USA (Director: Mark Maloney) – Love needs time to flower, but when desperately single Abby meets desperately undersexed Chandler, their relationship buds, blooms and wilts within six minutes.

SEAGULLS / United Kingdom (Director: Martin Smith) – When a young showman visits a new town he struggles to fit in. We follow Ryan as he attempts to bond with a group of local boys. The film explores the subtle differences in the lives of these teenage boys and how cultural bonds that are deeply ingrained are never far from the surface.

SUPER DOG / USA (Director: Lawayne Bontrager) – A sweet movie about a young boy with post traumatic stress disorder who struggles to let his imaginary dog go. A unique twist reveals what caused his disorder while intertwining supernatural and spiritual influences.

WINTER LIGHT / USA (Director: Julian Higgins) – When an aging college professor confronts two hunters trespassing on his property, he begins an escalating battle of wills that will test his faith in everything he holds dear. Adapted from a short story by acclaimed author James Lee Burke, WINTER LIGHT is a modern-day revisionist Western set in the frozen wilderness of Montana.

ZERO GRAVITY: HOW KIDS FEEL ON SNOW DAYS / USA (Director: Hank Williams) – Encapsulating the feeling kids have on snow days.


AUTUMN FALL / Norway (Director: Jan Vardoen) – Ingvld works as a lightning technician at the National Theatre but dreams of writing for the stage. However she can’t stand actors. She still manages to entangle herself with two thespians, one a notorious hell raiser and she embarks on an exciting, scandalous, and ultimately very dangerous journey that changes her life forever.

ENCLAVE / Serbia/Germany (Director: Goran Radovanovic) – Ten years after the war in Kosovo and unfolding through the eyes of a lonely lad, this is a poignant and intense coming-of-age story that shows young boys in their struggle to follow the blood feuds of their parents and questions whether co-existence is possible between two communities.

JASMINE / Hong Kong/United States (Director: Dax Phelan) – A year after his wife’s murder, once-successful Hong Kong businessman Leonard To is still reeling from the tragedy. Having lost his job, friends and all sense of order in his life, Leonard becomes obsessed with a mysterious stranger he sees at his wife’s grave, believing him to be responsible for her death.

JERICO / United States (Director: Seckeita Lewis) – Jerico and Jarvis set out on the morning of the signing of the civil rights act of 1964 with aspirations to capture a newly available promotion. With the dangers of the Jim Crow South, a simple trip to work becomes a fight for survival. JERICO is a dramatic comedy that satirizes the dogma of our American history in an effort to overcome racial division.

MANIFEST DESTINY / United States (Director: Anthony Parisi) – This musical comedy weaves together both sharp satire and heartfelt storytelling into a grand adventure. The film follows gruff explorer William Clark and his naturalist companion Meriwether Lewis as they blaze a trail to the Western waters. Along the way they encounter the lovely Sacagawea, battle the elements, and find that President Jefferson has some surprises up his sleeve.

REMITTANCE / Singapore (Director: Patrick Daly & Joel Fendleman) – REMITTANCE follows Marie, a foreign domestic worker from the Philippines as she struggles to cope with demanding employers, long hours of work, and separation from her family. Breaking from the conventional image of maids as labor, the story explores the transformations Marie goes through as a woman dealing with conflicting obligations and aspirations.

THE RAINBOW KID / Canada (Director: Kire Paputts) – Eugene, a young man with Down syndrome, sets out on a life altering journey to find the end of the rainbow.


THE APOLOGY SERVICE / USA /University of North Georgia (Director: Luke Pilgrim) -Set in the near future, Jackson is the top “apologist” at a personalized apology firm. Jackson is a loner with his only companion being a quiet robot named AL-X or Alex. Along the way Jackson becomes overwhelmed by romantic daydreams of a friendly co-worker. This shatters his identity and causes him to question his career choice and his reclusive lifestyle.

BIRD DOG / USA / New York University (Director: Katrina Whalen) – Rose is happy at home hunting birds with her family. When she rises to her brother’s dare and swallows a dove heart, she worries that the heart in her belly will sprout into a fully formed dove. The conviction that she is carrying a bird alters the hunting experience, and drives her to confront her fears about growing older.

CONFESSION: 5pm OR BY APPOINTMENT / USA / Savannah College of Art & Design (Director: Joseph Brennan) – A young Catholic priest is approached by his lover in the confessional to discuss where the relationship is headed.

KARKASS CARTS / USA / New York University (Director: Ben Nelson) – When the Birch brothers inherit a failing funeral home from their decaying father, they must resort to sinister means in order to save the family business.

RIDGELAND / USA / Savannah College of Art & Design (Director: Taylor MacDonald) – A restless young man lives aimlessly in a rural town, wanting desperately to escape his dead-end life. As he escapes to the North, life catches up.



About the Macon Film Festival

Founded in 2005, Macon Film Festival is an annual event held in the heart of historic downtown Macon. Surrounded by a rich musical and southern culture, the organization celebrates independent films while promoting filmmaking for entertainment, inspiration, education, and economic development. The 11th annual Macon Film Festival will take place July 21-24, 2016.







Passes are now available on the festival website or at this Ticket Derby link:

Media: To receive a press pass, please email

Dancing Stars, Hot Chicken & Paula Deen, Y’all!

Dancing Stars poster 2016The 5th annual Dancing Stars of Central Georgia, an Alzheimer’s Association fundraiser, took place this past weekend at the Macon City Auditorium to a sold out crowd. I had the dual honor of dancing the opening dance with the alumni stars as well as serving as one of the judges alongside celebrity chef, Paula Deen; Dancing With The Stars pro, Louis van Amstel; and Paste Magazine movies editor, Michael Dunaway.

I competed as a ‘star’ during the first year of this event with pro Colby Marshall. It was one of the hardest and most fun things I’ve ever done. So, when the director of Alzheimer’s Assoc in Macon, Karen Kinsler, asked if I would judge this year and dance in the opening number, I jumped at the offer. Weekly dance practices began with choreographer Spencer Maddox herding us like the cats that we are. Fast forward … it was so worth it! I loved getting to know a really cool and fun group of folks and work on perfecting this dance as a team.

The night before the big event was our final practice and dress rehearsal on the stage at the auditorium. The ‘alumni stars’ met up at Tic Toc Room for pre-rehearsal drinks & dinner with Paula Deen.  Did I mention that I love these people? Such a fun and dedicated group of folks that I had the pleasure to work with: Joanna Jones, Ashley Copelan, Dean Copelan, Ellie Farriba, Mark Farriba, Jennifer Duke, Charles Olson, Lisa Harris, Jackson Walker, Anne Hansen and Chris Wilson. All of them are killer cool and dedicated to perfecting the dance.Paula Deen : Dancing Stars

Night of the event …we do it…we kill it. Except for the fact that I missed my entrance and left Anne hanging to start the dance without our grand entrance. Sorry, Anne! The audience deserved to see your twirl. Regardless of the late entrance, I jumped right in as if I hadn’t missed a beat. And I’ll confess, it was the FIRST TIME that I got all the steps right.

Here is our dance:

From the stage it was on to the judges table for me. Sitting with Louis, Paula and Michael, I was definitely the least seasoned judge. But hey, you gotta start somewhere. And judging with this group of superstars isn’t a bad way to get my feet wet.


Dancing Stars.Judges 2016-judges9 Star/Pro couples took their shot at the mirror ball and most were pretty darn good. Edward Clark and his pro Mary Mattmann came out and completely blew us all away with a high stepping swing. As I said from the judges table, he “kicked ass!” After all competed, we all went into a judges’ room to select the Judges’ Choice winner of the mirror ball … unanimously it was Edward. Elizabeth Coplen, the youngest of all the stars, and her partner Clay Mote, walked away with 2 mirror balls: People’s Choice and Night of event Top Fundraiser. Y’all, if you haven’t been to one of these, you should definitely go next year. It’s great entertainment and I think y’all would love it.

This event raised $240,685 for Alzheimer’s Association of Georgia. Over the 5 years, Dancing Stars of Central Georgia event has raised $1,112,000 – we surpassed the $1 Million mark this year.


Hot ChickenAfter Dancing Stars event was over, a group of us went over to H&H Restaurant for Chef Kevin McCauley’s late night Hot Chicken Pop-Up which was a one-time deal. 10:30pm to 12:30am. I can’t help it, but a late night pop-up has a big city ring to it and I like it!  My aunt Brenda said, “We are eating fried chicken at midnight?” Yes, we are, Aunt Brenda! If my 92 year old grandmother is fine with it, so am I. Hot Chicken is the rage in Nashville, if it’s good enough for the country music capitol it should be well received in Macon, GA; the Song & Soul of the South. I’ve been wanting to try it and all I can say is…DAMN, this is a good bird. I now understand what the fuss is all about. It was some kickin’ chicken.

This is what satisfied customers look like at one o’clock in the morning:

HotChicken PopUp.5:7:2016


(L-R)  Louis van Amstel, Anita Sandefur (my mom), Margaret Bickerstaff (my grandmother), Paula Deen, me, Wyatt (my son), Ron Yarbrough (my uncle) and Brenda Yarbrough (my aunt) at H&H Restaurant in Downtown Macon, Georgia.



DOWNTOWN – Macon In Oil


Pro Ice Hockey player Mike Wills, Macon Mayhem Defenseman: Artist on and off the Ice

Downtown Macon’s beauty is often overlooked by the people who call this town home. It’s nice to be reminded what a cool place this is by tourists and visitors. But it’s especially meaningful when it comes from someone who calls this place home. Mike Wills, a 25-year old rookie with the Southern Professional Hockey League team, recently relocated to Macon to play hockey and hasn’t been here long enough for the awe of downtown to go unnoticed. He is showcasing his vision at an art show at The SoChi Gallery on Saturday, April 2. The show will remain up for 2 weeks.

“This is kind of a dream come true,” Wills said. “It’s the first stepping stone to being a pro artist. I kind of could draw before I could talk.”

He earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Oswego State in New York, and says he has a variety of artistic styles which will be on display in the show.

Mulberry & 2nd

Mulberry & 2nd

“There’s a modern flair but also elements of impressionism,” he said. The show will display some of the cityscapes he has done since coming to Macon to play for the Mayhem. “I want to let the people see things they are familiar with and get the viewers intrigued.”

Mulberry & 2nd.copy

Poplar Street

With his lifelong fascination with art, Wills discovered oil painting in high school with the help of his art teacher. He then developed his skill and technique in college. It is something, just like his play on the ice, he strives to improve with every stroke of the brush.

He credits SoChi Gallery owner Terrell Sandefur for boosting his budding art career, much as early hockey coaches helped him on the ice.

“No, I did not,” Sandefur said when discussing if he ever thought he would ever be featuring a hockey playing artist. “But I think it’s very cool. And he’s a very talented artist.

“When Mike came in I didn’t know he was with the Macon Mayhem,” Sandefur said.

“One, I’m a fan of the team,” he explained for his rationale in booking the Wills’ display. “And two, I like partnerships and am very happy to partner with the Macon Mayhem on this show.”

He joked that he isn’t sure if Wills is a hockey player who paints, or if he is an artist who plays hockey. “That’s the question,” he laughed. “For this show, he’s an artist who plays hockey.”


Art works by Mayhem defenseman Mike Wills
presented by Macon Mayhem & The SoChi Gallery

Opening Exhibit & Art Sale
April 2 – 16, 2016
The SoChi Gallery
534 Second Street
Macon, GA 31201

For private appointments, click HERE


STAR WARS & SoChilites

star-wars-logoJingle Bells and Lightsabers! In between all the holiday parties, December is STAR WARS month at The SoChi Gallery. With the December 17th premiere of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” it only seemed fitting to do a little celebrating.

StarWarsARTMay the 4th be with You

Darth Vader, Princess Leia, Hans Solo and others make an appearance at a galactic art exhibition opening on First Friday, December 4th at The SoChi Gallery. The Star Wars Art Show opening is 6-9pm at 534 Second Street in Downtown Macon. Admission is free and open to the public. Star Wars costumes are welcome.



Hans Solo by Ocean Clark


Leia by Priscilla Esser











The exhibit will feature art works by Ocean Clark, Daniel Dussault,  Priscilla Esser, Terri Goodridge, Bobby Hedges, Daniel Montoute, Shannon Riddle, John Saude, Beth Smith, Kathy Wimberly and more. The exhibit will remain up through December 18th. For more info on the exhibition, see the Facebook event page:



On the eve of the film’s theatrical premiere, AmStar Cinemas is throwing a STAR WARS GALA at The SoChi Gallery on December 16th from 5:30pm until 8:30pm. Proceeds from the Gala will benefit Joshua’s Wish Foundation.

Movie fans are invited to enjoy this free red carpet gala. Photo opportunities with Star Wars characters, themed signature cocktails including “The Dark Side” and hors d’oeuvres. Star Wars cosplay is encouraged. This will be a family-friendly experience that caters to adults.
Activities will include: Silent Auction, Cosplay Contest, Movie Premiere Ticket Giveaways and Prize Raffles.

For more event information, see the Facebook page:
Star Wars: The Force Awakens premieres on Thursday, December 17 at AmStar16 Macon.

About The SoChi Gallery
An event space and art gallery, The SoChi Gallery is located at 534 Second Street in Downtown Macon, Georgia. The gallery hosts a variety of events including cocktail parties, wedding receptions, birthday parties, art shows, corporate functions and pop-up retail. For more information, call us at 478-238-6630 or go to our website and for up to date information about events, follow us on social media: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

The 27 Club


Dead rock stars make an appearance at THE 27 CLUB, an art exhibition opening on First Friday, October 2, 2015 at The SoChi Gallery. The event is 6-9pm at 534 Second Street in Downtown Macon. Admission is free and open to the public.

The 27 Club is a term that refers to a group of famous musicians who died at age 27 as a result of drug and alcohol abuse. They were some of the most impactful talents of their generation. Although dozens of musicians have died at 27, these are these are the musicians and artists who are considered “The 27 Club”: Robert Johnson, Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kurt Cobain and Amy WinehouseThe 27 Club poster

The exhibit will feature art works by Daniel Dussault, Priscilla Esser, Daniel Montoute and Shannon Riddle. The exhibit will remain up through October 30th. For more info on the exhibition, see the Facebook event page HERE.

“I was inspired to do this show when we (Macon Film Festival) partnered with Macon Film Guild and Bragg Jam to bring the documentary AMY to The Douglass Theatre on October 20th,” said Terrell Sandefur, owner of The SoChi Gallery.  “A show of this theme has never been done in Macon, to my knowledge, and I think it will make for a cool exhibit and a nice compliment and precursor to the AMY movie screening on October 20.”

AMY_EventPoster_SMALL (11.5x17.75)


About The SoChi Gallery
An event space and art gallery, The SoChi Gallery is located at 534 Second Street in Downtown Macon, Georgia. The gallery hosts a variety of events including cocktail parties, wedding receptions, birthday parties, art shows, corporate functions and pop-up retail. For more information, call us at 478-238-6630 or go to our website and for up to date information about events, follow us on social media: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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