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


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