2010-03-18 / News

Locally made film to debut soon at Atlanta Film Festival

By KIP BURKE news editor

“Pushin’ Up Daisies,” a film made in Washington and Crawfordville in 2007 with the participation of several Wilkes County people, will be shown in April as part of the 2010 Atlanta Film Festival, filmmaker Patrick Franklin has announced.

The film will be shown at the festival on Friday, April 16, at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, April 17, at 11:45 p.m. at the Landmark Midtown Art Cinema, 931 Monroe Drive Northeast, in Atlanta. “We have the best screening times we could have asked for,” Franklin said. “We’re very lucky to have these spots.”

The film is a comedy, Franklin said, “about an amateur documentary filmmaker attempting to capture reality in spite of a sudden unrealistic occurrence - zombies taking over the world. This is not a zombie movie. Okay, yes, there are zombies in it. But that’s not our fault. We tried to make a simple documentary about flowers, but the zombies just kept getting in the way.”

Although the majority of the film was made in Crawfordville, Franklin said, people in Washington had a hand in the first-time filmmaker’s efforts. “We’re amazed by the level of support and enthusiasm we received from the people of Washington,” he said. “When you’re setting out to make your first film, especially on a limited budget, you depend a lot on the kindness of strangers. The citizens of Washington and surrounding areas really stepped up to the plate and made the movie better than we could have ever imagined.”

One young Washington actor has a speaking part in the film. Boone Lukich, who was nine at the time of filming, came to auditions in Washington, Franklin said. “He received a speaking role in an important scene. Boone didn’t have much acting experience at the time, but he impressed us with his ability to be natural on camera, and when it came time to actually film, he was a complete professional, nailing his lines every time.”

Some scenes were filmed outside Wills Memorial Hospital using a Wilkes County EMS ambulance. “[Wills CEO] Marvin Goldman was very supportive and made the whole process very easy for us,” Franklin said, “and Wilkes EMS director Blake Thompson loaned us the ambulance and played the ambulance driver. Mr. Thompson was very generous with his time and support. He stayed with us for one of our longest, most arduous night shoots of the whole movie and never complained once.”

Shop owner Carol McTier, he said, “generously provided us with countless flowers and decorative items to use as props and set dressing in the film. In a movie that features flowers as a prominent theme, Ms. McTier’s contribution to the film is immeasurable.”

Other Washington-Wilkes residents who participated in the film include David Jenkins, who provided contacts and resources to help the filmmakers. “He made us feel welcome in Washington from the very first day.”

At the beginning, too, “Sue Davidson volunteered at our casting call to help us register auditioners and keep things organized and moving,” Franklin said. “This is crucial to a successful casting call so we are grateful for her help.”

Robert J. Wagstaff of Rayle had an important part in the concept. “He collaborated with me on the story for ‘Pushin’ Up Daisies’ and has been a resident of Washington for several years. He’s currently at UGA studying political science.”

The film’s website, www.iamnotazombie. com, has ticket information and a link to its Facebook page.

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