published Friday, June 24th, 2011

First-time film festival in Dalton


What: Firehouse Film Festival.

When: 7 p.m. today, 8 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday.

Where: Dalton (Ga.) Little Theatre, 210 N. Pentz St.

Admission: $5.

Phone: 706-226-6618.

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If Brandon Gnetz, Kyle Presley or Reed Fincher ever become household names, they might have Sarah Parsons and Holly Hammontree to thank for it.

The two are the driving force between the inaugural Firehouse Film Festival, showcasing short films and trailers by people in Chattanooga, Dalton, Ga., and surrounding areas.

“I’d heard of many people around here making short films,” Hammontree said. “I’ve never been to a film festival in my life, and I’ve always wanted to go to one and see what things are like.”

Hammontree recently directed Parsons in the play “Picasso at the Lapin-Agile” at the Dalton Little Theatre and spoke to her about bringing this idea to fruition. The two worked together to create a three-day festival showcasing films in several genres.

According to a news release, “I Am Taylor Swift,” directed by Gnetz, is a mockumentry about a musician’s struggle to make it in the music business while having the same name as a celebrity.

Presley’s work, “Turncoat,” is a promotional trailer depicting a fictional romance set in the South during the Civil War.

And “The Blue Hole,” directed by Fincher, is a fictional drama “about a young woman who meets a mysterious man and the secret she finds out about him at her favorite swimming hole.”

These works are only three of the selections available.

One short film, “Cell/Phone,” is part of a Web series. The first episode has been accepted for screening at the Cannes Film Festival. The lead role is played by Stacey Souther, a Los Angeles-based Dalton native.

On Sunday, the last day of the festival, an awards ceremony will take place, recognizing both the winners of an audience award and a panel award.

“Our goal for doing the festival was to get local talent out,” said Hammontree. “A lot of people around here don’t have an outlet for a lot of the things that they do. There are so many talented filmmakers around here, and I’m sure that when people come to see the festival, they’ll see how talented our city really is.”

about Holly Leber ...

Holly Leber is a reporter and columnist for the Life section. She has worked at the Times Free Press since March 2008. Holly covers “everything but the kitchen sink" when it comes to features: the arts, young adults, classical music, art, fitness, home, gardening and food. She writes the popular and sometimes-controversial column Love and Other Indoor Sports. Holly calls both New York City and Saratoga Springs, NY home. She earned a bachelor of arts ...

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