Beaufort News

Robert Smalls screenplay, Hilton Head documentary among Beaufort film finalists

A screenplay about Beaufort hero Robert Smalls and a documentary by a Hilton Head filmmaker are among the finalists for the Beaufort International Film Festival.

The 11th annual festival will be held Feb. 15-19 in Beaufort.

Smalls, a slave, Civil War hero and congressman, is the subject of the screenplay “Robert Smalls’ Great Escape.” The script was written by Bernard Smith, from Mandeville, La.

Smalls has been the subject of numerous entries in the past. None made the festival before this year.

“Even though there is a local twist, we hold the bar pretty high,” Beaufort Film Society president Ron Tucker said. “This one came in strong.”

The festival has already announced that trailblazing filmmaker Julie Dash will receive the inaugural Robert Smalls Merit and Achievement Award. Dash’s landmark film, “Daughters of the Dust,” was made in Beaufort and recently restored for its 25th anniversary. The restored film will be screened at the festival Feb. 18.

Smalls’ great-great grandson, Michael Boulware Moore, is expected to present the award.

Hilton Head filmmaker Guy Smith landed the only local entry. His film, “The Red Grifo,” about a man and his classic 1960s Iso Grifo sportscar , earned the nod in the documentary category. Smith is up against five other films in the category.

Tucker said the festival received about 300 submissions this year. The six feature film finalists are the most selected for the festival.

“Filmakers are telling other filmmakers about the festival,” Tucker said. “They love Beaufort.”

Charleston filmmaker Brad Jayne will be presented with the Behind the Scenes Award work during the past 15 years, which includes work with the South Carolina Film Commission's Indie Grants and Young Filmmakers programs.

The 2017 film festival finalists are:


Flying” directed by Jacob Hood; Lawrence, Kan.

“Hot Chocolate” directed by Kim Nguyen; Los Angeles, Calif.

Kulak” directed by: Isaac Phillips-London, Winston-Salem, N.C.

“Le Soi” directed by Catherine Salisbury; Winston-Salem, N.C.

“Splash” directed by Gavin Langford; Winston-Salem, N.C.


“Gardeners of the Forest,” co-directed by Ceylan Carhoglu and Nicole Jordan Webber; Orange, Calif.

“Love Bite: Laurie Lipton and Her Disturbing Black and White Drawings” directed by James Scott; East Sussex, United Kingdom.

“Robert Shaw, Man of Many Voices” co-directed by Peter Miller; New York, N.Y.; and Pamela Roberts; Atlanta, Ga.

“The Red Grifo” directed by Guy Smith, Hilton Head Island.

“Trigger: The Ripple Effect of Gun Violence” directed by David Barnhart; Atlanta, Ga.

“Voices from Vietnam: Reflecting at the Wall” directed by Ray Smith; Blythewood.


“Almost Paris” directed by Domenica Cameron-Scorsese; Chicago, Ill.

“Ben and Ara” directed by Nnegest Likke; Los Angeles, Calif.

“Children of the Mountain” directed by Priscilla Anany; Staten Island, N.Y.

“Family Possessions” directed by Tommy Faircloth; Columbia.

“Fare” directed by Thomas Torrey; Fort Mill.

“Saturn Returns” directed by Shawn Tolleson; Vancouver, British Columbia.


“3000” directed by Antonis Tsonis; Athens, Greece.

“Coming to Terms” directed by David Bertran; Barcelona, Spain.

“In a Room at the Edge of Infinity” directed by Geoffrey Gunn; Greenville.

“In Memory” directed by Robert Kirbyson; Glendora, Calif.

“Mia” directed by Felix Martiz; Los Angeles, Calif.

“My Luchador” directed by Shea Sizemore; Charlotte, N.C.

“Reconcile” directed by Marcus Lucus; Boulder, Colo.

“The Land of Exodus” directed by Skinner Myers; Los Angeles, Calif.

“Twice Upon a Time” directed by Illiana Guibert; Wycoff, N.J.

“Under a Stone” directed by Bill Klayer; New York, N.Y.

“We Can’t Die” directed by LuAnn Nicosia; Menifee, Calif.


“At Ease” (Savannah College of Art & Design) directed by Jacob Kirby; Savannah, Ga.

“Broken” (University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Winston-Salem, N.C.) directed by Wren Culp; Winston-Salem, N.C.

“Echoes of a Note” (University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Winston-Salem, N.C.) directed by Chris Mathews; Winston-Salem, N.C.

“Icarus” (Chapman University, Dodge College, Orange, Calif.) directed by Tom Teller; Orange, Calif.

“Long John” (Rochester Institute of Tech. and Animation, Rochester, N.Y.) directed by Joe Bellavia; Rochester, N.Y.

“One Day on Carver St.”(Carolina Home Schooler, Conway) directed by Azure Allen; Conway.

“Rajam” (Chapman University, Dodge College, Orange, Calif.) directed by Amanda Renee Knox; Orange, Calif.

“Rocket” (Chapman University, Dodge College, Orange, Calif.) directed by Brenna Malloy, Orange, Calif.

“Swipe Right” (Chapman University, Dodge College, Orange, Calif.) directed by Kendall Goldberg; Orange, Calif.


“In a Room at the Edge of Infinity” (Short Film)

“Long John” (Student Film)

“Family Possessions” (Feature Film)

“Saturn Returns” (Feature Film)

“Swipe Right” (Student Film)

“The Witching Hour” (Student Film)

“We Can’t Die” (Short Film)


“African Connection” written by Marcia Chandler Rhea; Charleston.

“Blood Trigger” written by Ron Podell; Laramie, Wyo.

“Clear Blue Sky” written by Michael Brazda; Durham, N.C.

“Deadly Colors” written by Margaret Ford Rogers and Dane Krogman; Charleston.

“First Spear” written by Jonathan Fear; London, United Kingdom.

“Reach for the Sky” written by Eric Carlson; Williamsburg, Va.

“Robert Smalls Great Escape” written by Bernard Smith; Mandeville, La.


Adjetey Anang (Children of the Mountain - Feature Film)

Joseph Baird (Ben and Ara - Feature Film)

Wally Marzano-Lesnevich (Almost Paris - Feature Film)

Adam Lefevre (Almost Paris – Feature Film)

Thomas Torrey (Fare – Feature Film)


Constance Ejuma (Ben and Ara - Feature Film)

Stefi Garcia (Mia - Short Film)

Abigail Hawk (Almost Paris - Feature Film)

Rukiyat Masud (Children of the Mountain - Feature Film)

Lee Meriwether (In Memory - Short Film)


Pricilla Anany (Children of the Mountain-Feature Film)

Domenica Cameron-Scorsese (Almost Paris– Feature Film)

Felix Martiz (Mia - Short Film)

Shawn Tolleson (Saturn Returns - Feature Film)

Thomas Torrey (Fare –Feature Film)

Stephen Fastenau: 843-706-8182, @IPBG_Stephen