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Thomas Steals Show at Lander Film Festival

April 13, 2016

The biggest winner at the 7th Annual Lander Film Festival was “Finch’s Landing,” an imagining of Harper Lee character Atticus Finch as a boy.

The film, by Sam Thomas, of Abbeville, won first place in the hotly contested Open Division. It also won the Director’s Choice Award.

The screening of “Finch’s Landing” and the other award-winners at Sundance Gallery Saturday night was the culminating event of this year’s festival, which featured appearances by screenwriters Chris Parrish and Craig Titley.

The day began with a screening and discussion of the classic movie “Network,” led by Dr. Misty Jameson, associate professor of English and Film Studies at Lander.

Parrish, who has worked as a TV writer and producer, and who is about to release the feature film, “Thrill Ride,” led an afternoon workshop in screenwriting.

The night started with a question-and-answer session featuring Parrish and Titley, whose credits include Marvel’s “Agents of Shield,” “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” “Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief,” and “Cheaper by the Dozen.”

 The two screenwriters also participated in the evaluation of the films, which were judged on the basis of originality; storytelling; use of the medium; use of lighting, sound, music and special effects; and by the creativity displayed in using a line of dialogue contributed by professional screenwriters that had to be included in the production.

Russell Salter, of Greenwood, won second place in the Open Division for “Wet Hot American Spooky,” which also won the Writer’s Choice Award. Third place went to David Holloway and Max Ridgeway, of Greenwood, for “Title Pending.”

Taylor Wilcox, of Blythewood, won first place in the College Division for “The Shop Feud,” which featured an original score by Greenwood resident Kevin Baggett. Daniel Hudson, of Irmo, won second place for “Something’s Fishy,” and Chaz Giles, of Greenwood, took third place with “A Match Made in Space.”

The High School Division winner was “A Ride,” by Luis Cruz, of Saluda.

Festival Director Paul Crutcher told the filmmakers their work would “put us on the map in a positive way.”

He thanked Titley, the youngest person ever accepted into the University of Southern California’s Peter Stark Production Program, for helping with the festival every year since it began. “He’s a blessing to us,” Crutcher said.

Parrish said that Greenwood was making a name for itself as “a place where movies come from. I’m proud to be a part of it,” he said.

Seventh Film Festival Award WinnersWinners in the 7th Annual Lander Film Festival included, from left, Chaz Giles, of Greenwood; Daniel Hudson, of Irmo; Russell Salter, of Greenwood; David Holloway, of Greenwood; Luis Cruz, of Saluda; Taylor Wilcox, of Blythewood; Kevin Baggett, of Greenwood; Max Ridgeway, of Greenwood; and Sam Thomas, of Abbeville. (Photo by Laura Brown)