Leila S. Case: Lights. Camera. Action. Movie time again

Published 12:31 pm Saturday, August 11, 2018

Schools are back in session for the new year but the heat goes on. Whoever thought of changing the first day of fall semester from the day after Labor Day to the first of August, the hottest month of the year, sure didn’t have the students in mind. Even colleges and universities begin classes this month and fall sorority and fraternity rush takes place much sooner, too.
Oh well, just thinking. It’s just strange to see the big yellow busses rolling down the road every week-day morning and afternoon this time of year when everyone should be at the swimming pool instead.
Meanwhile, it’s lights, camera, and action once more in our beautiful community.
Americus and Sumter County provides the perfect backdrop for making a movie. We have all the right ingredients: lush landscapes, shady tree-lined streets, a lively downtown business and residential district featuring historic buildings and homes, an active arts community and most of all talented and beautiful people.
Hollywood has made major feature-length films here in the past for both the big screen and television. In fact, yours truly was an “extra” in Hallmark’s “To Dance with the White Dog” starring Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy filmed in Sumter County the summer of 1993. The Hollywood cast along with what seemed like thousands of other “extras” sweltered in our 1940s-era attire throughout the heat of that long day. Never mind that the temperature hovered at 100 degrees, we smiled and ignored the pesky gnats we couldn’t swat when the cameras rolled.
Saraann Peacock of Americus, a longtime friend and gifted writer, was among the many extras on the set that day. Now her son, Patrick Peacock, also a talented writer and maker of television commercials at OnMedia Advertising, Albany, has combined his writing hobby with his professional experience in film making to produce a feature length film for the big screen.
Peacock is writer, editor, director and producer of “Back Focus” — a romantic comedy/drama based on fiction, and says is not autobiographical.
Filming began the end of July with a party scene at the Lee Council House and will continue at varied locations in Americus for a couple of months, says Peacock. There are about seven principal characters and more than 20 have speaking roles and, of course, there are “extras.”
Cassie Martin is the leading lady, Veronica, affectionately called Ronnie, while Thomas Weber is the leading man Pete Fowler. Both Martin and Fowler have experience in theater and film work.
Peacock wrote the script about 10 years ago but says that it needed working to be a film and simultaneously remain on budget.
“Back Focus” will premiere on the big screen in Americus in 2019, says Peacock. And I hope to be in the audience, front row center.
Not everyone expects to have their photo land on the front page of the daily newspaper while on family vacation but that’s exactly what happened when Sadie Grace Goolsby, 3, was vacationing with her parents, Alison and Jason Goolsby, at their Treasure Island condominium at Panama City, Florida. The Bay County and Panama City Beach firefighters were participating in a department response drill in the high rise condo building where the Goolsbys were staying. A photographer and writer with Panama City Herald were reporting on the drill when curious Sadie Grace stepped up to “help” the firefighters spray water from the big hoses and the news photographer caught the action on camera.
Meanwhile Sadie Grace’s cousin, Jackson Hayes, and his friend, Taylor Weldon, of Americus explored Peru this summer, hiking through the country and staying in student hostels along the way. They met many young people from around the world and had an overall great experience. Highlights included Machu Picchu, a 15th century Inca Citadel situated on a mountain ridge 8,000 feet above sea level that is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and dining in Lima at Central Restaurant that is famous for its meals that are unique to Peruvian culture.
Congratulations to Ross and Charlotte Chambliss on their 59th wedding anniversary and to John and Tiffany Dean who celebrated their 19th anniversary this past week. Lee and Karen Kinnamon and son, Thomas, had a great adventure before school started, riding the rails and exploring San Francisco; Bill and Anne Markette Lee of Atlanta were recent guests of her mother, Sally Markette, and her sister and family, John and Beth Fowler; and smile and say hello to Lisa Bliss McMichael, a former resident presently of Dublin, who is visiting John and Alice Argo this weekend.

Leila Sisson Case lives in Americus.