Leila Case: Focus on a rising star, students at seminar

Published 2:05 pm Saturday, July 6, 2019

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Our country celebrated the 243rd birthday of our independence on Thursday that appropriately was kicked off in Plains, home of the nation’s 39th president Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn with another successful fireworks display attended by a crowd of about 500 and illuminated the night skies above Plains and beyond the evening of June 29.

That same evening the world premiere of the full-length motion picture “Back Focus” was shown on the big screen at the historic Rylander Theatre before an audience of almost 300 people who by all accounts give the film a five-star rating.

Patrick Peacock, a native of Americus, an independent film maker and founder of Acondo Films, wrote and directed the romantic comedy-drama shot here with local talent. This is Peacock’s first full-length motion picture.

Peacock conceived the story idea about 10 years ago, writing and revising. It took a year in the making from the time he developed the script, cast the parts, shooting it on nights and weekends and then hours of editing. “It was exciting to have it all come together and premiere at the Rylander and a wonderful opportunity for me to share my work,” said Peacock.

Those in starring roles are Thomas Weber, Will Dozier, Kathy Martin, Ellen Cotter, Wendy Castilla, and Heather Thornburg. Lending comedy relief was Pat Spann. The film locations in Americus were the Rylander Theatre, Pat’s Place, the Lee Council House, JJ’s Wings and Things, and the home of Charles and Kim Christmas.

Following the screening, a successful “after party,” hosted by the Americus Arts Council, was at the Art Gallery at 117 W. Forsyth St. where Peacock and the cast were applauded again by about 100 attendees.

Future plans said Peacock is submitting “Back Focus” to film festivals and then have a public release.

Peacock is no stranger to the arts. For years he has created unique TV advertising commercials and works for On Media in Albany.

Among his family members in the audience were his wife Wendy Peacock and daughter Emily, his mother Saranne Rushin Peacock, a talented writer and editor herself, his brothers and wives Hugh and Anita Peacock and Bobby and Cookie Peacock and cousin, Mary Jo Anderson.

Meanwhile, George and Shay Torbert and children, Gray and Georgia, traveled together to Washington, D.C., but went separate ways. Gray, a rising senior at Southland Academy, and Georgia, a rising junior, spent the week attending the Washington Workshops Congressional Seminar while their parents enjoyed a few days of sightseeing around the nation’s capital.

The seminar, sponsored by the National Society of The Colonial Dames of America (NSCDA), was a special gift to Gray and Georgia from their paternal grandmother Mary Torbert of Americus, a member of the Americus Town Committee of the NSCDA-GA.

The week was filled with many activities where they learned political procedure first hand, which included morning workshops with briefings by speakers from the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the U.S. government, college professors. and the media. They worked with fellow students on a mock Congress, using Congressional rules and procedures, visited the U.S. Capitol building. and had the opportunity to sit in on hearings.

A major an exciting highlight for Gray and Georgia was being chosen to participate in the wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. Other activities were a tour of Gunston Hall, home of George Mason, in nearby Gooseneck, Virginia, a dinner and dance cruise on the Potomac River, and visiting the National Mall, Mount Vernon, and the memorials and monuments of Washington.

Leila Sisson Case lives in Americus.