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Local filmmaker Geoff James reached out a couple weeks ago to give me an update on three projects he's working on.

James was producer for the film, "Down and Yonder,"which was directed by Christopher Flippo. It was made with a budget of about $30,000 and shot in Chickamauga, Flintstone and Rossville, and has been or will be screened in a half-dozen festivals. It stars another North Georgia native Corey Ryan Forrester.

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Barry Courter

You might recognize Forrester as one of the Well Red Comedy Tour stars. He plays Mason in the film and will reprise the role next summer when the crew shows the follow-up movie called "Edge of Town."

"We knew Corey was funny, but once we watched it, Chris and I were like, 'Wow, Corey can reach down and find a little bit of depth when he wants to,'" James laughed.

In the follow-up film, Mason returns home from Texas after getting a divorce. He's living with his sister and comes into a little money. He hasn't seen his father in years, and now he shows up.

Set to play Mason's father is Duane Whitaker. Fans of the Quentin Tarantino movie "Pulp Fiction" will recognize Whitaker as Maynard, the shopkeeper who meets a brutal end thanks to Bruce Willis.

"He's kind of a character like Corey, so we thought they'd be good together," James said.

James said the team has a short film due out in the next couple of weeks called "Get the Van Running."

"It's a little different for us. We mostly do two guys in the woods, cause that's our budget. This is about two female leads on the way to a punk rock show and their van breaks down. It starts off pretty realistically, and then they get the van running in a ridiculous way."

James and I had a lengthy conversation about what it takes to make an independent movie. Advances in technology have made some things easier, but there are still so many factors that go into it. Working around people's schedules, weather, money, finding locations that are available when you need them, money, feeding everyone on set, getting the right story, getting the right people and money are just a few of them.

"There are so many things that you have to have lined up, and sometimes it takes so long that things you had lined up fall through."

Very often you are using volunteers for certain things, sometimes even your talent are unpaid actors who just love making movies. That can complicate things, too.

"It's not as easy as some people think," James said.

Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6354.

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