Independent movie to film in Savannah in March 2011

By Don Logana - bio | email

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Savannah will be playing host to independent filmmakers Randall Miller and Jody Savin next March and April. The duo will be filming their new historical feature, Savannah, which is directed by Annette Haywood-Carter, next year.

The Savannah Film and Tourism Office expects a production office to open in January and will post contact information at when it becomes available.

"This is a unique project in many ways. It is a beautifully written Savannah story being told by a Savannah-based director and produced by a Savannah native. This local knowledge and understanding bring a valuable sensibility to this compelling story," said Jay Self, Savannah Film and Tourism Office, in a statement. "This project originated in Savannah and is a prime example of the talent and potential of our local film makers. That has a value in itself, beyond the significant economic impact it will have on our community."

Below is a press release from the filmmakers about the project:

Los Angeles -- Randall Miller & Jody Savin, the filmmaking team behind the Chris Pine and Alan Rickman starrer, BOTTLE SHOCK, have closed the financing and assembled the team to kick off writer/director Annette Haywood-Carter's historical film, SAVANNAH.

SAVANNAH tells the true story of Ward Allen, a white aristocrat, and Christmas Moultrie, a freed slave, in the early 1900's. Ward Allen was a romantic naturalist in the vein of Thoreau, an aristocrat who turned his back on a life of material comfort to become a market hunter. He and Christmas Moultrie became business partners, confidantes and life-long friends and together they tried to navigate the vicissitudes of social, industrial, environmental and personal change that threatened their way of life

"This is a great story steeped in the lore of Savannah, Georgia," says Haywood-Carter. "Being a Southerner born and bred, it has been a passion of mine to tell great stories from our unique and particular socio-geographic tapestry." Haywood-Carter made her directing debut when Steven Spielberg saw her first film, a short starring Leonardo DiCaprio and hired her to direct SEAQUEST.

"Jody & I have known Annette for years, since her start as a script-supervisor on such films as DRIVING MISS DAISY and THE FLINTSTONES. Annette has worked with so many of the greats, from Bruce Beresford to Steven Spielberg, and learned from them all," says Miller. "Annette is a great writer. There is a poetry to her words that evokes a time and place and brings her story to life," adds Savin. "She also has an incredible eye for talent. Her first feature, FOXFIRE, starred as yet undiscovered Angelina Jolie."

Haywood-Carter and her husband Ken Carter, with whom she often writes, moved to Savannah where Annette took a hiatus from directing to raise her two small children and teach graduate classes in filmmaking at the Savannah College of Art and Design. Savin & Miller have partnered with John Cay and Meddin Studios on the project to bring both the financing and the production to light. Cay, formerly of Palmer & Cay Insurance Services, will serve as the film's Producer along with Savin and Miller.

Meddin Studios toppers Nick Gant and John Foster will work closely with the filmmakers to bring Haywood-Carter's dream to life. Line producer on the film is Jay Sedrish who will also serve as an Executive Producer.

Miller & Savin will produce the film under their production banner Unclaimed Freight Productions, the company behind the upcoming THE DRUMMER: The Story of the Beach Boys' Dennis Wilson of and UNTITLED CBGB's which are also scheduled for production in 2011. Casting on SAVANNAH is under way with Deb Aquila.

The production will be designed by Craig Stearns. Michael Ozier will serve as the film's Director of Photography. The film is to be shot entirely on location in Savannah, Georgia. The anticipated start date for principal photography is February 14th.

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