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A History Issue

by Pamela Cole, Editor -in-Chief

I was tempted to call our latest edition (June 1, 2006) the “history issue” because there was so much Atlanta film production history in it. We’re delighted to be celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Atlanta Film Festival (and the founding of IMAGE) as well as the 25th anniversary of Crawford Communications. But we should also mention that this year marks the 30th anniversary of the opening of Lefont Theaters. For years, starting with The Silver Screen, Lefont Theaters were the only art houses in Atlanta that would screen those low-grossing independent films. George Lefont is a film hero in this town and his name has prefaced a string of venues over the years that Atlanta film lovers have treasured for their avant-garde appeal: The Screening Room, Lefont Tara, Lefont Garden Hills Cinema, and Lefont Plaza (the only place in town you can still catch a midnight screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the best late-night date movie ever). It is fitting that Mr. Lefont is receiving an award at the IMAGE Awards Gala this year for his contributions to the community.

It seems also to fitting to mention Mr. Lefont’s best friend, the great Stewart Harnell, founder and CEO of Cinema Concepts. While Cinema Concepts isn’t celebrating a round-number anniversary this year, the company has been an Atlanta film production institution for 27 years. Harnell has been extremely generous to the film community through the years. One of the greatest thrills of my editorial life was interviewing Harnell at his Cinema Concepts office, when Lefont casually walked in the door. It was a treat to be in the room with both of these Atlanta film icons at the same time.

Also being honored at the IMAGE Awards Gala this year is Dr. Kay Beck, who doesn’t like to receive awards, she told me. We both prefer to stay behind the scenes, which is where you’ll find Dr. Beck most of the time, working with the Georgia Film Commission, the IMAGE Advisory Board, and the Digital Arts and Entertainment Lab (DAEL) at Georgia State University, tirelessly promoting the efforts of our film community.

I’ll take this opportunity to publicly thank Dr. Beck for her continuous cheerleading of Southern Screen Report. I met Kay in 2001, when I served as her graduate research assistant at Georgia State University, and have claimed her as a friend ever since. With her support and encouragement, I started Southern Screen Report as an incubated business at DAEL, where Kay serves ever enthusiastically as director. In her long career as a film professor, I am sure she has mentored hundreds of other students the same way she did me. With Kay Beck on your side, you cannot fail.


Past Editorials:

The Madea Empire
Coretta Scott King
Breaking Ground
Happy Holidays
Current TV
Virgin Entry

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