Beaufort’s film festival stars South Carolina
From the Island Packet Column by David Lauderdale; photo by Delayna Earley
Beaufort International Film Festival executive director Ron Tucker is happy as a one-eared cow. He says the festival that wrapped up Saturday had record attendance for screenings, opening ceremony and closing ceremony. Seven screenings drew more than 400 people, he said. The closing ceremony attracted 500. The ninth edition of the Beaufort Film Society's festival was supposed to put a spotlight on filmmakers. The goal is to get filmmakers back to Beaufort to make movies. It is supposed to spotlight South Carolina talent and the blockbuster charm of Beaufort. That's where the one-eared cow comes into the picture. Along with Pat Conroy. And Andie MacDowell. And Beaufort's largest group selfie. And the first-ever Spirit & Pride of South Carolina award. Tucker said the award is to recognize a body of work contributing positively to the state or Beaufort in the fields of film, television or music. It is to go to a native of South Carolina or someone who has lived here long enough to be called a South Carolinian. That in itself could recreate a war of Northern aggression. In some communities, that could be four generations. In others, an oldtimer is anyone whose car has cooled off in the driveway. The award went to model and actress Andie MacDowell, who enjoyed a long stay at the Cuthbert House Inn after sitting through last week's 3D traffic jam in Okatie. She's from the peachy Upstate town of Gaffney, best known for its gigantic, peach-like orb on Interstate 85. So, yes, she's one of us. And Tucker came up with inviting her down to get this award after reading her piece in the book "South" by Beaufort's Wendy Pollitzer. MacDowell told Tucker she was honored to be considered, and boy, wouldn't it be nice if she could meet Pat Conroy. Conroy, as it turns out, has been drooling over MacDowell for some time and was glad to meet her and introduce her award and then give her his remarks written by hand on a white legal pad. Tucker said the piece of art that came with the honor also had to be homegrown. It is 8 pounds of glass in the shape of a palmetto tree with a crescent moon above. Its wild and shiny red, yellow and blue colors were the handwork of One Eared Cow Glass in Columbia. It was as South Carolina as a bag of boiled peanuts, with the style of Dizzy Gillespie. And the festival that honors behind-the-scenes movie makers but got a lot of attention thanks to a real, South Carolina star, faded to black with a happy ending. Follow columnist and senior editor David Lauderdale at twitter.com/ThatsLauderdale.