Camden’s Marley Project Kicks off First EQUUS Film Festival 2017 Tour Stop
EQUUS Film Festival Camden Photos
The EQUUS Film Festival enjoys Southern Comfort in Camden
When talking about true southern comfort you cannot overlook the heart and soul of South Carolina. For horse people mixing that with anything equine is what Camden is all about. It’s horse country at its finest.
Each year the EQUUS Film Festival extends its reach through “tour stops” that take place throughout the U.S. and abroad. This annual film festival, which features all types of horse films each November in New York City and presents WINNIE awards to the best of the best, provides films to entertain horse enthusiasts near and far. Once the films are showcased at the annual EQUUS Film Festival, a selection of those films then start their journey around the nation and the world to be showcased at the various tour stops.
In 2017, it was South Carolina’s City of Camden and Kershaw County that took over the reins thanks to the Marley Project, whose founders put in the time, money and energy to organize a host of activities. At the heart of any of the tour stops are what is shown on the silver screen and in Camden the Little Theater featured 45 films, documentaries and shorts.
The festivities began with a welcome reception catered by Jack Brantley and Aberdeen's on Thursday night, February 16, at the Robert Mills Courthouse, home of the Kershaw County Chamber of Commerce. It continued through Saturday night, February 18, with a Gallery Gallop visit to the Rutledge Street Gallery and Artist’s Attic, both displaying the amazing artwork of local talented artists.
Joining hosts Julianne Neal and Bruce Anderson of the Marley Project were EQUUS Film Festival founder Lisa Diersen and co-organizer Diana De Rosa. The Marley Project also presented The Edge in the Little Theater, winner of the 2016 Equestrian Environmental Awareness Film WINNIE Award.
Since the EQUUS Film Festival includes equine filmmakers, artists and authors, part of the aura of the Camden Tour Stop was having some of the creators there to mix and mingle with the guests and audience. These included Doug Maddox, who directed Christmas Ranch, winner of the Best of Festival - Family feature film, along with his daughter, Elizabeth. Naomi Boinus of the documentary, Scout’s Honour, winner of the Horse Hero $2500 Film Award, traveled from California to Camden and was joined by her mom. Attendees could meet these special guests throughout the weekend at the Filmmakers Salon and Pop Up Gallery at 1029 Broad Street.
For the Literary Corner Kay Kerr, author of Corolla’s Sand Horse Beach, winner of the Equine Children – Fiction literary award and Janet DelCastillo of The Backyard Racehorse, winner of the Equine Training – Racing WINNIE Award, joined the festivities.
More than just a Film Festival!
For horse enthusiasts, spending three days enjoying equine focused films, art and books as well as educational and networking sessions is like a dream come true. Mix that with a carriage ride through Historic Camden and it was truly like going to horse heaven.
In between, there was a variety of foods being savored, including a Wellness Breakfast, organized and sponsored by Clear Day Spa’s Roslyn Moore, with support from Donna Freyer and the Fast Women. This took place at the Blue Barn on Friday morning. Guests were taken to the breakfast and for a tour around Camden in the Captain Telegram Trolley with expert commentary from local equine expert Hope Cooper. On Saturday morning, George Sensor’s MacDonalds provided fare for a drop in continental breakfast at Historic Camden hosted by the Camden Film Group. Also part of the food celebration was a Tapas Walk food tasting at Hifalutin, Catery on Broad and Sweet Lil’s on Saturday, as well as hospitality provided by Gorget’s Distilling Co.
An additional feature of this three-day event was a variety of Directors Panels focused on chatting with filmmakers, artists, authors and local folk. Filmmakers and authors already mentioned shared the stage with those from near and far, including Janice Fischer, from Illinois, who joined local artist Caroline Harrington, for the EQUUS Artists Directors Panel. Others focused on the discipline of dressage with Jill McCrae and Mary Werning as well as a group that discussed Thoroughbred racing in South Carolina, including Donna Freyer, Judy Ferrell, Arch Kingsley, Catherine French, and Marsha Hewitt, SC Department of Agriculture’s Equine Representative.
The highlight of the three days was meeting the real Marley with trainer Bruce Anderson at the Rutledge Street Park. Marley greeted a host of friendly folk from near and far, all elated to meet Marley in person, who was thrilled with all the petting, hugs and kisses he was treated to.
A Special Thank You the the Hosts and Sponsors
The EQUUS Film Festival Camden Tour Stop was organized and presented by The Marley Project, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization established in 2002. Its mission is equine awareness and education, specifically using Nature’s View, a system of Natural Humanship developed by Bruce Anderson. In 2016, the Nature’s View system produced The Edge: Bruce Anderson – Natural Humanship, a 35-minute documentary featuring Bruce’s life and work. In addition to the EQUUS Film Festival WINNIE Award, this film also garnered the Prix de Finalist at the Deauville Green Awards in France in 2016. The Edge, The True Story of Sunshine Numbers and Minimambo: The Minimovie made up a block of Camden films that screened both days to the delight of local film-lovers.
The City of Camden and the Kershaw County Tourism Partnership also supported the tour stop. The Marley Project received grants that provided for three billboards within a 20-mile radius and 22 additional digital boards seen throughout the southeast, thanks to the efforts and support of the SC PRT and Tourism Director Suzi Sale.
In addition, the City of Camden declared it EQUUS Film Festival Week. A proclamation was read by Mayor Alfred Mae Drakeford to kick off the event on February 14th.
A huge thank you also goes to Kirk Mays and local media partner, KM Video Productions. Host Patty Rose of WPUB and Kool 102.7 radio interviewed many of the participants in this year’s festival. Columbia media also covered the event throughout the week through local television station, WIS TV and Palmetto Weekend. Click here for more information and links to the WIS coverage of the event.
Further thanks to Wayne Williams of Speaking of Horses Radio and TV for extended coverage on a national level. From radio interviews in advance to filmed interviews and highlight reels, Williams' platform gave detailed information on filmmakers, authors and artists, as well as broader views of the Camden area.
Visuals to Watch and More
Others who also deserve credit for making this event the huge success that it was go to First Palmetto Bank for their corporate sponsorship providing the space for The Marley Project Headquarters during the event, Heaven’s Gait Horse Sanctuary, Books on Broad for hosting an author’s book signing, and also to the Kershaw County Public Library for showcasing a Celebrity Read-A-Thon. Kristin Cobb and the Kershaw County Fine Arts Center hosted students from the Kershaw County and Fairfield County School Districts, both Arts in the Basic Curriculum sites, for special film-related events. Other supporters include The Arnold Foundation, The Tack Room, The Camden Media Group, The Chronicle Independent, Horry Georgetown Homebuilders Association, Nature’s View, Inc., JA Media Connections and the Camden Film Group.
The EQUUS Film Festival Camden’s second annual Tour Stop was a huge success and gave a host of artists, authors, filmmakers and the city of Camden some well-deserved exposure. For more about this event visit the website at www.equusfilmfestivalcamden.com. Mark your calendars now for next year’s event which will take place on February 23-25, 2018.
In the meantime, the EQUUS Film Festival will continue on with the next tour stop taking place at the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping & FEI World Cup™ Dressage Finals Omaha 2017, March 29-April 2.