For Florida A&M alumnus Greg Anderson, screenwriter of the film “Stomp the Yard,” being a guest speaker at the Covey Film Festival in Thomasville, Ga., is an event he knew he had to participate in.
The Tallahassee native said he feels that because of the great film history in the Thomasville and Tallahassee area, it is only right that it be recognized.
“People have been making movies in Florida before there was a Hollywood, California, in Wakulla, Jacksonville and Tallahassee,” Anderson said.
The Covey Festival is an event sponsored by the Thomasville Community Resource Center. The festival began Tuesday and will conclude Sunday.
“The festival is to both expose the community to a variety of films that demonstrate the resiliency of children and the power they have to change their circumstances, as well as to raise funds for the operation of the resource center,” said Sharon Ferguson, a member of the Thomasville Community Resource Center board of directors.
Anderson’s event is scheduled for today at the Thomasville Center for the Arts on 600 E. Washington St. The movie screening and Q-and-A session begins at 8 p.m., and the cost is $10. During his event, Anderson will discuss how to jump-start one’s career.
“My event is about finding how to start your career wherever you are,” Anderson said. “What I didn’t know when I was hoping, wishing and dreaming, I could’ve started my career before getting in the industry. You don’t always have to go to Hollywood or New York immediately, especially with the help of social media.”
Anderson said his experiences at FAMU and pledging Omega Psi Phi shaped how he wrote “Stomp the Yard,” in addition to the support of FAMU alumni who contributed to producing, behind-the-scenes efforts and publicizing the film.
“From the students to the people who pledged, it’s the experience and tradition of FAMU,” Anderson said. “When I see it alive on camera, I see what happened at FAMU on that screen.”
Among the guest speakers are stars such as Lucy Alibar, screenwriter for “Beasts of the Southern Wild;” Valerie Scoon, producer of “The Great Debaters;” and Jane Fonda, who is a two-time Academy Award winner, co-star of “The Butler” and founder of the Thomasville Community Resource Center.
People who attend these receptions and movie screening have the opportunity to hear each celebrity’s personal account to stardom.
“Individuals attending can meet producers, actors, screenwriters and directors who all come from or have ties to the greater Thomasville/Tallahassee communities and who have gone on to professional lives in the performing arts,” Ferguson said.
Anderson, in particular, was selected as a guest speaker because of his message in “Stomp the Yard.”
“Greg Anderson was recommended as one of our honorary host committee members and chosen to show his classic film ‘Stomp the Yard’ because of his commitment to youth and the message of his film for young people,” Ferguson said.
If there is one element Anderson hopes people who attend the film festival will gain, it is to show how one can use the media to reveal the true lives of children.
“Sometimes the media distorts the image of our children in our community with a message not the most positive,” Anderson said. “We want to use the media to inspire the children and the community. We can use it in different ways than before.”