Once Upon a Time in Bainbridge: FSU students film comedy short film in city hall, around downtown and city square

Published 4:01 pm Friday, March 17, 2023

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A small film crew has been filming around Bainbridge’s downtown over the course of the week, though the finished movie won’t be something you can just go to any theatre and see, as this crew is not from Hollywood or L.A., but Florida State University. The group of Master’s students have filmed in city hall and at various locations around downtown, including Willis Park, shopfronts and the Firehouse Art Gallery. The film, titled “Dead Presidents”, is described by producer Gabrielle Chapmen as an action-comedy, and centers on a pair of brothers attempting a bank robbery. When asked what drew the production to Bainbridge, Chapman explained, “It’s really got this small-town Southern vibe that the director and I were looking for for this film. It’s definitely representative of what a film backlot almost looks like, with these small buildings. Everything’s very, very filmable.” She continued, “We talked to Crystal Hines, and Roy Oliver and Frank Green, and they were just very helpful… everyone was just very inviting.” According to Chapman, they first became aware of Bainbridge last year, as another student film project had filmed here.

The director, Ryan Lilienfield, thanked the community for their help and hospitality during the shoot, saying, “I’d like to show my appreciation to the city of Bainbridge, and the community, and how everyone’s just welcomed us with open arms, and let us shoot in city hall and work with the police. It’s been an amazing experience in a beautiful town.”

Chapman explained how the project will be viewable, beginning with the premiere on August 5 at 7:00 PM, at the Ruby Diamond Concert Hall at FSU. “It’s open invite, the public is able to come. We always like to send invites to anyone in the community that’s helped out, and then our cast and crew of course,” she said. A livestream will also be available on FSU Film’s YouTube channel for three days after the event. Following this, the crew plan to submit the film to film festivals with the goal of potential wider distribution.

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Chapman likewise thanked the community,” I would just like to say thank you to this town and this entire community. It’s been incredible shooting here, we’ve had so much help. It’s definitely helped this vision come to life. I don’t think we could have done it anywhere else.”