April 30, 2013
13-153

Jessica Pope
Communications Specialist

Jason Brown’s “Miracle Boy” Wins Indie Grits Film Festival

VALDOSTA — “Miracle Boy,” produced by Jason Brown, took top prize at the 2013 Indie Grits Festival, held in Columbia, S.C., April 12-21. A short film winning the title of “Top Grit” for best overall film at the annual festival is such a rare feat that no one could verify if it had ever happened before.

“‘Miracle Boy’ never looked better on the big screen than it did at Indie Grits, which just made even more people talk about how beautiful it is,” said Brown, an assistant professor in Valdosta State University’s Department of Communication Arts. “We were able to shoot in one of the most beautiful places in the world and that comes across up on the screen. Hearing how some of the film’s frames look like painting compositions was a huge compliment, but so was how the story of accountability reached people of all ages in the audience.”

“Miracle Boy” celebrated its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival in Italy in September 2012. The 17-minute film tells the story of a boy who is injured in a farming accident and then subsequently bullied by other boys. Before long, one of the “mean” boys realizes the error of his ways and risks his life to try to right the wrong. It was adapted for the screen by Jake Mahaffy from a short story written by West Virginia native Pinckney Benedict, and it was shot entirely in Williamsburg, W.Va., receiving support from the Greenbrier Valley Theater, the local community, and a mini grant from the West Virginia Humanities Council.

“We are so excited to be able to bring this film to so many people,” said Brown, who is also a West Virginia native. “Because of the powerful message of the film, bullying and taking responsibility for our actions, it’s important that we continue to find larger and larger audiences. You can only make the best film possible and hope that people connect with the film as deeply as we have.”

The Indie Grits Festival, which began in 2007, is designed to empower independent Southern filmmakers of all levels.

During the weekend of April 19-21, “Miracle Boy” also played at the West Virginia International Film Festival, the Nashville Film Festival, and the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival.

“We’ll be screening at the Maryland Film Festival in Baltimore May 9 and May 11,” Brown said. “We are awaiting word on a few more festivals in the coming weeks.”

Brown earned a Bachelor of Arts in communication arts from Concord University in West Virginia in 1997, a Master of Arts in screenwriting and film studies from Hollins University in Virginia in 2004, and a Master of Fine Arts in film and video production from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2008. His teaching experience includes positions at Lander University, Bowling Green State University, McNeese State University, West Virginia State University, and his alma maters. He has worked as a producer, director, writer, and/or editor on more than a dozen productions and served in various capacities at a number of film festivals. He joined the VSU Mass Media faculty in the fall of 2012. His area of professional focus is on growing indigenous filmmakers in underdeveloped areas.

"While many states and countries have instituted incentives to bring Hollywood productions to town, some communities are using their resources to support local filmmakers to tell local stories,” he said.

Brown is in the process of finishing a longer documentary about the John Sayles film “Matewan,” while also developing a few additional narrative projects.

“My goal is to follow through with creating raw, real films from less-represented areas of the world, like Appalachia and rural Georgia,” he said. “This summer, I am also working with the South Georgia Regional Library to present a short workshop about creating family documentaries with tools they may already have at home.”

Contact Jason Brown at (229) 219-1298 or jasonebrown@valdosta.edu for more information.

On the Web:

www.facebook.com/MiracleBoyMovie

http://blogs.wvgazette.com/wvfilm/2013/01/07/miracle-boy-great-new-wv-film/#more-6147

www.miracleboy-movie.com

www.indiegrits.com