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July 1 – ‘Hell or High Water’ to Premiere at Big River Film Festival July 7 to 10 in Savannah

Brunswick Business Journal Staff Report

July 1, 2016 - The Big River Film Festival is set for this week in Savannah, and will feature the premiere of the action thriller “Hell or High Water” starring Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine and Ben Foster.  The screening will be held on Friday, July 8, at 7 p.m. at the Carmike 10 Savannah Theatre. The movie, directed by David Mackenzie, premiered to universal acclaim at the Cannes Film Festival in May, and will open in theaters everywhere in August.

The Big River Film Festival is a new, international film festival that will offer access to creative voices through film programming, master classes, live performances and conversations with the most compelling film artists working today.   The festival is a chance to discover new films and new voices as well as experience the art of film making and explore TV, Web series and alternative media.

This is the first year of the festival, and features a distinguished Jury and Advisory Board of movie and television leaders.

Samone Norsworthy is the CEO and Co-Founder of the Big River Film Festival with Matt Norsworthy COO & Co-Founder.

The festival will offer a number of classes and presentations to learn more about the industry, and meet local industry leaders, as well as a long list of films being shown at venues around the city.

The complete schedule is available at the website:

About “Hell or High Water”

“Hell or High Water” is about two brothers finding their way in a collision of the Old and New West. Toby, played by Chris Pine, is a straight-living, divorced father trying to make a better life for his son. Tanner, played by Ben Foster, is a short-tempered ex-con with a loose trigger finger.

They come together to rob branch after branch of the bank that is foreclosing on their family land as part of a last-ditch scheme to take back a future that powerful forces beyond their control have stolen from beneath their feet.

The plan is working until they find themselves in the cross hairs of a relentless, foul-mouthed Texas Ranger (Jeff Bridges) looking for one last triumph on the eve of his retirement. As the brothers get ready for a final robbery, a showdown looms between the “last honest law man” and a pair of brothers with nothing to live for except family. It is a CBS Films production. More information is available on the film, including when it will play in local theaters, at  Tickets are available at the Savannah Civic Center and via the Internet at


The Jury

This year’s Jury President and Jury members include Dr. Nathaniel Kohn, Jury President, with the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at UGA. He is the Associate Director of the George Foster Peabody Awards, festival director of Roger Ebert's Film Festival, and director of the University of Georgia MFA program in screenwriting.  Dr. Kohn produced Zulu Dawn starring Burt Lancaster and Peter O’Toole; the independent feature Somebodies, which premiered at Sundance (2006); Rain, the Bahamas’ first indigenous feature which premiered at Toronto (2007) and on Showtime (2010); the feature film Bottleworld (2010); he was Executive Producer on the BET television series Somebodies (2008); he was Producer on the feature length documentary Bayou Maharajah that premiered at the SXSW Festival (2013); he produced the Emmy Award-winning short documentary Ebertfest 2012; and he was Executive Producer on The 73rd and 74th Annual Peabody Awards Specials for PivotTV/Participant Media (2014 and 2015).

Also on the Jury are:

  • Rich Henrich, Producer, Director, Screenwriter, an Emmy Award-winning Producer, Director and Screenwriter. He is the founder and director of the Albuquerque Film Festival, which he launched with the late Dennis Hopper in 2009. For the past eight years, Rich has founded and programmed AMFM Fest in Flagstaff, AMFM Fest in Palm Springs, and serves as moderator and head of panels and workshops for the Durango Film Festival in Colorado.  He has served as an advisor/ consultant for the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival, Santa Fe Film Festival, Prescott Film Festival, Ecuador International Film Festival, Newport Beach Film Festival, San Diego Film Festival and the Anaheim Film Festival.  He is currently in post-production on the feature, Serpent in the Bottle, a psychological thriller, starring Michael Madsen and John Diehl. He is in pre-production on the indie horror film, Death In The Canyon, to be filmed August 2016. Henrich is a Contributing Faculty at The Film School at Santa Fe University of Art and Design where he teaches Screenwriting, Directing and Production. He has also lectured at several universities in the U.S., Ecuador and Norway. Mr. Henrich is also on the board of New Mexico Lawyers for the Arts and a past member of Coachella Valley Economic Partnership’s committee on Arts, Media and Entertainment in CA. In addition, he is a feature writer for the Coachella Valley Weekly where he covers music, art and politics. 
  • Alexis Nelson, Producer, the Emmy-nominated Executive Producer and founder of the award-winning digital production and management studio, HOAX Films. She partnered with William Mark McCullough to establish development and production company, Fort Argyle Films, with offices in Los Angeles and Savannah.  She was nominated for her first EMMY in 2014 for her work in Art Direction and Graphic Design on the History Channel’s Ultimate Guide to the Presidents.  She graduated from UCLA with a BA in Design Media Arts and a minor in Film and Television, and has been recognized industry-wide as an emerging and innovative leader, beginning her career at Motion Theory and Warner Bros. where she was involved in projects for Buick, Heineken, and Tanqueray.
  • Susie Hohenstein, Actress, a Savannah native who is a professional actress of the stage and screen. She recently finished filming a recurring role on HBO's new show Vice Principals as Mrs. Kingsbury.  Susie fosters talent through collaborative projects and is a member of the Savannah Actor's Guild.
  • Victor Pisano, Writer, Director, Producer, Writer, Producer and Director.  After graduate work in Rome, Italy, Victor started his career under contract at 20th Century Fox Studios in Beverly Hills, CA., as a screenwriter where he wrote the original screenplay, "VOICE OF THE NORTH END” for famed Director, Martin Ritt. “Hundreds” of Film and Television projects then followed as Writer, Producer and Director.  In 1990, Victor met and married Judy Belushi, widow of John Belushi. They, together with actor Dan Aykroyd, were involved in the formation and development of an entertainment restaurant/venue called, The House of Blues.  
  • William Mark McCullough, Actor, Producer, who currently lives in Savannah, where he relocated from Los Angeles. He holds a bachelors degree in political theory and theatre from Mercer University as well as a law degree from American University in Washington, DC. Mark has brought his brand of intense, violent and unpredictable characters to numerous films and TV shows. He will appear in a supporting role opposite Tom Cruise in the upcoming drug smuggling thriller, Mena. Mark just wrapped a supporting lead role opposite Nicolas Cage, John Cusack and Adrian Grenier in the crime thriller, Southern Fury. He appears in The Birth Of A Nation, which won top honors at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. Mark will be seen in the upcoming Matthew McConaughey Civil War epic, ‘Free State Of Jones.’ He acts opposite John Schneider and Joe Anderson in My Father Die, which premiered at the 2016 South By Southwest Film Festival. Mark stars opposite Michael Ironside in the horror film, Patient Seven coming to theaters in late 2016. Mark has a recurring role in the new series Underground on WGN America and he is currently working on the second season of PBS's Mercy Street.  In addition to acting, Mark is also a filmmaker. He has written, directed and produced several projects through his production company, Fort Argyle Films.
  • Shayna Weber, a Screenwriter and Producer focusing on female-driven projects and plans to start her own production company in the future.    She is part of TwinBridges Screenwriting Salon.   Shayna has also been a producer of reality programming for the past 15 years for both network and cable including the hit shows "So You Think You Can Dance," "Brew Dogs," and RuPaul's Drag Race."  She resides in Los Angeles. 

The Advisory Board of Big River Film Festival

The Advisory Board of Big River International Film Festival consists of individuals who have a significant interest in advancement of the filmmaking industry including Charles Bowen, Esq. of The Bowen Law Group, based out of Savannah.  Atty. Bowen is a business attorney who focuses on commercial, banking, entertainment and manufacturing law. He founded the Savannah Film Alliance in 2015 in an effort to grow the local film and television industry. 


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