Hikers uncover an ancient supernatural “secret” along the Appalachian Trail in Beacon Point. Above, John Briddell, left, and Rae Olivier in a scene from the Georgia-made film that will play at East Town Cinemas Sept. 9-15.

‘Sci-fi thriller’ filmed in north Georgia to be screened here

Meet and greet event in East Ellijay Saturday

The makers of an independent “sci-fi thriller” filmed along parts of the Appalachian Trail in north Georgia will bring their movie to East Ellijay this weekend.

Beacon Point will play at East Town Cinemas Sept.     9-15. A special Q&A session featuring the film’s director and cast members will follow the Saturday evening screening that begins at 7 p.m. 

Director and writer Eric Blue said his first feature-length film is centered around “a group of hikers who get lost along the Appalachian Trail.” The hikers stumble across “an ancient legend that causes some nasty things to happen,” he added.

  “It takes place in the Great Smokies, but because of the logistics and cost we shot a great deal in north Georgia,” Blue said. “We filmed in Dahlonega, Blairsville, Atlanta, Cherokee, N.C., and a little bit of Atlanta.”

Anyone who’s followed the scenic trail through upper Georgia and lower North Carolina will recognize several defining landmarks in scenes, Blue said.

“We shot on Blood Mountain right at the Walasi-Yi  Center, which is the only spot where the trail actually goes through a  building. We also shot at the observation deck of Clingman’s Dome, which is another iconic spot. You can actually see the AT markers in some scenes, so it’s the real deal,” he added.

Blue, an Atlanta resident who attended film school at Georgia State University, has directed several short films including 2007’s Lost Crossing featuring Melissa McBride, the actress best known for her current role as Carol Peletier on The Walking Dead

The influx of film industry professionals who’ve come to Georgia to work during the last five years has been a boon for both studio and indie filmmakers, Blue confirmed.

“I’m sort of getting all the spoils of the industry,” he continued. “Our makeup effects person does all the Walking Dead stuff. We had camera and audio people that have worked on big movies and shows like The Vampire Diaries (work on this film). I was able to have all this top-shelf talent work on my movie because they’re based in Georgia now because of the film industry.”

Several actors who appear in the film, like Rae Olivier (who portrays “Zoe,” a central character) and R.J. Shearer (whose credits include the 2015 drama Paper Towns and Fox TV’s Sleepy Hollow), also reside in Atlanta.

“The cool thing is the amount of talent and professionalism with the actors here,” Blue said. “It’s really cool to be able to cast and work with actors right out of my hometown.”

Beacon Point has not received an official MPAA rating. Blue said it does contain “some gore” and violence that is “fairly tame,” but should be suitable for ages 15 and up. 

Since its release in June, the movie has been screened at theaters in Blairsville, North Carolina  and Tennessee. 

“We’ve been getting a lot of people coming to the theaters and we’re building momentum as we go. We started by showing the movie in areas around where it was made, (like) Cherokee, N.C., and Pigeon Forge, Tenn., which bookend the area around the Great Smokies where we shot it,” Blue said. “We’ll be expanding to Alabama, South Carolina and Atlanta in the coming months.”

Blue has been using the door-to-door approach to get it screened.

“It helps to get a smaller theater where you can talk to the owner and show them the movie. So far, theater owners (we’ve shown it to) have thought it’s awesome. We’re getting into theaters, basically, on the merit of the movie,”  he explained. 

  East Town Cinemas co-owner Hannah Towns    said she and her husband, Jeremy, are excited about the opportunity to screen a Georgia-made film. 

“This is the first time we will have directors and actors from a movie in our theater,” said Towns. “It being a Georgia production means a lot to us. Having what’s kind of a local story play in a local move theater just has a hometown sort of feel. It’s neat that we get to be part of something like that.”

Beacon Point will show at the East Ellijay theater for one week at regular showtimes, confirmed Towns. It will also play at 4:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, but only the 7 p.m. showing will feature the event with members of the cast and crew.

“I’m going to be up there, as will some of the producers,” said Blue. “We’re going to bring some of the actors up and we’ll do a Q&A. We’ll have some prizes and shirts to give away and we’ll be signing some posters. It’ll be a lot of fun.”

Times Courier

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