Tuesday, January 08, 2013

‘East Side’ is just part of the story

"East Side" dance rehearsal at NW FL State College.
PANAMA CITY — The world is taking note of Bay County — whether as the setting for a new film, or as the home of accomplished actors, writers and musicians. Here are just a few recent examples:

  • Another round of dance auditions for “East Side Story” took place Sunday at the Gulf Coast State College Wellness Center. The movie is in pre-production now and will begin shooting this month in Panama City Beach.
Film Commissioner Julie Gordon will speak at today’s joint meeting of the Bay County and Panama City Beach chambers of commerce, where she’ll introduce “East Side Story” writer/producer/director David Winter and choreographer Brandon Bryant. The joint chamber meeting will be at the Florida State University-Panama City Campus Holley Academic Center. Networking starts at 7:30 a.m. and the program will begin at 8 a.m. (In December, Winters was a guest of the Panama City Beach Senior Center’s pot luck dinner; two tickets were drawn awarding Senior Center members a lunch on the set with the cast during production.)

  • The Owsley Brothers, a punk/blues/garage band that grew out of Panama City resident Jerad Reynolds’ “bedroom recording project,” had one of its original songs, “Blood and Fire,” featured on the ABC TV series “Revenge” that broadcast Sunday evening. Reynolds is also manager at Quincy Ave. Art & Things in Seaside.
  • Ryan Didato, a 2006 graduate of Bay High, appears as the male lead in the Christian romance, “The Way of Love,” an independent film directed by George Jiha. The movie had a limited theatrical release in 2012 and should be released on DVD later this year.
“It was just a really small movie made for the Christian market,” said Didato, who has worked professionally in south Florida since graduating from New World School of the Arts in Miami in 2010. A member of Actors Equity, the union for professional stage actors, he recently co-wrote a web series called “Morning Wood,” which also should be out soon, and is living in New York City, where he’s auditioning for roles.

  • The work of playwright and Panama City native Matthew Lopez, “The Legend of Georgia Mcbride,” will be featured at the Colorado New Play Summit Feb. 8-10, sponsored by the Denver Center Theatre Co. Lopez is described as one of the brightest rising stars in the playwriting community.
His debut production, “The Whipping Man,” premiered Off-Broadway at Manhattan Theatre Club in 2011, earning him the John Gassner Playwriting Award from the Outer Critics Circle. Tony Award winner Doug Hughes directed “The Whipping Man,” which starred Emmy-winning actor Andre Braugher.

  • Panama City native Brooklyn Winters will premiere her feature film, “Tumbling: The Movie,” at the Martin Theatre in downtown Panama City on April 20. Winters wrote the screenplay, produced the film and cast it. Shot in Tampa Bay, Miami, Jacksonville and Orlando, “Tumbling” is about an elite organized crime unit with a traitor on the team.
 (My column for PanamaCity.com and The News Herald for Friday, Jan. 11, 2013.)
(Photo Credit: Julie Gordon, Bay County Film Commissioner)
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