BILOXI, MS (WLOX) –The Sun and Sand Film Festival’s inaugural function covered three cities and two counties in just four days. It aimed to bring attention to the Gulf Coast and ultimately create a garden for film production.
With music and pictures, it was a bittersweet goodbye on Sunday. “It was awesome,” said film producers Justin Wayoro and Rachel Ramirez.
Wayoro and Ramirez are just two of the many that came from across the country to experience the Sun and Sand Film Festival. “It’s our first time out in Mississippi. The opportunity was great,” said Ramirez.
As these film actors, directors, writers and producers came together for the last hooray, the purpose of the event became even more clear.
“The film festival becomes kind of the garden for film production,” said Director of the Mississippi Film Office Ward Emling. Emling said this week opened many people’s eyes. Emling, “There’s a lot of education on Mississippi. We’d go to trade shows and give away something from the Mississippi beach and they’d say, ‘There’s a beach?’”
Emling said the success of the festival cannot be determined until 2013 when research reveals the number of films produced on the coast as a result of the activity that happened at this week. To Mississippians, the success seemed evident. “I hope it grows and grows. I just think it’s a great opportunity for the people,” said Mississippian film producer Robbie Fisher.
“We’ve got to continue to showcase our talents, our crafts, our locations,” said Mississippian film director Francisco Gonzalez.
The event brought in big names like Kevin Costner and the produers of the “Twilight” series Eric Roberts and Mark Morgan. It aimed to combine those artists’ talents with the beauty and potential of the coast, hoping to create an opportunity that’s limitless.