An Evans independent filmmaker recently earned praise for his work at a North Carolina film festival.
The short drama A Rose for the Little Lady , the brainchild of Rob Forbes, garnered an Honorable Mention Award at the 13th annual Twin Rivers Multimedia Film Festival in Asheville, N.C.
"It is a Hollywood event outside of Hollywood," Forbes said of the Asheville festival, where he screened his film in February. "The people that were there were there because they appreciated independent film and the art of it."
The short film chronicles the lives of three people seven years following high school and how their fates intertwined through their choices.
"It kind of shows what happens when people make good decisions and when people make bad decisions," Forbes said. "I wanted to try to tell a story that kind of makes people think. ... Karma comes back in unexpected ways."
The true character of Ricky, a high-school quarterback, is revealed as he struggles to move on with his life after an injury crushes his dream of an NFL career.
The pregnant waitress Beth, who Forbes said he based on his sister, is someone "pounded by life," but who continues to make good choices and be friendly with everyone who crosses her path.
Chuck "Take It to the Bank" Behovic is the epitome of bad choices and the misery those choices create.
"A Rose for the Little Lady is a powerfully visual cinematic illustration of the phrase, 'Choices are definitely defining moments which will ultimately determine one's destiny,'" Jack Moe said in a review of the film. "(The film) shows how the fate of three people is intertwined as a direct result of their collective choices."
Forbes is the commercial production and client services manager for NBC-Augusta, where he has produced more than 1,500 TV commercials and long-form and film programs. He got the bug for filmmaking in 1987 while working as assistant artistic director for the movie 1969 , starring Robert Downey Jr., Kiefer Sutherland and Winona Ryder.
For Forbes, creating his own independent film was a dream. It also was a labor of love that was five years in the making and one that nearly didn't get completed.
"That was an interesting journey in itself," Forbes said of the making of the film.
Forbes worked with Tim Johnson, the associate producer of the film, on a few projects, including Johnson's independent film. Forbes finished his 23-page screenplay while working with Johnson and began production in 1999.
Forbes got the movie shot on 16-millimeter film and sent the second half of the film to a Boston processing house, where it inadvertently sat on the loading dock for six weeks. The film was heat-damaged and unusable, Forbes said.
"So I lost a little more than half of the film," Forbes said. "At that point ... I almost just abandoned the project because the idea of having to go back and redo all that work seemed like a daunting task. It seemed impossible."
Some scenes just couldn't be recreated. Also, Forbes faced the task of reshooting scenes that featured his daughter, Stephanie, who had aged five years during production of the film.
"I basically decided that all the work that had gone into it at that point was worthy of trying to finish it," Forbes said. "Looking back, I am really amazed that it didn't die. I am amazed I was able to keep it going."
The delay and reshoots turned out to be a happy accident, Forbes said, because the necessary rewrites to adjust for the lost footage and his daughter's age changes made the story more interesting.
Forbes premiered the film at Fort Discovery in the fall of 2004.
Seeing the film on the festival screen before a receptive audience was very satisfying, Forbes said.
"It made me feel like all the effort of all those people who did all this work on this thing for nothing was appreciated," Forbes said.
The most rewarding part of the festival wasn't the award, Forbes said, but the question-and-answer session he held after the film screening among people who appreciate independent film.
"That was the best part," Forbes said of the session. "In the end, it made me feel like all the work we'd done for the past five years was worth it."
Forbes said he already has a new project underway, a 48-page screenplay about a little girl with cancer. The film takes more artistic chances, but Forbes said he learned a lot from his first film.
He said he hopes to begin shooting during the summer or fall.
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