ST. MARYS — Independent filmmaker Mahmoud Shoolizadeh keeps returning to St. Marys to make movies for a reason.
He just finished filming for his latest movie “Daddy,” where about 90 percent of the scenes were shot during the past month.
“The Coastal Georgia Film Alliance had a special and crucial role in making the film, especially in finding the locations and getting the shooting permission in the beautiful city of St. Marys,” Shoolizadeh said.
Local actors played roles, including one, Ian Doherty, of St. Marys, who played one of the leading parts.
The script is about a teenage boy who learns his girlfriend is pregnant and tries to prepare for fatherhood but is faced with a shocking and unexpected challenge when he arrives at the hospital.
“In this film, the main characters, Sarah and Ray, are around 14 years old and both are very pure and in their childhood innocence,” Shoolizadeh said. “I want to make the audience feel sympathy toward those two very young lead roles and see how they are so sweet and lovable and how the challenge to solve this big problem they face affects their lives.”
Remaining to be done is editing, the soundtrack and other post production tasks, which could take up to three months.
“Daddy” will be sent to international film festivals across the world after it is completed, he said.
The first public viewing will be in St. Marys to show appreciation of the help and cooperation by city officials and the film alliance, Shoolizadeh said.
Barbara Ryan, vice-chair of the Coastal Georgia Film Alliance, said movies showcasing the five-county region help with economic development.
“The Coastal Georgia Film Alliance’s access to resources in a five-county region has made the area desirable and competitive for filming,” she said. “We roll out the red carpet for filmmakers.”
Doug Vaught, chair of the film alliance, said it’s always a challenge finding the perfect location for filming, but it’s worth the work when a producer such as Shoolizadeh returns to Georgia to make movies.
The Iranian film director and screenwriter has been the recipient of several awards, including best film for “Noora,” at the 49th Taormina International Film Festival in Italy in June 2003.
He also has won awards for “The Prisoner,” which was filmed in St. Marys, including Best Short Fiction Film Award and Best Supporting Actor Award in Hollywood Cinerockom International Film Festival October 2013 and Honorable Mention Jury Award in Indie Fest USA International Film Festival October 2013.
“It’s great that somebody of his award winning quality keeps coming back to work with the Coastal Georgia Film Alliance,” Vaught said. “He’s always very appreciative.”