Saturday, August 25, 2018

Meet the 2018 SWFF Jury!

We would like to introduce you to the amazing men and women who made up this year’s Jury Members.  At the head of this year’s event sat Kevin L. Powers as the Festival Judge and underneath him was a group of dedicated film-makers and film lovers who judged all the submissions and helped decide what was to be screened this year and what films deserved to be nominated for awards.  They had a hard task to dwindle down the huge list of amazing shorts and features from all over the world from animation to fantasy, from horror to science fiction, and experimental to non-fiction.  It was a monumental task for which we at Something Wicked FF are entirely grateful.

Anne McCarthy
A writer/producer/director of short films whose films Movie Night and Monster in the Wash (both 2014) screened at Something Wicked Film Festival from previous years.  Although now living in California she is originally from Georgia and got her start in live theater before moving and focusing on film work.

Dave R. Watkins
Dave R. Watkins is a Georgia based Director, Producer, Writer & Actor. He directs and starts in the Comedy Web Series "Lumber Baron of Jasper County" and he is producing and directing a new Psychological Thriller series called "Herman Jones". He also directed the feature length movies "Stragglers" and the "Return of the Jackalope" and starred in the Lions Gate release of Jack O'Lantern.

David Young
David Young first discovered his passion for film while he attended high school in a small town in Virginia. Devouring classics by Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, Ridley Scott and many more, he decided to enroll in the New York Film Academy's filmmaking program upon graduation in 2005. There, he received a crash course in everything from directing to screenwriting to editing and even acting, all of which he put to use when co-founding a filmmakers' club in college. With an eventual BS in Computer Science and an additional formal training in audio recording and engineering, David moved to Atlanta to pursue a career in the entertainment industry in 2011. Since then, he has been working as a professional live sound engineer at multiple venues around the metro area. He has lent his services as a production sound mixer to recently-released feature film "Go Mad and Mark" which debuted at the Plaza Theater, and he continues to moonlight as a boom mic operator and sound editor/mixer as projects arise. 
Nate Hill

Nate Hill lives in the Atlanta area and reads more horror novels and comics than could be considered healthy. He’s also the writer of the graphic novel “Giant Robot Warrior Maintenance Crew,” and the co-writer of the forthcoming online series “Herman Jones.” 

Chris Simoes
Simoes is a film-maker based out of Georgia.  He is the writer/producer/director of the feature films Bigfoot: The Curse of Blood Mountain (2015), which screened at SWFF in a previous year, and most recently Halfway to Hell: The Movie (2018) which had a special World Festival Premiere this year.

Heather Place
Heather Place is a Charlotte-based, award winning Actor/Producer, member of SAG-AFTRA, Founding Member of Falling Tree Films, and Managing Partner of Four Leaf Features, LLC. Heather has worked as a professional actress for over 25 years in theatre, film, television and as a voice-over artist.
Some of Place's credits include, the cult favorite "Basketcase 3" and several independent films which have won awards on the festival circuit.  Some of her award winning "indies" include:  "Searching for Signals", "Winter's Tale", "Muted" and "We Three Kings". Heather also produced and acted in the short film, "Second Wind Storms McKenzie Farms", which won the award for "Best Short or Web Series" at the Georgia Entertainment Awards. She is currently in pre-production on two feature films: "Forgotten Word", a religious thriller, and “Alive and Kicking”, a Southern ensemble comedy set in an Assisted Living Center. Heather is part of the producing team for both projects and will play roles in both films.
Here's the link to Heather’s IMDb page: 

Regina PArtee
Regina Partee is a graduate of Full Sail University with a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing, of Georgia State University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Film, and a graduate of The New York Film Academy director’s certificate program.

Regina has written, produced and directed several short films, a documentary, musical stage plays and a sketch comedy television show that ran for two seasons on a local station in Atlanta. She has also written multiple short films, feature films and television shows for multiple independent production companies.

Most recently, Regina developed the characters for the upcoming production “Coming of Age.” She has also added author to her title with her book, Bold Obedience, and is currently working a musical stage production.

Regina’s related work experience includes an internship at Rainforest Films as a script consultant, a script supervisor on a short film for Blank Stage Productions, and a screenwriting instructor for the Independent Black Film Festival in Atlanta.

Some of Regina’s accomplishments are: Best Sci-Fi Short (Goodnight Princess), Women in Film Atlanta Short Film Showcase 2015; Honorable mention (A Latte’ Love Story), Short Film Showcase 2013 for Women in Film Atlanta; Quarter-finalist, Creative Screenwriting Cyberspace Open Competition in 2009; Full Sail Course Director Award in Editing for Film, Games and Animation for Outstanding Script Coverage; Full Sail Course Director Award in Creative Writing Portfolio II for Outstanding Writing; and graduated with a 4.0 from Full Sail University. 

Regina is a member of Women in Film and Television Atlanta and Women in Film and Television International.

Joshua Haire
Joshua Haire has been acting in Atlanta for 8 years and has appeared in This Old Machine (2017), Murder Comes To Town (2018), Full Count (2018), 3am Live (2018), All Hallows Evil: Lord of the Harvest (2012), and most recently Herman Jones (which was the Opening Night film for this year’s festival), among many other titles. His love for the arts and craft of acting drive his passion for film and he is excited to be a judge this year!

Evan Avers

Evan Avers is a graduate of Kennesaw State University with a BA in English. Evan is twenty-three years old and is a native of Gwinnett County. He works as a high school teacher and has a love for film of every sort. Evan is very excited for the opportunity to get to share in the art of so many wonderful filmmakers, and he hopes you'll find his feedback valuable.

Philip Wray
Philip Wray (Judge)- This is the first time Philip has been a part of the Something Wicked Film Festival but he is no stranger to film festivals. Philip served as a volunteer and volunteer chair for the Milledgeville Film Festival in 2014 and 2015. He also worked as a production assistant for the film, “Side Harm” that was submitted to the Atlanta Film Festival in 2015. He has also worked as an extra, production assistant, and assistant director for a couple of other short films and television pilots. When Philip isn’t judging, he mostly works as a freelance theater lighting designer and technician.

[No Bio at This Time.]

Special Thanks to Our Amazing Staff!

The Something Wicked Film Festival is a year in the making with a lot of hard working people dedicating their time and volunteering for the three days of the event.  As such, I know that a lot of the time these people go unrecognized, but they are the true backbone and grease that keeps the wheels of the festival spinning from year to year and therefore I’d like to take just a few moments to name some of the key players in the SWFF family.

Howard Carter
First off is my Co-Festival Director Howard Carter.  In addition to assisting me with the organization of the event Carter is the one responsible for the Opening Night Filmmaker reception.  I’m always so busy just getting the regular business stuff done and Carter is there to make sure all our Sponsors and Film-makers have a good time at the Opening Night Reception.    He also happens to make sure I keep my sanity throughout the year.

Travis Joseph
Next is our Festival Technical Supervisor Travis Joseph.  Even though he’s stepped down this year from being the main person responsible for all technical aspects of the festival, he remained on board to help us out on the Awards Ceremony and other things since he wasn’t available during the actual event this year.  He’s also been instrumental in helping us through the years with filming and editing many of the festival’s video content.

Ted Rubin
Ted Rubin is also a key member of our family.  For the last three years he has dedicated himself as the Website Designer for the film festival.  He’s been with us since the very beginning and has put his artistic talents on the pages of the website, so, we hope you enjoy.

Jim Adams

Jim Adams has been “unofficially” with us all three years and it wasn’t until this year that we gave him the title of Festival Panel Moderator.  The Panel Discussion are such a huge part of the SWFF experience that we’re ecstatic that Adams has joined us.

Byron C. Erwin
Byron C. Erwin (Graphic Designer) has also been a huge contributor to our SWFF as he has designed all three years of our amazing festival posters!  Each year he amazes all of us with his new designs that we use the entire year to advertise and promote our event.

Laura Blatterman
Last year we also added two more members to our team Tycoa Noble and Laura Blatterman, as our Festival Event Manager/Vendor Sales and Outreach Manager, respectfully.  We are glad to have them aboard as they will continue to help us grow year-by-year.

Whitney Black
I want to take a few moments to thank some of the people that are not part of our Main Team but are still just as important.  Our Red Carpet Host this year was Barbara Romero who was also one of our two Awards Ceremony Hosts this year; Whitney Black returned this year as our second Awards Ceremony Host (last year was her first year with us).  These actresses did an amazing job this year and we hope they’ll be back with us again.

Another major contribution to this year’s event is all the amazing people that made up this year’s Jury Members!  This included the film-makers Anne McCarthy, Dave R. Watkins, Phillip Wray, David Young, Nate Hill, Chris Simoes, Heather Place, Gina Partee, Joshua Haire, Evan Avers, and Sam Wilson.  This year’s Jury viewed an amazing number of submissions and were responsible for this year’s Award Recipients!  Without their help I would have had a lot of films to view on my own.

There are other volunteer and support staff that help us out each year and continue to make each year of SWFF better than the one before.  Without the help of everyone, SWFF would not be possible and I’m proud to include them as part of our growing family.  We hope that everyone enjoyed this year’s event and look forward to bringing you even more for 2019!

For more info about SWFF visit us at and on Facebook at and on Instagram @somethingwickedff or Twitter @SWFilmFestival1

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Dave Watkins: The Man Behind HERMAN JONES!

HERMAN JONES is the latest production from Georgia film-maker Dave R. Watkins and the feature length version will be making its way to film festivals across the country!  If you haven’t already heard about this maverick film-maker then you just haven’t seen the various short films and features he’s produced, written, directed, or starred in for almost twenty years. Watkins got his start as an actor in suck low budget films as The Middle of Nowhere (2002) and Jack O’Lantern (2004) before writing and producing his first web series Witch Hunters Extraordinaire, a quirky comedy and fantasy series.  Following this, Watkins worked in front and behind the scenes on several short films before directing his first feature Stragglers (2004), which he also starred and provided the screenplay for.  This led to his participation in the feature Return of the Jackalope (2006).  Return of the Jackalope was slow to film an audience so Watkins continued to hone his craft as an actor, writer, producer, or director in a string of short films from the zombie films Dead Vengeance (2009) and Zombieween (2009) but also in other genres such as Garbage Day (2008), Have Me For Dinner (2008), and Second Chances (2009).  In this time, he also managed to be a part of a few notable films (but varying degrees of importance) such as Dance of the De  It was with this experience on these bigger productions that Watkins would use his talents to create his most popular and enduring characters The Lumber Baron in the web series The Lumber Baron of Jasper County (2011-Present).
ad (2008), Bad Land (2007), The Other Side (2006) and Hell’s End (2005).

The Lumber Baron web series and spin-off short films was created by Watkins and frequent collaborator Michael D. Friedman and tells the misadventures of a cast of colorful characters in a lumber yard.  The series is funny, and you never know what’s going to happen next.  The series stars Watkins and Friedman but also a “who’s who” of Georgia talent such as Candace Mabry, Grant Garlinghouse, J.R. Francis, Brandy Goins, Ashlee Heath, Chris Burns, Jacki Flynn, and many, many more.  Even though the initial web series has run its course, this long running series continues to keep on going through various holiday themed specials and other shorts.

It was with the success of this web series that Herman Jones was born.  A horror-thriller completely removed from the world of the Lumber Baron (although it stars many of the actors from that series), Herman Jones started off as a nine-episode web series before being fine tuned into the feature film it currently is.  I don’t want to give away too much or spoil anything, but Joshua Haire stars a Herman Jones, a recluse who lives in his sister Jennifer’s (Amber Erwin) basement and suffers from delusions of a Mr. Murk (Watkins) and others that talk to him with only some pills to keep them at bay.  As his relationship with his girlfriend Christy (Krissy Notes) depends his world starts to unravel allowing Mr. Murk to have an influence which leads to some harrowing revelations that Herman may not be ready to handle yet.

I was able to sit down and talk with Watkins about his new film right after it’s World Festival Premiere at Something Wicked Film Festival (

SOMETHING WICKED: What was the inspiration for HERMAN JONES?
DAVE WATKINS: Several years back, co-writer Nate Hill sent me an outline for a story called “Herman Jones Cannibal Slayer” and the name "Herman Jones" called to me.  We ended up not using much of the original outline except for the Herman character and the idea of a Cannibal Cult.

SW: How was the writing process for this production as opposed to any of your previous ones?
DW: It was similar in that after thinking about it for some time I sat down and started typing out the episodes, and as I did the story and the characters started coming together and after a few weeks I had rough drafts for the episodes.   Most of the structure stayed the same after that but I would go back and forth with Nate on the drafts and we would continue to tweak the dialogue and flesh out some of the ideas and the characters.  Eventually Nate brought in Michael Van Cleve to look over the episode scripts and he had some terrific and honest notes that helped fix a few plot holes and character beats.

SW: What was one of the most difficult aspects of this production?
DW: Scheduling the shoots and finding the time to do them.  It ended up taking a lot longer to shoot than I had anticipated, I was used to shooting fast with the comedy web series "Lumber Baron of Jasper County", but this was a different animal.

SW: Why did you originally choose to make it a web series?
DW: I like the format from a writing standpoint.  There’s something about the structure of the episodes that makes sense to me, it lends a little creative freedom that a rigid structured movie script doesn't.  I used to watch a lot of movies but now I mostly watch television and writing a web series is like writing a TV show.

SW: Will there be a Season 2?
DW: I would love to do more, but I’m not sure at this point.  I have some ideas about where the story and characters would go next, but don’t have a strong grasp on it yet.  Season One was a huge time commitment and I hesitate to jump back into it, but on the other hand I am invested in these characters.

SW: Tell me a little about the casting for HERMAN JONES.
DW: After we had all the scripts in a good place, I reached out to Joshua Haire to play Herman.  After he took the role, with Josh's help we built the rest of the cast from people we've worked with before and/or wanted to work with.  We didn’t audition anyone and I took a few leaps of faith on casting some actors I'd never worked with before, luckily it all worked out well.  

SW: Do you prefer to use actors that you’ve worked with before?  Why?
DW: I do often cast people I've worked with before, but I also enjoy pulling new people into the mix.  It depends on the character, it's nice to have the peace of mind knowing that the actor is going to pull it off and be reliable.   Also, I must say, this cast was terrific.  Everyone clicked together, and they were invested in their characters and they were all right for the parts that they played, and they were also understanding of the conditions we had to shoot in.  It makes a directors' job a lot easier when you have that.  There's a lot of chemistry between the cast members and some of that has come from the ease of working with the same people before.

SW: Why did you decide to also star in the show? 
DW: I don't play Herman Jones so I'm not the star, but the character I play, Mr. Murk, is in it a significant amount.  Sometimes it helps me connect better with the story and the other actors, but in this case it was also about not having to schedule another actor for almost every shoot for a character who often only looms in the background.

SW: Tell me a little about the character you play in HERMON JONES.
DW: There's eventually more to it than this, but it's a shadowy figure that follows Herman around and only Herman can see and hear it.  Like an imaginary friend that has manifested itself into reality.

SW:  One final question, what’s next for you?
DW: I’m working on producing some more “Lumber Baron” comedy content and considering doing some horror shorts.

You can look for HERMAN JONES to come to film festivals everywhere and to learn more about this and other productions from Dave Watkins go to IMDB - or

SWFF 2022 "Best of the Festival" Screening!

On July 30th at 8:00 PM Something Wicked Film Festival with unveil their pick for the "Best of the Festival" films (not chosen by ...