May 22, 2022

Charlie Doodle

Unique Art & Entertainment

Student film documentary about Dalton, Georgia wins big at international film festival

3 min read
Caption

“Dalton: A Story of Survival” tells the story of Dalton, Georgia, and its struggles. (Contributed photo from Jacob Poag)

Credit: Handout/Jacob Poag

"Dalton: A Story of Survival" tells the story of Dalton, Georgia, and its struggles. (Contributed photo from Jacob Poag)
Caption

“Dalton: A Story of Survival” tells the story of Dalton, Georgia, and its struggles. (Contributed photo from Jacob Poag)

Credit: Handout/Jacob Poag

Credit: Handout/Jacob Poag

All that work has paid off. So far, the film has been selected for entry in three film festivals: the American Golden Picture International Film Festival, the Cobb International Film Festival and Virginia’s Global Film and Music Festival USA. The film has won one award, and Poag said being selected for entry in those festivals at all was an incredible honor.

“It is phenomenal that we were able to pull this off as students who have never done this before. We were the only students participating in the festival we won in, which felt really good for us because we were competing against adults,” he said. “I think it shows how hard everyone was willing to work and how amazing the story we wanted to tell was. Dalton is an extraordinary city and the story of how it came to be what it is today is amazing. It shows how strong the people here are and have always been.”

According to Poag, the 53-minute feature-length film tells the story of Dalton from the earliest days of the carpet industry through the establishment of Shaw Industries in town and the eventual addition of other large carpet companies in the community. It then chronicles the 2008 recession and the impact it had on the city and its businesses.

“Dalton was the second worst-hit city in the nation in 2008 but no one here gave up,” he said Wednesday. “People keep getting up and working hard. That’s why it’s a story of survival. The people who live here never quit.”

As of Wednesday, Poag and his collaborators in Dalton had not yet started work on a new film project. Instead, they are focused on expanding STEP Studio to college and university campuses across the state. Their ultimate goal, he said, is to see independent student films take off in Georgia and to turn STEP Studio into a nonprofit production company that supports that goal.

Students at Oglethorpe University and the University of North Georgia have already started putting together film teams. Poag said the Oglethorpe University team is already 15-members strong and has begun work on a script for its project.

“These guys are freshmen and have done this on their own,” he said. “The script is still being written but they should start filming soon.”

A screening of “Dalton: A Story of Survival” was held in October in Dalton for the historical society and Poag said future screenings are being planned now. Dates have not yet been finalized.

First published in the Chattanooga Times Free Press.


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