Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Movie Magic in Eight Minutes

Filmmakers Descend on JW Marriott for 48-hour Challenge

With all the whoops, hugs and thank you speeches, it was like a mini Oscar awards ceremony Sunday afternoon over at the JW Marriott Marco Island resort.

The occasion was the culmination of a frenetic 48 hours for four amateur film teams whose members had to write, cast, film and edit movies of about eight minutes long for the Marriott’s “48-hour Film Challenge.” It was the second of its kind on a Marriott property, with the first having taken place earlier this year in Vancouver, Canada.

Lindsey Read, a Naples Realtor and first-time actor, interprets a particularly emotional scene from the winning movie.

“It supports the local film making community, and also gives meeting planners a creative tool to create unique and out of the box meeting and event spaces,” said Marriott Convention and Resort Network PR team member Paige Callan. Amanda Cox, director of sales and marketing on Marco, expanded: “Our hope is to spark the imagination by showcasing how hotel space can be transformed beyond the concept of a traditional meeting room, as well as inspire travel through the stories told with a local lens.”

This was borne out by four themed sets created inside meeting spaces for the use of the filmmakers. The sets varied from a room with a Chicago skyline to a gaudy New Orleans Mardi Gras scenario, while Marco’s famous crescent beach and the newly revamped resort itself provided additional opportunities for footage.

Director of photography Jaron Wallace and actor/director Wendy Keeling do an early morning take on the beach opposite the JW Marriott resort. |Photos by Quentin Roux

Lindsey Read auditioned for a part in the short film titled “My Dear Max,” and got it. “I’ve always dreamed of acting,” said Read, a Naples Realtor, “so this is really exciting.” It would turn out to be even more exciting Sunday evening when “My Dear Max” was named best film. In those short eight minutes, the movie traces a 10-month relationship between Read and a character played by Wendy Keeling, who also directed. It swings the viewer’s emotions from joy to eventual anguish, and in the words of writer Jeffrey Wells is “not a happy script, but one that’s about connection.”

By way of a little extra, but indeed subtle promotion for the resort, filmmakers had to include references to “Sirene” (the “muse” in the new wing), and also the words “paradise redefined” in their movies.

The winning team comprised producer Kat McLeod, director Wendy Keeling, writer Jeffrey Wells (who also won best writer), director of photography Jaron Wallace and editor Alexa Wint (who also won for best editing). The winning team enjoys a prize of mentoring by industry experts.

All films will be exhibited throughout the JW Marriott Marco Island’s digital channels and Marriott CRN’s Meetings Buzz platform. Visit www.meetingsbuzz.conventionresortnetwork.com/.

Cast and crew of the winning movie, “My Dear Max,” pose for a shot before the awards ceremony. First time Naples actor Lindsey Read is third from right.

Marriott PR Director Amy Campbell shows off one of the film sets provided for the filmmakers – a New Orleans scenario.


2 responses to “Movie Magic in Eight Minutes”

  1. Thank you so much Quentin for taking an interest in our film My Dear Max!!! We loved having you follow us! You can follow the film on Facebook here as we take the film to festivals.


    Thank you again!


    Wendy Keeling / Director

  2. Lindsey Read says:

    Thank you Quentin for the article! The entire experience was amazing but for you to write this article on top of everything else was the icing one the cake!
    Really appreciate you highlighting the team of My Dear Max and this local actress trying to live her dream! ❤️

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