Thursday, February 25, 2021

Hello Hollywood

Wayne High School graduates planning local film festival

Michelle Guernsey-McKay                        Antoine McKay 
Who says you can't go home again?

Two alumni of Wayne Memorial High School are coming home and bringing a little TV star power with them.

Antoine McKay and his wife, Michelle Guernsey-McKay, are hosting a film festival this summer at the historic State Wayne Theater on Michigan Avenue.

The first Wayne International Independent TV and Film Festival will begin accepting entries in multiple categories and genres at the end of this month. The festival will take place Sept. 9-12.

McKay, who has been a professional actor for 20 years. After graduating from Wayne Memorial High School, he honed his skills at the Eastern Michigan University theatre arts program.  He began his professional career at Second City in both Detroit and Chicago and he has appeared in countless commercials.

His television credits include roles in Detroit 187, ER, Prison Break, and Sports Action Team. He has also appeared in feature films including The Weatherman with Nicolas Cage, Someone to Eat Cheese With alongside Jeff Garland, Standing in the Shadows of Motown and Osso Bucco with Mike Starr. His most recent appearances were in Empire and Review and South Side on Comedy Central. 

McKay and his wife, along with their children, now reside just outside Chicago. Wayne, however, remains their real home town.

Michelle Guernsey-McKay was a special education teacher for almost 20 years with degrees in dance education and a masters degree in special education from Wayne State University. A self-taught stained glass mosaic artist, she recently renewed her love for acting, guest starring in the film Fatal Influence: like, follow, share, and in The G on Prime video, along with starring in the television show Michelle S. Bitts, Ph.D, filmed in Wayne. 

The couple is confident the planned film festival will bring hundreds, if not thousands, of visitors to Wayne. McKay has data at his fingertips explaining just how popular film festivals are and the enormous benefit the events bring to suburban communities.

They shared some of those statistics with members of the Plymouth Noon Rotary Club during their meeting last week as the guest speakers.

 The couple, along with festival directors James and Margie Shabazz, is confident that their vision could become “the premier Midwest film festival, and a trusted doorway for connecting indie filmmakers, artists and producers to industry executives as they take the next steps in their career.” 

Awards and prizes will be presented in categories including: Best Narrative Feature, Best Narrative Short,

Best Documentary Feature, Best Documentary Short, Best Experimental, Best Animation, Best Science Fiction/Fantasy, Best Horror

Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Editor, Best Actress, Best Actor, Best TV Series/Pilot/Web, Best Comedy, Best First Time Filmmaker and Best Female Filmmaker

All the directors/content creators of selected films will be invited, and expected to attend and talk about their work in post-screening discussions. These discussions will be hosted by filmmakers, journalists and experts in the subject of the film. 

Works can be submitted regardless of when they were completed and submissions do not have to be premieres to be selected for exhibition.  Works in progress may be submitted, but only during the Late or Extended deadlines and only if the film will be completed for final review at least seven weeks before the festival opening. The review committee will only watch one version of entered films. Films that have had a limited commercial theatrical run or other distribution are allowed to submit.

There is no limit on number of works submitted, but each entry must be separate, appropriately labeled and accompanied by the required fee. 

Earlybird deadline for entry is Feb. 28 while the regular deadline for submission is March 31. There is also a late deadline in June. For more information or submit an entry, access the Wayne International TV and Film Festival website.