Local filmmakers celebrate premiere in Decatur

Two local filmmakers say Alabama has plenty of talent when it comes to making movies.
Published: May. 21, 2023 at 6:16 PM CDT
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DECATUR, Ala. (WAFF) - Two local filmmakers say Alabama has plenty of talent when it comes to making movies.

On Sunday, the Princess Theater in Decatur hosted a local premiere party for two new films that were shot in Limestone, Lawrence and Morgan counties. Jay Burleson wrote and directed “The Third Saturday in October Part V” and “The Third Saturday in October”. Frank Crafts served as a producer. We caught up with both men at the premiere. They describe the movies as throw-back slasher-comedies. The films are set at a watch party for a big (but fictional) college football rivalry game.

The first question we had - what’s up with those titles? What happened to Parts 2, 3 and 4? Burleson says it’s a callback for Gen-X and older Milennials who saw old slasher and horror films out of order. “I grew up watching ‘Halloween’, ‘Friday the 13th’, I saw all those movies when I was way too young.” Burleson says. “My mom would let me check those movies out. Going to the video store, you might not be able to rent the original ‘Halloween’, you might rent one of the sequels before you saw the original film, so we created ‘The Third Saturday in October Part V’ which is the first film to harken back to that time period.”.

Film director Jay Burleson (left) and producer Frank Crafts (right)
Film director Jay Burleson (left) and producer Frank Crafts (right)(WAFF)

The films were shot in Athens, Decatur, Belle Mina, Elkmont and Courtland and feature more than 200 actors and extras from north Alabama. They’ve already picked up some significant buzz from prestigious horror critics, including Noel Murray at the Los Angeles Times. “There’s a lot of blood, a lot of guts, a lot of violence, some comedy, pretty much everything you’d expect from an 80′s slasher movie!” Burleson says.

“Jay and I met through the Sidewalk Film Festival in Birmingham.” Crafts told us. “We were really lucky that the Athens mayor was so supportive of our efforts. He enabled us to get a lot of the locations, a lot of the sets.” Crafts says one of the challenges was that the films were set decades ago, so they had to find cars, clothes and furniture that wouldn’t break the reality of the films. He told us that making movies in Alabama has been a great experience. “I want people to believe that you’re able to make a movie in Alabama just like you would in Hollywood. There are resources here that can make that happen.”

The films have a respectable 3.1 star rating on Letterboxd. They’re available to rent on Apple, Amazon, Google, Vudu and YouTube.

You can check out the trailer here.

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