Myrtle Beach International Film Festival continues growing

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The founder of the Myrtle Beach International Film Festival says the potential for Myrtle Beach and South Carolina is incredible. More film makers are choosing to come here, and that means big bucks for local businesses.

It's first year, the festival screened 20 movies. This year, that number is 48.

"We were named one of the top 25 festivals in the world," says Jerry Dalton, the founder of the Myrtle Beach International Film Festival. "And one of the top 50 film festivals in the world by Movie Maker magazine, some other resources in prior years."

As the number of films grows, so does the number of visitors: people who need food, a place to stay, and also want to entertain themselves while they're here.

In some peoples' opinion, Myrtle Beach is even an up-and-coming film location. One person says you've got Myrtle Beach, Wilmington and Charleston all within close proximity to each other, and you can get any type of scenery you need for filming.

When crews roll into town, they need housing, but that's not the only benefit of shooting here.

"So you can shoot all different types of movies here. And plus we're a very friendly state to work," says Dalton. "And they work with you, they have a good time, where in California, you might have to pay a $100,000 fee to do that. Here, in a lot of places they enjoy it and they welcome it and they also want the economic stimulation that brings. So, yes we are becoming our own little world here which I think is great."

There is a unique feel to the The Myrtle Beach International Film Festival because of the ways films are judged. Organizers decided not to use a panel of critics or so-called industry experts - they use regular people. This year, part of the panel is comprised of a nurse, a lawyer, and a construction worker. 

"Also, we're a little different in the way we run our film festival. And so, we're a little more edgy, we're open to more styles of film. We're kind of like the litmus test," Dalton says. "Once films play here, they play everywhere. There was a film that played here last year that no one would touch. We played it, it won the Best Documentary. Then it played in Beverly Hills Film Festival and it won Best Documentary. It played in the LA film festival after us, but no one would touch it prior to us running it."

For information on how to get tickets and passes, and a film schedule, visit the website here:

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