By Lanier Laney
As president and vice president of the Beaufort Film Society, which produces the Beaufort International Film Festival each year, Ron Tucker and Rebecca Berry are passionate about films and film making and are involved in just about everything connected to that field in our corner of the world. They also run their own successful video production company and location scouting and management service for visiting film production companies.
A native of the Upstate, Ron Tucker’s first career was as a Marine. But he also loved movies and was fascinated with the ones that had been made in and around Beaufort — especially the military-related films of Pat Conroy. After 21 fulfilling years in the Marines, Ron retired and decided to pursue this interest, first by doing scouting for visiting film companies and then by founding his own production company, Good-To-Go-Video, in 1993 that produces documentaries of Marine graduates for their families as keepsakes.
Rebecca Berry, who had grown up in Elizabethton, Tenn., moved to Beaufort in 2001 after graduating with a degree in public relations from East Tennessee State University.
“I fell in love with Beaufort, with the scenery and the town,” she said. “Beaufort is small and it reminds me of my hometown where everyone was on a first name basis and that’s very comfortable for me. And I was fascinated by Beaufort’s movie history, that Beaufort was the backdrop for ‘The Big Chill’ and so many other wonderful movies.” Rebecca started working at Ron’s Sandbar Productions in 2001 and today is vice president.
Together they both worked hard to help the Beaufort International Film Festival get going in its early days when it was overseen by Carlotta Ungaro with the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce. The project originally was created to attract filmmakers to the area and tourists to see the film festival. Says Rebecca, “I have been with the film festival since the beginning, I even worked the house lights for the first two or three years and filled in at the ticket takers table — I did whatever was needed!”
When the chamber decided to make the film festival an independent entity, Carlotta handed it off to Ron and Rebecca who had so loyally helped “midwife” the yearly event. Ron and Rebecca then formed the Beaufort Film Society, the local nonprofit organization that today puts on the Beaufort International Film Festival.
Besides being able to give awards to some of his film heroes such as Pat Conroy and actress Blythe Danner, Ron has especially loved being able to expose young filmmakers to the beauty that is Beaufort in hopes that they will someday return to make movies here.
Says Ron, “We have the friendliest, most welcoming festival that the filmmakers say they have ever attended. We go to great lengths to make all of the filmmakers feel special. This is their ‘red carpet’ event.” He adds, “So far, for the upcoming February festival, we have people attending from as far away as the United Kingdom, Spain, California, New York and Michigan.”
Last year’s film festival saw nearly 7,000 people attending certain events. The festival has been a shot in the arm to boost local tourism during a previously slow time of the year in the Lowcountry.
Despite devoting almost all of their time to the Beaufort Film Society, their company, Good-To-Go Video has been recognized with 25 national and international awards for production excellence.
What do they credit their success to? Ron says, “We love what we do.” And more importantly, they love each other. They were married earlier this week on New Year’s Eve! Congratulations are definitely in order for these two wonderful talented people who have given so much to this community.
Sandbar Productions/ Good-to-Go Video
The company has produced programs that have provided an up-close and personal look at the many fascinating elements of Marine training and the Corps’ elite ceremonial units.” From the historic parade grounds at Marine Barracks, Washington, DC, “Oldest Post of the Corps,” to the hallowed battlefields of Vietnam, you are provided a rare look at where Marines have trained and fought. “Our productions have been applauded by educators, veterans organizations, at-risk youth groups and even members of the other services for providing an up-close look at the more intriguing aspects of Marine Corps life.” says Ron.
In all, Good-To-Go-Video has produced more than 15 documentary programs such as “The Making of a Marine,” “The Crucible,” and “Fierce Pride in Country & Corps.” Since 1999, it has also been the official producer for the Marine Corps Community Services Parris Island Graduation Ceremony DVD.
For more information, visit www.goodtogovideo.com.
Tickets go on sale this week for the Beaufort International Film Festival
The 2013 edition of the Beaufort International Film Festival is on Valentine’s weekend: February 13 -17. What a great place to go with a date!
Tickets can be purchased at the Beaufort Film Society office at 708 Carteret Street or the Beaufort Visitors’ Center, 701 Craven St. starting this Monday, Jan 7. Or available now online at www.beaufortfilmfestival.com. The opening ceremony will be held at the Old Bay Marketplace Rooftop on the evening of Feb 13. For the first time, the opening ceremony will be a ticketed event instead of an invitation only event, so get your tickets early because space is limited. For more information, call the BFS office at 843-522-3196. Nearly 200 entries have been received from 24 countries and 31 states. The finalists will represent four countries and 15 states. Awards will be presented in the categories of Documentary, Short Film, Student Film, Animation and Screenplay. Special guest will be Mike Tollin, director and producer of the movie “Radio,” which was filmed primarily in nearby Walterboro. He will be presented the Jean Ribaut Award for Filmmaking Excellence.
Director/Producer Chris Brinker will be presented the inaugural Robert Smalls Indie Vision Award by Tom Berenger. Chris is a veteran producer of such films as “Boondock and Saints,” “The Fix” and “Lonely Street” and will be making his directorial debut with the soon-to-be-released movie “Whiskey Bay,” starring Willem Dafoe, Matt Dillon and Tom Berenger. As a special festival event, Chris and Tom will show a special trailer and discuss the making of the film. Scheduling details can be found at www.beaufortfilmfestival.com.