Covey Film Festival

‘Celeste’ premieres to packed house

Thomasville’s first feature film has joined the Showboat Theater’s history of film.

“Celeste,” which was filmed entirely in Thomasville, premiered Saturday night to a packed house.

“We wanted to prove that a film could be made in Thomasville,” said Brad Wheeler, the movie’s director and producer.

A short documentary was made on the cast and crew’s experience while filming. Scholars Academy students got the chance to be a part of the crew.

“Celeste” tells the story of Holden, portrayed by Bryan Watt, dealing with the loss of his wife, Celeste, portrayed by Yvonne McKay.

Kamaria and Zorra, portrayed respectively by Karina Willis and Dr. Patricia De’Shazior Hill, are two women who help Holden relive memories of Celeste through “memory walks.”

Notable Thomasville locales are given a different atmosphere in the film.

During a scene between Holden and Kamaria, the backdrop is Grassroots Coffee Company. Typically full of lighthearted conversation and residents waiting for their morning burst of energy, the scene shows Kamaria explaining the consequences of trying to change memories.

In another scene, Holden is wondering through his memory recollections, with the often-bustling downtown Thomasville painted barren.

While grief and loss are at the core of “Celeste,” spots of humor uplift the viewer through Holden’s journey.

Snarky responses from Zorra in scenes contrast with the grief that surrounds Holden.

Humor also is present through inside jokes for Thomasville residents.

In a pivotal scene, Holden is reliving the moment he proposed to Celeste. During the scene, Holden plays a song he wrote for Celeste on the piano, and says he can’t sing, which drew laughs from the audience as Watt is a trained singer and musician in Thomasville.

Following the humor in the scene’s backdrop of Thomasville’s municipal auditorium, Celeste reveals she is dying from a brain tumor.

The love between the pair is at the forefront.

Holden and Celeste’s chemistry is evident as their portrayers Watt and McKay are engaged, a fact Watt mentioned in the short documentary shown before the film.

“Celeste” strikes the perfect balance between grief and love, with an uplifting conclusion fading the screen to black of Thomasville’s first feature film.

Following the premiere, Wheeler said screenings are scheduled for Dallas, Los Angeles, and Jacksonville, Florida. The film also will be shown at the Covey Film Festival in October, Wheeler added.

“We will definitely be working toward making more films in Thomasville,” Wheeler said.


By Jordan Barela

3E Creative

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