The winning trifecta of soul owners | Local film | Savannah News, Events, Restaurants, Music


It’s a simple equation: three local businesses plus three local charities, split between three local film crews. The resulting films are ranked and the winner walks away with a four-figure check.

Yet the Soul Proprietors film competition is much more than the sum of its parts.

Launched in 2015 by local engineer Debbie Brannigan, the local competition draws on Savannah’s pool of talented filmmakers to show how business can positively influence the community while being successful.

Yab Yum Films took first prize in the first competition with her fascinating look at Savannah Bee Company’s work with the Bee Cause Project, which educates school children about the importance of bees to global food systems. Last year, Mad Law Media teamed up with Fleet Feet Sports and the Komen Race for the Cure to claim the victory, capturing the wave of pink-clad runners from multiple angles.

Whitney Yates (left) of the Green Truck Pub meets Zachary Burke of Ardsley Park Productions as Soul Proprietors founder Debbie Brannigan looks on.

This year, three more small businesses and their favorite charities are ready for their big shots. They were paired up with their respective production teams when it kicked off at Cha Bella on April 6, and then each team had five days to create and submit their film to a panel of local judges. (Full disclosure: I’m one of them.)

Noted for their artistic and technical merit, the three films will be screened and the winner announced by the master of ceremonies Kareem McMichael this Thursday, April 22 in the Jepson auditorium. The first prize is $ 5,000, the second is $ 1,000 and the third prize is $ 500, a purse heavy enough to highlight serious professional competition.

In the geometry of the Soul Owner Triangle, however, it is businesses that are at the top.

“Typically, we start with companies that are already giving back to the community, and they have a favorite organization that they want to highlight,” Brannigan explains of the verification process.

She seeks word of mouth suggestions, adding that getting small business owners to talk about their good works isn’t as easy as it sounds.

“When people are really humble about what they’re doing, they don’t talk about it! ” she laughs.

Despite their shyness, three contenders showed up for the 2017 competition:

Click to enlarge Team Sentient Bean / Somewhere Pictures powwow at the Cha Bella launch event.

Team Sentient Bean / Somewhere Pictures powwow at the Cha Bella launch event.

Maven Makers is a collaborative creative space on West Boundary Street where laymen can do their craft with expert patient and locally sourced materials. Co-founder Ty Donaldson describes it as “kind of like a gym,” except instead of weights and rugs, the room is full of woodworking tools and machines and 3D printers.

Tybee Island-based production company Tytan Creates captures mavens in action with enthusiastic loads of Design for Ability, a nonprofit that explores creative possibilities and professional applications for at-risk students.

Those who spend time at Sentient Bean will see many familiar faces in Somewhere Pictures’ panoramic shots of its regular clientele. Owners Kristin Russell and Claren Jamerson are always the ones making the scones and washing the dishes in their bustling cafe which hosts a calendar of creative events and community conversations, including those presented by the chosen nonprofit Emergent Savannah. . With its Monday Means community gatherings and panel discussions on the real issues affecting the city, Emergent Savannah aims to “make civic education sexy” and connect citizens to each other, politically and culturally.

Green Truck Pub was one of Savannah’s first farm-to-table restaurants, distinguished by affordable pricing and commitment to the Forsyth Farmers Market.

First-time restaurateurs Josh Yates and Whitney Shephard Yates opened their gourmet burger restaurant seven years ago with a constant supply of grass-fed beef from vendor Hunter Cattle, and their continued support has helped the Saturday market. morning to expand its roster of farmers and deliver double the EBT benefits.

Ardsley Park Productions showcases Green Truck’s menu and market bounty in mouthwatering colors.

All three films will air on Jepson’s big screen this Thursday, with 100% of ticket sales going to the winning film’s charity. The show is preceded by a VIP reception with beer provided by the former competitor of Soul Proprietors Service Brewing Co.

For Brannigan, the annual Soul Proprietors Film Competition is a labor of love, funded and planned primarily by herself and her partner David Murphy. She hopes to find a corporate sponsor and bring the concept to other cities in the years to come, and in the meantime, she believes the message is more relevant than ever.

“This new administration has brought back the old-fashioned ‘beggar-thy-neighbor’ and ‘profit above the people’ business mindset, but that’s not how new companies see their role in the world anymore,” says the self-proclaimed soul seeker. .

“I think all of the business owners I’ve featured are great examples of an evolved model that can make money and help people at the same time.”

Click to enlarge Ty Donaldson (left) of Maven Makers reflects with Jim Wacker of Tytan Creates.

Ty Donaldson (left) of Maven Makers reflects with Jim Wacker of Tytan Creates.

Once a teenage mother with few prospects beyond the fast food counter, she was offered the same kind of cuteness when a Detroit engineering firm hired her to design car parts in the 1980s. .

Following the opportunity at its highest level, she is now an aerospace engineer who designed the cockpit of Gulfstream’s new G500 and the first woman to hold a patent for the company.

Brannigan hopes the positive stories from Soul Proprietors offset some of the recent corporate ugliness in the headlines, including the United Airlines passenger being dragged out of a plane after he was overbooked.

“There’s so much more negativity now, all of these companies are bullying people and trying to take every penny they can,” she says.

“We need to see more of the bright side.”



Gladys T. Hensley

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