A three-day film festival begins Tuesday at the Museum Center at Five Points. The free movies are designed to honor director Elia Kazan. Besides “Wild River,” Kazan’s classics include: “Gentlemen’s Agreement,” “On the Waterfront” and “Streetcar Named Desire” — Academy Award winning pictures that will be featured at the festival.
The film festival runs Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at the museum.
On Friday evening, Hometown Hollywood Party will welcome home local stars of the movie and preview a documentary currently being produced by Life Care Centers of America Media Center.
The documentary focuses on the making of the movie, stories that came from filming in a small town and celebrating this history.
The documentary will feature many hometown faces and locations.
Tickets for Hometown Hollywood are available at the Chamber of Commerce, Museum Center at Five Points and Callaway Antiques. Tickets to the event are $35 and include dinner and admission to the “Wild River” exhibit. Proceeds for this event will benefit the Charleston-Calhoun-Hiwassee Historical Society and the Museum Center at Five Points.
On Saturday, the “Wild River” Days Festival will be held in Charleston. Saturday’s activities will include
n Entertainment in Charleston Park throughout the day with the Collins Brothers Band headlining the stage at 6 p.m. Bring lawn chairs. There is plenty of room to relax and enjoy.
The stage schedule is as follows — 10 a.m., Charleston / Calhoun Community Choir with Connie Scotten; 11 a.m., The Myles Howard Family; noon, 2X2 Quartet; 1 p.m., Rightpath Bluegrass; 2 p.m., Master’s Messengers; 3 p.m., Stronger For It; 4:30 p.m, Ron Winningham; and 6 p.m., Collins Brothers Band.
n Dedication of the Concrete Highway (Market Street - Old Hwy 11) recently placed on the National Register of Historic Places, 2 p.m.
n Food vendors and treats in the park throughout the day.
n A vintage car show along Market Street “starring” cars from the 1930’s era depicted in the movie and featuring a car used in the movie. Cars will be displayed from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
n Photo displays at movie locations.
n Continuous showing of the movie, “Wild River,” will be offered throughout the day at Watson’s Chapel Zion AME.
n Shuttles to Wild River Retreat for pole-operated ferry rides to Coon Denton Island (just like in the movie) will be offered from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Retreat owners John and Karen Heifner will offer free pole-operated ferry rides to Coon Denton Island featured in the movie.
The Hiwassee Antique Tractor Club will provide free hay rides around the island. Music will be played on the front porch of one of the houses used in the movie.
n Hiwassee Canoe Co., a new business in Charleston, will have canoes for rent to paddle in the Hiwassee River and the waters behind the movie set.
“Wild River” was filmed in 1959 and released to the public May 26, 1960. Locals could catch the movie and a glimpse of hometown stars at the Star Vue Drive-in. Since then, the movie has been shown several times at the Museum Center at Five Points, but is not available on video or DVD. It will be shown throughout the day at the event in Charleston.
Local author David Swafford has been gathering information and collecting stories and memorabilia over the past year and a half.
Swafford has done extensive research locally as well as traveling to the National Archives in Atlanta and to University of Wesleyan University in Middleton, Conn., where Kazan’s professional documents, photographs and memorabilia are archived in a special collection. He has talked with hundreds of people, collecting photographs and stories and he has given presentations on his findings to several local groups.
Swafford is working with a group of planners on the anniversary events. Representatives from the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce, Charleston-Calhoun-Hiwassee Historical Society, Bradley County Historical Society, Museum Center at Five Points, Wild River Christian Retreat, Charleston Recreation Board, Horseless Carriage Automobile Club, the county and city mayors’ offices and interested citizens.