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Marcus Lamb, right, and Justin Neal, along with the rest of their film crew, will hold auditions soon for the original movie “The River.”

ALBANY — Since Marcus Lamb was a child in Albany, he has loved movies.

He’s been fascinated by them, so much so, in fact, that now he is shooting his own movie, titled “The River.”

The full-length feature film will look at the McKenna family, a family in mourning after the loss of its matriarch. Husband and father Ben McKenna and his daughter, Evelyn, are trying to move on, but something happens to Evelyn, and Ben is left to try and put the pieces together.

“(Ben) has to figure out what’s going on with his daughter, what happened to his daughter, and through these trials and tribulations, he finds out that the town is hiding more than they say they are,” Lamb said.

The idea for the project was one that Lamb had for a long time, but he was never able to “put it to paper,” he said.

Lamb kept trying to work on the project, but it was when he met Justin Neal through work, and Neal and his wife joined in on the project, that it was really able to move forward.

Neal graduated with a degree in theater from Georgia Southwestern State University and has acted in several community theater productions with Theatre Albany.

“I mainly just do acting stuff and not a whole lot of production, but when (Marcus) gave me the chance to be assistant director and really have a huge input on what he’s making here, I was all for it,” Neal said.

“It’s definitely a different kind of feel than just acting on a stage. It’s actually being behind the camera, working on how everything looks, how everything sounds and being a part of what shows up on the big screen one day. Getting to see that, I can imagine (there) would just be nothing better than that.”

And so the idea changed and grew a little with the input from others, and Lamb and Neal were able to finalize a script.

Now, they’re going on to the next step: auditions.

The group, who call themselves Magma Cleric Studios, will hold auditions at VFW Post 2785 in Albany on July 26 and Aug. 17 and 18 from 1 to 11 p.m. Neal and Lamb said there are about six key roles they will be holding auditions for and approximately 20 other background characters and additional extras.

For the main character, Ben McKenna, and two other key roles, Lamb said they are looking for men who are in their mid-30s to late-40s, and they would like the actress playing Evelyn McKenna to be able to pass for mid-teens.

The group said it is also in the process of negotiating to shoot scenes at various locations in Albany. Although the film will be set in the fictional town of Brookridge, Lamb said he wants to showcase Albany in the movie.

“We’re trying to get the community more involved with it,” he said. “I really want to put Albany on the map. I really want to show off Albany and make sure (everyone) knows where I come from.

“People will be able to say, ‘Oh, I remember that. I know where that is.’ Something to get the community together in a positive way.”

Although Neal is originally from Atlanta, he said he is very excited about community involvement with the project and the potential impact it could have on the community for the more creative-minded residents.

“From every little corner where I meet people in Albany, I see there are creative people,” Neal said. “I see there’s little bits and pieces around the city of people wanting to promote art and make a name for art and artists in this town. I think this will be just another stepping stone (to show) there is (that) demographic here, and we can all come together and really let that shine.”

Both Lamb and Neal said their end goal with the film, once everything is complete, is to try and get it shown at the AMC Theatre in Albany.

After that, they plan to enter “The River” in several film festivals, as well.

Audience Engagement Specialist

I'm a Southwest Georgia native, and I have loved writing ever since I was a little girl growing up in Ashburn, Georgia. Now, I get to combine my love of writing with my love for the Southwest Georgia area by writing for the Herald.

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