Sunday April 28th at 12PM


As Steven Spielberg famously pointed out, “Audiences are harder to please if you’re just giving them effects, but they’re easy to please if it’s a good story.” This panel of professional writers  will discuss the  process and business of writing and what it takes to create a good story.


Bradley Hawkins began his acting career in the ‘90’s while living in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 1997 he and his young family moved to Lancaster, PA where he taught acting, film studies, and humanities courses at the high school level, and directed several stage productions throughout his 14 years as an educator. Now retired from service as a high school teacher, Hawkins has become an award-winning indie film director, with his debut comedy short, ROLLER COASTER (now on Amazon Prime) earning 30 film
festival awards along the way. His new comedy-fantasy short, FILLING IN, is currently being screened at film festivals around the world, including here at the ME Film Festival on Saturday) and has already won over 56 festival awards, to date, including awards for
Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Television Pilot, Best Comedy, Best Family-Friendly Film, and Best Shortz.
Between the two films, Hawkins has won 11 awards for his direction, and as a result of his guidance, actors in both films have won several awards for their work in them as well. Over the past 25 years, Hawkins has studied with some of the best known acting coaches in
the country,and has developed his own unique  coaching/directing style for actors of all ages which he continues to enjoy mentoring and working with today.



Brantly Jackson Watts is an Atlanta writer, director and producer specializing in Southern Gothic narrative and documentary film. 

Brantly exhibited a flair writing at an early age. Growing up on a farm in the deep South in the 1980s forced her to use her imagination. With no television or video games in her small family cabin, she cherished her books, and the woods, and her strange little girl mind. The Southern Gothic world is a realm she knows well — the
well-mannered South gone sour.

Years later, Brantly would discover film as a vessel for her writing when she partnered with her spouse, Jon Watts, on the documentary feature “AKA Blondie” — the story of the infamous geriatric exotic dancer of the Clermont Lounge. The wildness of Atlanta’s oldest strip club hearkened back to the days she spent on her family’s farm, drawing her into the possibilities of filmmaking and allowing her to express her love of words with a visual medium. 

As the various documentary projects and community programs grew, Brantly continued to return to the stories of her childhood, culminating in the development of several Southern Gothic narrative projects. She is currently working on her first narrative feature film, called “Copperhead.”

Moderator: Dan Kelly

Screenwriter and filmmaker Dan A. R. Kelly earned his BFA from the University of North Carolina - School of the Arts for Film Directing in 2001 and his MFA from Hollins University for Screenwriting in 2014.  His feature film Susie's Hope was broadcast nationally on
UPtv and received a Dove Family Award.  A proud member of the Writers Guild of America, Dan recently completed the script El Medico for Cafe' Oscuro Films, slated for production this
year.  He co-wrote the screenplay for Ocean Drive, which was optioned by Fred Roos Productions (The Godfather II, The Beguiled), and Dan’s original spec script Chattanooga was an Academy Nicholl Fellowship quarter-finalist and Big Break Contest finalist. Before moving into features, Dan's short films earned national awards and recognition.  His work screened at Cannes International Film Festival, Miami International Film Festival and on NBC/Universal's
ChillerTV. Dan currently teaches for the Georgia Film Academy at Pinewood Studios in Atlanta.