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Love of storytelling creates path into Georgia’s film industry

Updated: Jan 15, 2021

When a family move from Chicago landed Brent Lambert-Zaffino in Canton, GA, as a teen, Brent brought his love of movies and visual storytelling with him. It’s a passion that stuck with him through high school, college and multiple stints at coffee shops.

Today, Brent is the Programming Director for the Etowah Film Festival, which this year will be a virtual experience at the historic Canton Theatre highlighting Georgia productions.

Brent’s path to Etowah Film Festival wound through Kennesaw State University, where he studied communication in hopes of finding a career that fit his passion.

“I thought I might be an English teacher, but I realized I have way too much creative angst for that,” says Brent.

After college, Brent worked and became the manager of a local coffee shop where he kept busy building relationships. Some of these relationships are still helping Brent today.

While working at the coffee shop, he fueled his love of film by developing a videography freelance career for corporate and music videos.

“I just kept finding enough work to upgrade my equipment and keep going,” says Brent, adding that he kept adjusting his work to best suit his abilities and continue to grow. Brent raised money to fund his first film, “The Head.”

His work with the Etowah Film Festival is a natural fit for someone who spent much of his time in high school at the Canton Theatre watching new and old films. He was eager to step in when Event Director Laine Wood approached Brent about a new project, The Etowah Film Festival.

“It wasn’t something I had experience with, but it seemed to fit my skills and I was eager to promote the talent in the area,” says Brent.

Thanks to COVID-19, the Festival’s second year requires a different approach. But those coffee shop relationships may come in handy once again.

Turns out a former co-worker’s husband was able to put Brent in touch with a streaming company who provide streaming services to large events.

“It looks like the show will go on,” Brent says, “and hopefully we can continue to showcase Georgia’s talent for years to come.”



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