- Associated Press - Sunday, November 2, 2014

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) - To say Miles Doleac is a busy man is a bit of an understatement.

With his movie, “The Historian,” premiering Nov. 7 in Grand theaters in Hattiesburg and D’Iberville, Doleac said he’s excited for his fellow Mississippians to see what Mississippi especially Hattiesburg looks like on the big screen.

“We want people to come out and see what we’ve done,” he said. “I think they’re going to be impressed with the way Hattiesburg looks on the big screen. We continue to get raves about the (University of Southern Mississippi’s) campus. People are saying ‘where are these great locations you have?’”

“The Historian” tells the story of Ben Rhodes, a young history professor played by Doleac, who tries to escape his past by seeking a fresh start at a new university only to clash professionally and personally with his department chairman. As work tensions rise, so does the complexity of his personal relationships.

Doleac said the film is set to run in local theaters for at least a week, but whether or not it stays longer will be entirely up to its audience.

“It may be extended if ticket sales are good,” he said. “It’s a real, practical chance for Hattiesburg and the coast to show their support for local filmmaking with their feet.”

“The Historian” had its premiere on May 20 at the SOHO International Film Festival in New York City, and was later featured at Dances with Films 17 on June 5 in Los Angeles.

It later opened this year’s Long Island International Film Expo on July 11 in Bellmore, New York. The film was also shown Oct. 20 at the Sun and Sand Film Festival in Gulfport.

‘What I hope is that my film can be a kind of advertisement for Hattiesburg as a film location,” he said. “I’m going to keep shooting around here, and I hope others will, as well.”

Doleac said next year he will take his place behind the camera once again to film his second Mississippi-based film, “The Hollow.”

Doleac, 38, said it’s only been recently that he has found success in front of and behind the camera.

“I’ve been acting practically my whole life, but I would say only in the past three, four or five years have I began to book high-profile stuff,” he said.

His acting credits in television shows such as “Treme,” ”Sleepy Hollow,” and upcoming episodes of “American Horror Story,” and USA network’s new series “Complications.”

After spending almost half a year involved in film/television shoots across the region and showcasing “The Historian” at film festivals, Doleac will be focus on south Mississippi in 2015.

In the spring of 2015, FestivalSouth will welcome it’s first-ever FestivalSouth Film Expo.

From June 1-5, 2015, filmmakers from around the globe will have the chance to showcase their films in Hattiesburg.

With Doleac’s background in film, FestivalSouth Artistic Director Mike Lopinto said he knew exactly who to entrust with the addition to next year’s festival line up.

“I knew of his projects by seeing them out there, and I was just excited for him that things were going so well with those,” he said. “Then, I got to work with him in (Hattiesburg Civic Light Opera’s) ‘Les Miserables,’ and he was wonderful. It just became a no-brainer. He has the experience in that area that I do not.”

Lopinto said after mulling over the idea for the film festival, his next course of action was to bring Doleac on board for the project.

“We were out one night after rehearsal, and I looked at him and said, ‘Have you ever thought of doing a film festival here?’” Lopinto said.

The rest, Doleac says, is history.

“I said, ‘I think it’s a brilliant idea,’” Doleac said. “I think we have the ability to become the premiere film festival in the state of Mississippi. We have partnered with the Grand Theater where we’ll be screening the films.”

Doleac said the festival will be primarily geared toward films and filmmakers that have either shot in Mississippi or have ties to Mississippi.

“If you’re from Mississippi and you shot your film in Chicago, then we want you,” he said. “(Mississippi) is not a deal breaker, but we do want to make it very clear that we’re interested in prompting films, filmmakers, actors and writers with some connection to the state of Mississippi.”

Doleac said he’s working on booking celebrity judges who will be able to serve as mentors to burgeoning filmmakers as they speak on informational panels.

“We see (this film expo) as an opportunity for networking and for education that will be a platform for young filmmakers to get their movie seen,” he said.

Lopinto said he has confidence in Doleac and knows the film expo’s grand finale will be the perfect kick off to the two-week FestivalSouth season.

“We’re going to make it a time to showcase what we have here in Hattiesburg and what we can do here,” he said. “Miles took the ball and ran with (the idea). We’ve gotten a lot of excitement in the first days that we’ve announced it, and registrations are already coming in. … I think we’ve hit a market for it.”

Doleac said it’s his mission to bring more attention to Mississippi as a possible film location through FestivalSouth’s Film Expo and his future film projects.

“This is to trumpet the state of Mississippi to say we are here,” he said. “We want to play with the big boys. We want to be a hub of film production.”

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Information from: The Hattiesburg American, https://www.hattiesburgamerican.com

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