Peaberry Film Festival Returns to Canton

The Peaberry Film Festival returns to the historic Canton Theatre on April 26 for three days of cinematic entertainment. Featuring a variety of award-winning regional, national, and international films, the festival is a continuation of the Etowah Film Festival which began in 2019 and ran through 2022. According to Brent Lambert-Zaffino, festival director and cofounder of the original Etowah Film Festival, programming for this year is designed to engage the community. “We’re really focused on connecting to the larger Cherokee County creative community as a whole, partnering with local art studios and inviting folks who have never come to a film festival before to come by and watch movies with us.”

Peaberry Film Festival | Brent Lambert-Zaffino | Source: IMDb

Peaberry Film Festival organizer Brent Lambert-Zaffino

Several local businesses are pitching in to make the film festival a sweet success. Following a kickoff and two documentary screenings on Friday, The Holler in Canton will host an after party, starting at 9:00 p.m. In addition, show your film festival tickets at The Holler, Green Line Brewery, Whitetail Coffee, and P.O.P.S. for exclusive discounts.

On Saturday, downtown Canton art studio Local Color will offer a coffee hangout for creatives from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. Also on Saturday, Queenie’s Restaurant on Main Street will host a filmmaker meet-up and trivia event, starting at 4:30 p.m. and ending at 6:00 p.m. In between these events are plenty of film screenings, classes, and discussion panels.

New Films on the Block

Canton-based filmmaker Jennifer Dunn of Copperhead Media

Writer-director Jennifer Dunn, a Canton resident, has been involved since the first festival as an attendee and now as a presenter. She says “The very first Etowah Film Festival in 2019 introduced me to other filmmakers and compelled me to finally take a step I’d wondered about for a long time: learning how to make films of my own. Now, five short films later, I’m proud to be debuting Grandpa, my labor of love, at the very same festival, and in my hometown, too.” Grandpa will premiere during the 1:00 p.m. block of Georgia Gothic short films on Sunday, April 28. The Georgia Gothic films are described as “a little dark, a little weird, and massively satisfying.”

The Peaberry Film Festival isn’t just for adult film lovers though. Several of the screening blocks are suitable for young cinephiles in the making. The Canton Kickoff block on Friday features family-friendly films made in Cherokee County, including After Years, The Kazoo Choir, It’s All in Your Head, Canton Abbey, Perfect, and War Angel. On Saturday, the animation block features animated shorts described as “fun, funny, and touching – often at the same time.”

The festival also includes a free-to-the-public screening of Used Cars (1980), directed by Robert Zemeckis, director of the iconic Back to the Future series, Forrest Gump, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Flight, and more Hollywood blockbusters. This free screening presented by the Canton Film Society is on Sunday at 11:00 a.m.

Community Support

The team behind the festival has a strong belief in the value of community and the connection between artists and audiences. The Peaberry Film Festival is a nonprofit, and community support is essential to maintain the quality filmmaking it brings to the city.

This year’s festival is sponsored by Canton Tourism, the Yonder agency, law firm Grisham, Poole & Carlile, PC, Whitetail Coffee, Queenie’s Restaurant, Bar, & Events, Downtown Kitchen, Goin’ Coastal Seafood, and Kodak Film Atlanta. The organization also accepts financial donations and contributions from in-kind sponsors. Festival partners include the Cherokee Office of Economic Development, Actor Empowerment Summit, and Southern Documentary Fund.

Daily passes are $20 to attend all screenings for each day. Weekend passes are $50 and offer access to all screenings, discussions, and networking events. Also included in the weekend pass are the after party, an interactive experience with the Kodak Film Lab, team trivia, and a live staged reading from the winning entry of the Kennesaw State University screenwriting competition. Tickets are available on Eventbrite.


Peaberry Film Festival flyer | Source: Peaberry Film Festival Facebook



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