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Running for film: Film director runs across the country to raise money for start-up company

Photo contributed by Adrian Jackson

Adrian Jackson runs cross country to raise awareness for the South Carolina film industry.

Adrian Jackson, a young filmmaker, is running from South Carolina to California in hopes of raising $500,000 for Black Forest Films, his start-up film company. Besides running for donations for his film company, he is also making this journey to raise awareness for the “need of film in the Carolinas.” 

On his 2,400 mile run from Fort Mill, South Carolina to Los Angeles, he had time to spare to stop in at Clemson University for a sit down. 

When asked what his impression of Clemson was, he described the other runners he passed and the people out on Bowman Field Monday during the clear afternoon. At first, he reported being unsure of what he thought about Clemson because when he runs, he “doesn’t have time to think or see his surroundings.” After he had time to breathe in our Clemson air and enjoy the college town, he said, “My impression of Clemson is that everyone is nice and extremely friendly.” 

If Jackson keeps his pace at 25 to 30 miles a day, this run will take three months to complete. Jackson is not taking on this adventure alone, though; he has assistance from a friend, Carlos, who is documenting Jackson’s run to show everyone his experiences along the way.

Jackson has been filming since 2007. To further his knowledge of the medium, he attended and graduated from The Art Institute of Charlotte after studying film and video production in December 2014. Since college, he has devoted his time to making his filmmaking visions a reality. 

The cross-country run was born from his passions. Before film, the only love of his life was running. His brilliant idea was to combine his two passions to develop and advance his film career.

It was not an April Fools’ joke for him to begin his run, even though he started his journey on April 1.  When asked how his family and friends felt about him running across the country, he replied, “Well my mom, of course, she’s worried. My family is just worried. All my friends are just like, ‘Wow, you’re crazy!’, ‘Just be safe!’, ‘Don’t give up!’ type of thing.”

Jackson started in Main Street of Fort Mill, South Carolina, and will continue through to the state to Rock Hill and Greenville. Then he will move toward the West Coast, where he will end his run in Los Angles, California. On this three month stretch, he thought the biggest obstacles he’ll have to overcome is staying hydrated and keeping at his 30 miles a day pace. He feels confident that he will stay on his pace with his rabbit foot that he always keeps with him in his bag “because it’s good luck.”

Jackson realizes that there are a million filmmakers in the world creating films like him, but he decided to separate himself from the other filmmakers. He said, “There is something special in Carolina film. We have our own style, our own culture and our own way of doing things that is constantly being overlooked. What if Oscar-nominated films were being filmed in the Carolinas consistently? What if actors here didn’t always have to scrape up what money they have to go to Atlanta, New York or Hollywood to catch their next big break? What if the million dollar budgets for these major films were being spent in our area? Implementing these changes can do something beautiful and amazing for our area, and if I have to run across America to turn a few heads and get people looking our way, I will.”

His primary interest is in creating psychological thrillers and suspense movies. His inspiration for developing films is “putting emotions and telling stories in a film to create a concept and having a viewer see it.”

Adrian Jackson wants to improve the economy in South Carolina with his passion for film: “Film. You’ve got to think about all of the businesses. You have to think about all of the money spent. The average film costs around $33 million, so once a film is produced in a certain town, the company has to spend money on gas, equipment rentals and food and catering. The restaurants, hotels and gas stations can all benefit from that in a way and grow the economy,” said Jackson.

When he gets to California, Jackson says he doesn’t know what he will do. He feels like he will probably just sit there, take it all in, and go lay on the beach and relax after his long and impactful journey. Jackson is sleeping in a tent and living these next three months on the edge, but he intends the journey to be for the benefit of South Carolina.

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