It all started when Christopher Forbes got his father’s old Super 8 camera.
He was 12 at the time, and the camera ignited a passion for filmmaking.
“I told everyone I was going to make movies for the rest of my life,” said Forbes, who received the gift in 1974. Some of Forbes’ latest feature films will be presented at the Poison Peach Film Festival, which will be Jan. 8-9 at the Imperial Theatre.
As a pre-teen and teenager, Forbes made his first films.
He started writing scripts and enlisting his friends as cast and crew.
“Humor was a big thing. They had to be funny,” he said.
That Super 8 camera taught him the basics of film, and he used it until he left to study filmmaking at Columbia College in Chicago.
Early on, he had his skeptics about making movies. The only person who believed in him, he said, was his grandmother.
“You’ve got to pay attention to grandmothers,” he said.
On a visit to see her, she told him she needed to talk to him, and the two of them went for a drive to parts of rural Georgia.
“We saw ghosts of houses,” he said. “All that remained were chimneys. She called them Sherman’s monuments. She told me, ‘You’re going to make movies. I believe you. You’ve got to make this movie. Sherman’s March to the Sea.”
She referred to Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman’s March to the Sea during the Civil War.
He never forgot that, and over the years, it’s been in the back of his mind, but the timing wasn’t right.
He didn’t make his feature films right out of college. In the early 1980s, the only place to make movies was Hollywood or possibly New York. He would have to wait on technology to catch up with his dreams.
Eventually it did, and in 2001, he made his first full-length feature.
Several years later he landed a deal with ITN to distribute his films. Company officials wanted everything he had. To date, he’s finished about 39 films.
Over the years, Forbes has created films of different genre. He’s done Westerns, horror and some historical fiction. He’s even made it in front of the camera, too He’s done multiple Civil War pieces including that one his grandmother wanted him to make.
He recently finished it, and it will be part of this year’s Poison Peach Film Festival. He worked on it after finding a like minded investor who helped provide lesser-known tidbits of research. About a dozen points of research were added to the “Sherman’s March to the Sea,” including a snippet about free slaves who followed behind Sherman’s Army but were ultimately killed after drowning at Ebenezer Swamp near Savannah.
In addition to the movie on Sherman’s march, he’s made a film about the Hunley, a submarine used by the Confederate military, which will also be showcased Jan. 9.
While two of his completed films will be shown in January, Forbes is in the process of filming other movies this month.
He’s also working on a Revolutionary War era film and one set during World War II.
Forbes said he likes machines, so he found the Hunley fascinating, and he likes airplanes. The World War II project features airplanes.
Through ITN, many of Forbes’ films, which were once only shown overseas or on DVD, are available via streaming platforms such as Amazon and Peacock.