‘General Orders No. 9’ to screen Thursday

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 15, 2016

Panel to discuss local sustainability issues afterward

Daily News staff

LaGRANGE — The Daily News and LaGrange Art Museum are set to host a screening of the award-winning documentary “General Orders No. 9” by writer-director Robert Persons, followed by a panel discussion about sustainability.

The event is free and open to the public on Thursday, May 19, at 7 p.m. at the LaGrange Art Museum’s Center for Creative Learning, 114 Lafayette Parkway.

After the film, a panel of experts and local officials are slated to discuss the sustainable future of Troup County and the preservation of its heritage, culture and natural beauty.

The discussion will be facilitated by Daily News reporter Tyler H. Jones and the public will be invited to ask panelists questions about the future of LaGrange and the surrounding area.

“General Orders No. 9” breaks from the constraints of the documentary form as it contemplates the signs of loss and change of culture in Georgia.

“Told entirely with images, poetry and music, ‘General Orders No. 9’ is unlike any film you have ever seen,” the film’s promoters write. “A story of maps, dreams and prayers, it’s one last trip down the rabbit hole before it’s paved over.”

The culmination of over 11 years of work, “General Orders No. 9” marries experimental film making with an accessible, naturalist sensibility to tell the epic story of the clash between nature and man’s progress, and reaches a bittersweet reconciliation all its own.

The film features sweeping, rural scenery from across Georgia, juxtaposed at times with imagery of urban sprawl and blight.

Emery, the county roads engineer who will be a panelist, called the film “very visual, poetic and philosophical. Quite a cinematic production.”

The Toronto Film Scene called the film “haunting, beautiful and thoroughly absorbing.”

“General Orders No. 9” premiered at the Atlanta Film Festival in 2009 and has won numerous accolades, including the “Soul of Southern Film” award at the Indie Memphis Film Festival in 2010, and “Best Cinematography” at the RiverRun International Film Festival in 2010.

Robert Persons is a first-time writer-director from middle Georgia. After a short career in magazine publishing in Charleston, South Carolina, he moved back to his hometown of Forsyth, where he began planning and writing the script for what would become “General Orders No. 9.” Five years later, he met an Atlanta filmmaker named Phil Walker, and production began in earnest. After five more years, the film premiered.

For more information about the event, visit the Daily News Facebook page, call reporter Tyler H. Jones at 706-884-7311, ext. 2155, or email tjones@civitasmedia.com.

To watch the film’s trailer, visit www.GeneralOrdersNo9.com or search for the title on YouTube.

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The following individuals are panelists for the discussion that will follow the film screening.

Jim Thornton, mayor of LaGrange

Jim Thornton is the current Mayor of LaGrange. He graduated from LaGrange High School, LaGrange College and Emory University Law School. In addition to serving as mayor, Thornton practices law in LaGrange as a partner with the law firm of Thornton & Graham, P.C. He is married to Corinne, and they enjoy spending time with their three dogs and one cat, all of whom are rescues. As mayor, Thornton is an advocate for economic development and growth for LaGrange and the surrounding region.

James Emery, Troup County engineer

As Troup County’s chief road builder, James Emery believes “infrastructure is the ‘cathedral’ of modern civilization,” which has deeply impacted his internal motivation to serve the public. After earning his Eagle Scout award and graduating high school in Waynesboro, Emery graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in civil engineering and is a licensed professional engineer. He began his career in 1996 with LaGrange-based Stothard Engineering and later worked for the city of Newnan, before coming to Troup County and beginning a more than 11-year career here. He currently serves as a member of several advisory boards that shape the community, including the Apalachicola-Flint-Chattahoochee Stakeholders. He is involved with his family and his church, auto mechanics, home improvement projects, snow skiing and all types of water sports.

Leigh Threadgill, LaGrange city planner

As the planner, Leigh Threadgill has a keen interest in the future growth of the community and growing the community responsibly with sensitivity to LaGrange’s rich natural and cultural resources. She is a native of Atlanta, where she grew up until leaving for Davidson College in Davidson, North Carolina. After earning her undergraduate degree in biology, Threadgill began graduate school at Georgia Tech earning a master’s degree in public policy, with a concentration in environmental policy. She began her planning career 15 years ago with the city of Wilmington, North Carolina, and has worked in planning at the local government level ever since. She is married to Rix Threadgill, pastor of Loyd Presbyterian Church, and they have three children. In her down time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, attending her children’s extra-curricular events and playing outside.

Patrick Severts, archaeologist

Patrick Severts has been “looking at the dirt” since he was 5 years old and is a self-employed archeologist with experience working across the United States. He is a graduate of New Mexico Military Institute, where he studied anthropology. He worked for 10 years at the Museum of New Mexico Office of Archaeological Studies before coming to Georgia 17 years ago. In Georgia, he has worked on every known Civil War battle site between Chicamauga and Atlanta. He has discovered a War of 1812 battle site in coastal Georgia and specializes in conflict archaeology. He is certified to train other archaeologists in metal detecting and is currently working with Kennesaw State University to excavate the site of the Troup Factory, a 19th-century mill that was the first of its kind in Troup County.

Ben Wheeler, DASH for LaGrange

As DASH for LaGrange Director of Community Building and Organizing, Ben Wheeler understands that Troup County’s local assets are the building blocks for sustainable change. Wheeler grew up in Perry, Florida, and attended Southern Wesleyan University where he earned a degree in religion. After working in the private sector for several years, he and his wife made a life-changing decision to commit their lives to acts of mercy and hospitality by joining Mission Year, which also brought them to LaGrange in 2009. Since then, they have become active members of the thriving Hillside community. He is planning to finish his master’s in community development from Kansas State University within the year. The Wheelers have two sons, and they enjoy backyard farming, cycling, reading and sitting on the porch with neighbors.


What: A screening of ‘General Orders No. 9’ followed by panel discussion.

When: Thursday, May 19, 7 p.m.

Where: LaGrange Art Museum’s Center for Creative Learning, 114 Lafayette Parkway.

More: This event is free and open to the public.

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Video Caption: Trailer: ‘General Orders No. 9’
Video Credit: Variance Films
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