The Dahlonega Nugget
by Sharon Hall
June 18, 2003
(extract) Dahlonega film to be shown at DIFF
Dahlonega residents will have a chance to see their town through the eyes of film maker Jill Daniels when the Dahlonega International Film Festival returns to town.
The 55-minute documentary feature “Fool’s Gold”, takes a look at Dahlonega’ tourist-centred historic square and Lumpkin County’s “other” history- the history
Of people whose roots go back further than most of the merchants on the square, going back not only their lifetime, but the lifetime of generations.
Daniels first discovered Dahlonega when the British-born film maker showed her short film “Killing Time” at the 2001 DIFF. Daniels has a fascination with small towns, having spent the past five years making a film about three young British girls from two different small towns. She found Dahlonega “curious” she said. “It felt like being on a movie set. I think it’s difficult for small towns to know why they exist today.” Daniels stayed at the Smith House during the festival and there she found another side to Dahlonega that gave here the idea for ‘Fool’s Gold. She met Myra and Thomas Crooms, who took care of housekeeping duties while she was there.
“Ordinary people are a bit marooned unless they are able to have something to do with the tourists,” Daniels said “(Myra) told me people think of them as rednecks and never interested in what we have to say”.
Daniels’ intention was to explore that division in ‘Fool’s Gold’ but the film evolved…Myra told Daniels about her Cherokee heritage, Dahlonega’s history as the first gold rush in the country, and the eventual removal of the Cherokee people…she told of the tragedies of her life, and how she can find solace in the north Georgia mountains she loves.
Fool’s Gold premiered at the Downstream Film Fest in Gainesville, winning the Audience Choice Award. It was also one of 10 films to receive a jury award at the Athens, Ohio International Film & Video Festival this past spring.
“My film was very well received because Athens is located near the Appalachians…they all knew people like Myra.”
The Dahlonega Nugget
July 24th 2002
Dahlonega film wins award at festival
By Sharon Hall
Jill Daniels film “Fool’s Gold” a 60 minute documentary feature about Dahlonega, won the Audience Award at the Downstream Film Fest in Gainesville. Daniels became interested in Dahlonega when she came here to show her short film “Killing Time” at last year’s Dahlonega International Film Festival.
Some of the people who appeared in the film went to Gainesville for the screening – Mel Hawkins and Katy Woody were there.
“I was a little embarrassed,” Hawkins said. “I don’t think very many people like to see themselves on film. But I liked it. I thought it was fairly respectful of the area. It wasn’t meant to be a true depiction. It was sort-of surreal, very artful in some parts. She just shot and let it speak for itself.”
But Crooms, who features prominently in the film, did not want to attend.
“I sent Myra a copy of the film and told her to call me if she took exception to anything and I would consider taking it out, but she never called,” Daniels said. “I called her when I got into the state. She said she was happy with the film, except for the way she looked, but she didn’t want to come to the screening. She had to work.”