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Michael Jordan scores

Michael Jordan - the local filmmaker, not the basketball superstar - is a busy man these days.

First coming to local prominence as an anchor with WSAV, he has since gone on to a successful career as an independent videojournalist.

As he said when I interviewed him for my piece on him this issue, “I want to make films that tourists will buy, locals will enjoy, and everyone can learn from.”

This week Jordan marks two personal milestones: First, he premieres his new documentary Savannah in the Civil War under the stars at Ft. Pulaski this Thursday night, part of the ongoing sesquicentennial of the fort’s fall in 1862.

Yours truly plays a small role as Sanford Branch, one of several Savannah brothers who served. (The fascinating story of the Branch family is told in the book Charlotte’s Boys: Civil War Letters of the Branch Family of Savannah, by Mauriel Phllips Joslyn.)

I’ve known Michael for years and have written about his work before, but it was particularly insightful to be on the other side of his camera and see his professionalism in action.

Other local folks in Jordan’s Savannah in the Civil War include Joe Marinelli, Frank McIntosh, Kim Polote, John Duncan, and many interpreters from both the Owens–Thomas House and the Davenport House.

See Jordan’s new documentary Savannah in the Civil War this Thursday night at Ft. Pulaski (bring lawn chairs and bug spray if you want, and remember the $5 admission gets you back into Ft. Pulaski anytime over the following seven days.)

The other big news from Jordan over the past week involves his victory in Visit Savannah’s contest for a new promotional video. In the wake of a certain amount of controversy over Visit Savannah’s initial effort, i.e., the infamous General Oglethorpe–leads–a–conga–line video, the organization sponsored another contest, inviting local filmmakers to take their best shot.

Jordan’s winning entry “You’ve Gotta Come to Savannah” is a three and a half minute quick–hit extravaganza featuring cameos by literally dozens of local figures, including Jamie Deen, Stratton Leopold, Mayor Edna Jackson, Rob Gibson, Ruel Joyner, and Esther Shaver.

All the local celebs in the video are great, but I really enjoy the way Jordan includes some of the unsung contributors to Savannah’s hospitality, such as hotel housekeepers, Girl Scouts, and cops. I also appreciate how the video references Savannah’s to–go cup tradition, which is really one of the major, specific things that puts us in a truly select company of American cities.