Most movie goers would not have considered Greenwood as a go to venue for a movie but for Director Phil Blattenberger, he found it to be the perfect setting for “Point Man” scheduled for release later this year. Anyone traveling on the Old US Road had the opportunity to observe the film in the making if they ventured into the wooded area where the homemade sign was placed at the roadway saying “Point Man”.
The ties to Greenwood and the decision to utilize the wooded area just west of Highway 71 North in Greenwood comes from Shannon Williams. Williams was raised in Jackson County and is a 1982 graduate of Marianna High School. Following graduation, he enlisted in the Navy in 1984 where he was a hospital Corpsman. He retired from his service to the United States in 2004 and settled in Pensacola, Florida. While in the Navy, Williams had stints in Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom.
Williams is the son of Louis “Red” Williams and Billy Williams, both former residents of Jackson County. “Red” Williams passed away February 03, 1994, just one month shy of completing his 38th year with the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms or as Shannon said, “a revenuer”. Billy Williams worked with Department of Corrections, and was a law enforcement officer for Department of Transportation.
The independent movie being filmed partly in Greenwood is about the Vietnam War, a very controversial war. The first part of the movie was filmed in Cambodia with none other than Shannon Williams being cast in the film. It seemed like a natural as Blattenberger said he impressed him from the get go. Tim O’Neal is another Jackson Countian who has a part in the film. O’Neal has service time in the United States Air Force but no active duty assignments during his tenure. He was stationed in the Phillipines during his service. O’Neal says he has some experience before the camera, “I was an extra in Hamburger Hill when I was in the Phillipines.” Local actors along with thousands of actors who responded to the call for auditions will help to keep the film within its $80,000 budget.
The movie will center around what it was like to be an African-American soldier during the Vietnam War during a time when there was already so much racial unrest during the time of Martin Luther King’s assassination in April of 1968.
Shannon Williams now lives in Pensacola and used his GI Bill to obtain his college education. He has a daughter, Heather who is 29 years old and a son Nathan who is 25. His daughter obtained her masters degree from University of West Florida in Public Health and was instrumental in her dad having a small acting part in Denzel Washington’s movie Déjà vu and Green Lantern. His son Nathan will be graduating with his BS degree in nursing May 5 from the University of West Florida. About the VA, Williams says, “The GI Bill paid for me to go to school and the VA education bill is a flawless system.” About his involvement of the making of the movie, Williams says, “I’ve enjoyed it, the acting part as well as anywhere else I can help out.”