The Robert Smalls Indie Vision Award was presented posthumously to Producer/Director Chris Brinker at the 7th annual Beaufort Internationa Film Festival on Saturday, Feb 16, 2013 in Beaufort, SC.

The Robert Smalls Indie Vision Award is named for Beaufortonian Robert Smalls, a former slave who freed himself and his family, and went on to become a ship’s pilot, sea captain, and eventually a United States Congressman. Soon after announcing the creation of this award, we received this note:

“I was very excited to see that there is a Robert Smalls Indie Vision Award that is now a part of the Beaufort International Film Festival. As a great great grandson, and "keeper of the flame" of the Robert Smalls legacy, I wanted to thank you for honoring him - and therefore those of us in his family - in this way. It's exciting to see the Smalls legacy continue to grow over the last years and your remembrance of him contributes to that.
Michael Boulware Moore

The Robert Smalls Indie Vision Award is intended to be awarded annually to that filmmaker who has a firmness of purpose, dogged determination, and will to achieve. This first award is being presented to Director/Producer Chris Brinker.

As most of you probably know, Chris passed away unexpectedly last Friday, just 4 days prior to when he would have been making his first trip to South Carolina. He was excited about coming to the festival and honored to be receiving the award. Chris was 42,….. yet he’d been in the movie business a long time. He was not a product of a film school, he was a product of the film business. He produced several short films in the early nineties. In 1997 he launched his own company then later produced the cult favorite film The Boondock Saints, followed by Borough of Kings, Lonely Street, and The Boondock Saints: All Saints Day. Recently he was given the opportunity to Direct his first film titled Whiskey Bay. It’s currently in post-production and is set to be released later in the year. The film stars Matt Dillon, Willem Dafoe, and Tom Berenger.
Lowcountry Weekly writer Mark Shaffer interviewed Chris early last week about his first time directing experience. In that interview Chris showed some of that firmness of purpose and dogged determination when he held fast to getting the stars he wanted for the film. In describing the three actors Dillon, Dafoe and Berenger, Chris states “they have a great value in cinema and distribution and that world because of their bodies of work. They’re iconic actors, you know?”

He was a filmmaker with enormous energy, enthusiasm with a zest for life. His potential will never be realized but for Chris Brinker, he demonstrated in his short body of work to be most deserving of this inaugural presentation of the Robert Smalls Indie Vision Award. He leaves us way too soon. Let’s remember Chris with a look at some of his work.

I’m accepting this award on behalf of Chris’ family. We’ll make sure to get this beautiful trophy to them. Let’s give Chris the round of applause he would have gotten if he could have been with us tonight.

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