Mary Beth Lawton Johnson is a professional chef who is also dabbling in filmmaking, who recently reaped perks that surprised the Cameron native.
His independent film titled “Otherside Paranormal” won the Silver Award for Best Horror Short Film at the Los Angeles Motion Picture Festival 2021, as well as the Best Horror Picture Award at the Beyond the Curve International Film Festival in Paris, France, which celebrates democratization. of the art, form and magic of independent cinema.
The film was also a finalist in the Best Story category of Beyond the Curve and has since been shortlisted for screening at the Anatolia International Film Festival in Istanbul and the Awareness Film Festival in Los Angeles and Hawaii.
“I actually started recording four years ago, and I didn’t think everything I filmed could win any awards. It was a surprise to me to learn otherwise, ”said Johnson.
Johnson, who currently resides in Palm Beach, Florida, is the daughter of Mary Donna Lawton Mellon and the late Dr. Boyce M. Lawton Jr.
She said she had entered her film in other festivals as well.
“I have attended Oscar-eligible film festivals and BAFTA film festivals, as well as IMBD-eligible film festivals. I already have credits on IMDB for two films I’ve starred in: “A Walk Through Hell,” in a long-awaited post-production, and “Gary the Ghostcatcher,” as well as “Otherside Paranormal,” which s ‘is qualified for IMDB credits and nominate,’ Johnson said.
“Otherside Paranormal” was shot outside of Charleston and took Johnson four years.
“This is about my gift as a medium / viewer / psychic and that includes my late twin sister. It’s funny. I never thought my life would end up being a horror story and winning festivals. cinema, ”Johnson said.
She said she enjoyed making the movie.
“I had a blast, but I also discovered a lot of dark secrets hidden by the parking lots. These horror stories that I have personally seen and captured in a movie were committed by humanity. Ironic how bad man can be, yet we say humanity. I didn’t find the nice man at all, ”Johnson said.
She continued, “I just worked with two friends who came with me to find out what happened where we went. When I say it was horrible, I floated three souls of child slaves to a second story window. I filmed this and realized that I was not there to investigate, but to save.
“That’s when I decided to come out of the closet with my gift and show the world how a woman is not afraid to show man’s wrongs in the hope that we can become better souls. Almost every soul I have encountered has experienced trauma.
She remembers growing up in the town of Cameron, Calhoun County.
“I had the most idyllic childhood, which every child should experience,” Johnson said.
She said her foray into filmmaking was “a great leap of faith” for her, but she encouraged other budding filmmakers not to be afraid to tell their stories.
“You can too. I had to tell this story because there were so many bad things I saw that I couldn’t shut up. You shouldn’t either,” Johnson said.
She said she occasionally returns to Cameron.
“I go back to Cameron when I have free time, which isn’t a lot, but he will always be with me no matter where I go. There’s a story there, and I’m writing a book that includes it. I’m almost done with this project, ”she said.