July 21, 2010 10:39:00 AM
As Adam Kazery''s friends and family tried to describe him this week, many didn''t know where to start.
At 25 years old, the Raymond native was a photographer and a screen printer, an artist and a gourmet cook. He taught himself binary code and how to play the piano, and even started his own web design business, www.adamkazery.com, while he was still attending Hillcrest Christian High School in Jackson.
Kazery, who in 2008 became the online editor of Mississippi State University''s student newspaper, The Reflector, also was an accomplished graphic artist.
"That guy had his hands in everything," said Carl Smith, who worked with Kazery at The Reflector and quickly became one of his close friends. "If Kazery wanted to do something or learn something, he would do it. That was just his way. He could pick anything up and learn it in a couple of weeks."
What many people didn''t know was, for the past 13 years, Kazery also suffered from Crohn''s disease. He died of complications of the condition.
Now, one of Kazery''s friends is organizing a film festival in his honor, and to benefit Ochsner Clinic Foundation in New Orleans, where Kazery was a patient since January 1998.
The Adam Kazery Short Film Benefit will take place Aug. 6 at Grumpy''s on Dr. Martin Luther King Drive in Starkville. The event will last from 9 p.m. until 1 a.m. and feature short films and live music.
The Magnolia Film Festival is providing judges for the event, said Stephen Ward, event coordinator for The Adam Kazery Short Film Benefit. The winner of the benefit earns a place in the Magnolia Film Festival, Ward said.
As part of the Aug. 6 event, Ward also plans to screen a film he and Kazery began but never finished. Ward''s film won''t be entered in the competition, though it will give viewers the chance to see Kazery on screen in a story about a man with no hands.
Kazery''s parents, Eyd and Debby, along with his sister, Christen Kazery-Hobbs, and brother-in-law, Josh Hobbs, plan to attend the event and are grateful Ward is honoring their son and raising money for the Oschner Clinic Foundation, where Adam developed close ties with doctors, nurses and other staff throughout his years of treatment.
"Adam would be honored and humbled by the The Adam C. Kazery Film Festival, as we, his family, are," Debby Kazery said. "We are most appreciative of Mr. Stephen Ward who dreamed this idea and cared enough about a friend to see the festival become a reality. Adam shared a common bond with people blessed with the gift of creative minds. Creative people indeed do understand the phrase ''think outside of the box'' while others not blessed with the creative mind gift attempt in vain to understand. This film festival held in memory of a kind, gentle soul, Adam, is yet another indelible mark left on this world by caring people who crossed paths with Adam."
"It creates memories for the benefit of his loving family and friends," she continued. "Adam Kazery''s family is eternally grateful. Adam, with a shy smile, would definitely approve of the film festival and say to all involved ''just make it good.''"
Eyd Kazery says it''s been difficult to lose a son, but he hopes the film festival will help relieve some of that pain.
"Hopefully this will be another step, in a positive way, in the grieving process," Eyd Kazery said. "Since Adam''s death in February of 2010, we have experienced what has to be one of life''s greatest pains, losing a child. We have two things that we remind ourselves when we are down -- they are our faith in God that Adam is in His presence and that Adam no longer suffers the pain and the disappointments of his illness. Adam carried his cross until he fell and now we must pick it up and carry it as far as we can."
Another one of Kazery''s friends, C.J. LeMaster, will emcee the benefit at Grumpy''s. What impressed LeMaster the most about Kazery was the broad spectrum of his talents.
"There was so much I learned at the funeral that I didn''t even know about him," LeMaster said. "It was almost a bittersweet experience because you wish you did know all these things. I felt like I only knew a portion of what other people got to experience and other people got to know. That''s how it was with a lot of people. He had all these different things going on and had so many different interests, you were always discovering something new about him."
Prints of some of Kazery''s photos will be available at the Aug. 6 benefit for people who make donations. Admission to the event is free.
Ward is accepting film submissions in DVD format until July 25 at 5 p.m. Films can be no longer than 10 minutes.
Send submissions to: The Adam Kazery Short Film Benefit , P.O. Box 7030, Mississippi State, MS 39762-7030.
For more information, visit the event''s Facebook page.