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Filmmakers find home base in Lawrenceville

Filmmakers Nathaniel McGill and Vincent Vittorio work far from Hollywood. In fact, their office is actually just a few blocks from the Lawrenceville square.

Gwinnett, however, is right where they want to be. "There is so much talent here. It's like a creative pool of people that the world has yet to see," said McGill, 26.

He and Vittorio, 27, are the owners of Life is My Movie (www.lifeismymovie.com), a film production company. Their most recent project is the documentary "Light in the Darkroom."

"It's a story about the history of photography through the digital era," Vittorio said.

The film, which was made locally, is narrated by a host who seems to walk through time as he follows developments in the field. "It's like a film within a film," Vittorio said.

"Light in the Darkroom" includes interviews with a number of notable photographers, such as Jerry Uelsmann and Mary Ellen Mark.

"These photographers are world-renowned. It is very humbling to be in the presence of these people," McGill said.

He and Vittorio are now finishing up post-production on "Light in the Darkroom" and working on a deal to sell the film.

"It will probably be shown on television and available on DVD," McGill said.

Both McGill and Vittorio began their film careers in broadcasting classes at Dacula High School. But after graduating in 1999, they hadn't really stayed in touch until they reconnected last year.

Vittorio left Gwinnett shortly after high school graduation - "I wanted to live anywhere but here," he said.

He attended college at the University of Florida and earned degrees in telecommunication production and film and media studies.

After he got married and started a family, Vittorio realized he was ready to settle down in Gwinnett. He moved back a year ago.

McGill, who studied film at Georgia State University, stayed in Gwinnett. He traveled often while producing videos for Christian events and concerts, however. After spending so much time on the road, he was ready to make a change.

Last December, McGill called Vittorio to ask advice on a documentary he wanted to make. Over dinner, the two realized it was a perfect time to form a partnership.

Almost immediately, McGill began working with Vittorio on "Light in the Darkroom." Vittorio is the story creator, director and producer of the film, while McGill is the second assistant director.

Their company has several other projects in the works, including a film following the careers of football players Kenny and David Irons, who also graduated from Dacula High School.

"We do a lot. We're sort of workaholics," McGill said.

The two spend a lot of time in their Lawrenceville office and will be working there for the foreseeable future.

Vittorio and McGill have no plans to leave Gwinnett and head to Los Angeles. "... Hollywood is a state of mind," McGill said.