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Tybee planning 'Last Song' debut party
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TYBEE ISLAND - The small Savannah beach community of Tybee Island is gearing up for its big screen debut on March 31 in "The Last Song" starring Miley Cyrus, Greg Kinnear and Kelly Preston. This Disney/Touchstone major motion picture was filmed on Tybee Island during the summer of 2009.

The screenplay and the novel by the same name were both written by Nicholas Sparks with the screenplay being finished before the novel was released last fall. The film is a coming of age tale about 17-year-old Veronica "Ronnie" Miller (Cyrus) who is sent by her mother (Preston) to spend the summer with her estranged father (Kinnear) on Tybee Island. Over the summer, father and daughter connect over the one thing they have in common, a love of music and along the way Ronnie experiences her first love with the local town hunk Will Blakelee (Liam Hemsworth). Other noteworthy books by Sparks that have made it to the big screen include "A Walk to Remember," "The Notebook," "Nights in Rodanthe" and "Dear John."

The film originally set for production in Wrightsville Beach, N.C., was changed to Tybee once location scouts discovered Tybee's charm. Georgia's tax incentives set in place by Gov. Sonny Perdue sealed the deal. Having won the film, Tybee Island welcomed the cast and crew during filming last summer. Some of the scenes shot during the filming were the carnival and seafood festival shot by the Tybee Island Pier and Pavilion, a beach volleyball tournament and shots of the church built especially for the movie. The church still remains on Tybee and with the help of Stacye and Lannie Jarrell owners of Oceanfront Cottage Rentals, the church is being renovated and will be used as a facility for weddings and other events.

Tybee will celebrate the release of "The Last Song" in classic Tybee fashion with a Flip-Flop Red Carpet Party ON March 31. Organizer Susan Kelleher, owner of Seaside Sisters, will have a pre-movie event complete with food, cocktails, live music and of course a red carpet. Attendees will board a trolley, cab, limo or private car for a Tybee star studded caravan to the theater. A post-film party and awards ceremony will take place later in the evening. All funds raised after ticket and transportation costs will be donated to the Tybee Island Marine Science Center Sea Turtle Project.

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