George Lindsey film festival selects films for showcase

The 2019 George Lindsey UNA Film Festival announced Jan. 29 the selected films for the exhibition. These films are picked from worldwide submissions and will compete in different categories for the “Best of” awards.

The festival will take place Feb. 28 through March 2.

Actress, speaker and author Nancy Stafford will make a special guest appearance at the festival. Stafford is well-known for her role as Michelle Thomas on “Matlock” and hosting a syndicated television series called “Main Floor.”

Stafford will host a Q&A session Friday evening, March 1.

The winning films are going to be announced at the awards show March 2 in the Mane Room.

The festival contributes to enhancing the Shoals rising film industry through the showcase of independent films from across the world and the appearances of many special guests, according to lindseyfilmfest.com.

“Art in all forms is an important part of the personality of the Shoals, and that includes film,” said Associate Professor and Chair Department of English Cynthia Burkhead. “Film festivals are one of the few venues exhibiting the independent work of both established and emerging filmmakers, and the George Lindsey UNA Film Festival is proud to have provided that opportunity for the past 22 years. Without a film festival, one of the rich layers of culture in the Shoals would be missing.”

Burkhead said the George Lindsey Film Festival’s mission is to provide the community with exposure to filmmakers of all ages and from across the globe.

“We also strive to provide a variety of educational opportunities for our students, visiting filmmakers, and audiences, including Q&As, workshops, and panels,” Burkhead said. “Students will find films of particular interest among the 70-plus very diverse films we will screen at this year’s festival. These range from Alabama history to eating disorders to blues musicians. The festival also provides students the opportunity to network with the filmmakers, which is particularly important for our cinematic arts students.”

This year’s 10 categories include: Professional Narrative Feature, Professional Narrative Short, Professional Documentary, Student Short Narrative, Student Documentary, Vanguard, Youth Films, UNA Spotlight, Alabama Films and Florence Academy of Fine Arts Films.

Alabama Films is the largest category consisting of 40 selected features.

Gary Fuqua, writer and director of the screenplay “Sally” said it is fulfilling to know that his film has been nominated as potentially FAFA’s “Best of.”

“Being as someone who wants to pursue Theater and Film professionally, hearing that a mere idea that came to mind one day is now being showcased on this grand of a scale is amazing to hear,” Fuqua said. “I didn’t do it alone. My best friend, fellow actor and director Makinley Patterson helped me out all of the way so I definitely am fortunate to have his support with the project. Just to see a project that a ton of close friends and I hold near and dear to us even have the opportunity to be considered to accolades is amazing to me.”

Fuqua said as an artist he tries not to allow the achievements to be the end goal. Instead, he lets the learning experience and work speak for itself.

“To have ‘Sally’ named as FAFA Films ‘Best Of’ would mean a lot to me and all of the individuals I have worked with on the project,” Fuqua said. “I hope the color blind cast of artist will help showcase representation to the masses.”

Fuqua said his film “Sally” takes place in the Shoals area in the 1950s, where racism and prejudice was on the rise. He wanted to tell a suspenseful tale that counteracts Shoals history.

“I also deeply hope that young black kids and young queer kids in the Shoals Area and around will see that a fellow black, queer person could accomplish something of this magnitude,” said Fuqua. “Hopefully this can put stardust on their eyes to follow their dreams of directing movies, being in movies, being involved in the performing arts as a whole, etc. This would mean so much more that another accolade. This would mean representation, validity, and growth for all young artist coming from good ole’ Florence, Alabama.”

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