Why is your festival name so long?
If you’ve read any of our press releases or social media posts, you’ll know that even we struggle with our very long name. We often shorten it to Lindsey Film Festival or Lindsey Fest. But, we won’t be doing away with our full name any time soon. It reflects both the man who whose dream was to support independent filmmaking in North Alabama, a foreign concept 21 years ago, and the university that made that dream a reality. George Lindsey graduated from the University of North Alabama in 1952, and when he conceived of a festival that provide film education to students and the community, he approached folks at the university who quickly adopted his vision. Our name is long, but it carries 21 years worth of hard work and devotion to filmmaking.
How is today’s festival different from the early years?
For one, we no longer wear evening dresses and tuxedos to the Awards Show, although that might be a fun custom to revisit someday. Most of our changes have to do with programming. We are happy to feature any star or industry expert who would like to appear at the festival, but our focus has shifted away from tracking down big names to using our limited resources to support the independent filmmakers who come to the festival to exhibit their work. This year, our support will allow 17 of our 21 finalists and one of our winning screenwriters to attend the festival. Combine those visitors with the 30 or more filmmakers coming to represent the 44 Alabama films we will be screening, and we’ve brought three days of intense creative energy to UNA and the Shoals community (which is already pretty darned creative!).
What kinds of films do you show?
All of them. Our competitive categories range from Youth Filmmaker, which includes filmmakers from kindergarten through high school, to Professional categories. We have short film and feature length categories, and documentary and narrative categories. And our Vanguard category is there for films that that don’t fit traditional molds. We are not genre based, so a narrative winner might be a comedy, a tragedy, or a musical. Our goal is to find the best films we can regardless of category or genre.
What about Alabama films?
This is VERY important to us. We made a decision a few years ago that even if a film made in Alabama does not make it into the finalist group in its category, we are going to screen it. Our state has worked hard over the years to attract filmmakers with or without adequate incentives, and the Lindsey Festival knows that supporting providing an opportunity for these filmmakers to exhibit their work will encourage them to keep making films. We now have so many Alabama films at the festival that we may have to add an extra day to the event in the future.
What do winners get?
Each category winner receives a trophy as well as a cash prize. These are presented at the annual Awards Show, the least event of the festival each year. The cash prize is our way of contributing to the ongoing work of our winners. We also have a special prize ($2000!) awarded to the best film made (partially or in full) in Alabama. This award is made possible by the generosity of the family of Clyde “Sappo” Black, George Lindsey’s beloved childhood friend. We really are about family at the George Lindsey UNA Film Festival!
If you have any questions we haven’t covered, please give us a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org. See you at the festival!