Organizers deem UNA George Lindsey Film Festival successful Shoals event

Organizers of the 18th annual George Lindsey UNA Film Festival said nothing stood in the way of putting on successful events March 5-7.

Judges granted awards for eight categories and the Best in Show after reviewing more than 3,000 submissions.

“We had one of our best festivals ever despite having to weather the ice storm on Thursday,” said Chair of the English Department Cynthia Burkhead. “Our special guests and visiting filmmakers were extremely pleased with the festival and with UNA. We look forward to an even better year next year.”

Prior to the festival’s start, organizers indicated more submissions were made this year than ever before.

“(Judges) started watching in July,” Burkhead said. “Each preliminary judge had 200 to 500 films. Once the finalists were determined, the judging process was much easier and more manageable.”

Removal of the entry fee for this year’s submissions likely led to the large number of submissions, she said. “We need to look at charging a very small fee just as a way of controlling and managing the number of submissions,” she said.

Director and actor Aaron Wolf, and producer Ethan Marten hosted the festival’s activities, which included screenings of 30 films with representation from 13 nations.

The festival also included a presentation by award-winning, 15-year-old scientist Michelle Marquez, a special screening of Aaron Wolf’s latest film, “The Walk,” and a music supervision panel with four Hollywood music supervisors hosted by John Paul White.

Several award-winners were in attendance, but for those who were not, videos of their acceptance speeches were played on-screen.

The winner in each category received an award statuette, and “Best in Show” received a cash award of $500.

“Thank you to the George Lindsey Film Festival. This is phenomenal, incredible,” said Sean Cox, cinematographer for “Dead Hearts,” which took home the award for Professional Narrative: Short and Best of Show.

The Clyde “Sappo” Black award, which went to “River Dreams” directed by Hunter Nichols of Birmingham, Alabama, included a $2,000 award to an outstanding director who shot a film all or in-part in Alabama.

“Long live cinema, and long live the George Lindsey Film Festival,” said Alexis Barbosa of France in his acceptance video for the Young Filmmaker award for his short “Mona.”

The award-winners happily accepted their honors and thanked the George Lindsey UNA Film Festival for its showing and appreciation of their work.

Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres provided by UNA’s culinary department precluded the award show. The culinary department also set up props for guests to use in the photo booth.