George Lindsey Film Festival competition steepens

The 2015 George Lindsey UNA Film Festival promises heightened competition, a wide variety of films and star-studded panels.

The festival kicks off with a party March 5 at 5 p.m. at 116 E. Mobile Street. Guests can experience music, hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. Screenings will begin at 7 p.m. in Room 131 of the Communications Building.

“I know for sure the festival was more competitive this year than ever, said UNA alumnus Andrew Reed.

Competition has steepened, as the number of submissions increased from about 150 in 2014 to nearly 3,000 in 2015, said Chair of festival Judging Committee for the festival Hunter Tinsley.

Changes to the submission model, including eliminating the submission fee likely contributed to the increase, said English department chair Cynthia Burkhead.

Reed said festivals that do not require a submission fee are always more competitive.

“We’ve learned a lot this year about being a free festival,” Tinsley said. “We definitely need more man power next year to handle all the submissions.”

Judges whittled 3000 films to 30 to screen during the festival, Burkhead said

“The judges screen every film that is submitted,” Tinsley said. “This year, each judge had to watch about 500 films in order to judge them all.”

Although no UNA students submitted films this year, UNA alumnus Andrew Reed is competing in the film festival for the second time, Burkhead said.

Reed said his first feature documentary, “I’m With Phil,” won best in show at the Lindsey Festival in 2012.

His film, “Old Timer,” which was shot in north Alabama, will be screened at this year’s festival.

Reed said he and his former UNA classmates reunited to film and produce “Old Timer.”

The film is about a grandfather who joins a family game of wiffle ball to help his unathletic grandson. The grandfather ends up in a heated competition with his son. “Old Timer” teaches the value of having fun, no matter your age.

Festivalgoers can watch the film March 6 in Communications Building Room 131.

“The George Lindsey Film Festival is a good festival,” Reed said. “It’s very well organized, and they provide great entertainment and special panels for the public to check out.”

March 6 there will be a special screening and discussion by 15-year-old neuroscientist, Michelle Marquez.

Marquez will speak on the scientific connection between art and emotion, then present a short film she produced to explain her research, Burkhead said.

Her research attracted the attention of scientists at Harvard University and Johns Hopkins University.

“We’re happy to have her because we think it’s a good way to get people who typically might not enjoy going to films to come and have some enjoyment at the film festival,” Burkhead said.

Four of Hollywood’s “most successful” music supervisors will discus the process of selecting music for films March 6 in the Mane Room, senior John Orman said,

They selected music for “The Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Five Hundred Days of Summer,” “Pitch Perfect,” “Breaking Bad” and “The Walking Dead,” Orman said.

John Paul White will moderate the panel.

Orman assembled the music supervision panel for the festival.

“I think the focus on music will draw the community members who haven’t been to or heard about the festival before,” Orman said. “Music supervision is an interesting angle to look at film. They have a large creative hand in films. We really want to showcase what people in those positions do.”

Burkhead said she thinks it is important UNA supports the independent film industry.

“We’re here to support the arts, the sciences and technology. We need to be supporting this art form,” Burkhead said. “It’s important not only that our students, but also our community is exposed to independent filmmaking. It’s some of the best filmmaking, and we don’t get to see it at the theater.”

Reed said it is important for young, aspiring filmmakers to submit their films to several festivals.

“You have to get your films in front of a real audience,” he said. “Work the festivals first, then expose your film to the Internet. Take note of the feedback you get from the festivals and work to improve your filmmaking.”