Lindsey fest showcases local talent, instructors

Andrew Reed, instructor of communications, accepts the award for Best of Show at this year’s George Lindsey UNA Film Festival.

The 15th annual George Lindsey UNA Film Festival ran March 1 to 3 and showcased local talent and members from UNA, despite bad weather on the second day.

After three days of film screenings and events, “I’m with Phil,” a documentary by UNA alumnus and instructor of film Andrew Reed, won Best of Show and the Clyde “Sappo” Black Sweet Home Alabama award at the closing awards ceremony. Reed was also awarded with Best Director and Best Editing for the film.

“For a long time, I was just helping with production, but I’ve never been the main guy with the movie before,” Reed said. “We’ve got a lot of major plans for this documentary. We really want to raise a lot of money for Phil Campbell and do some good. This is all for the town of Phil Campbell.”

The film follows the plans of people named Phil Campbell throughout the world to travel to the Alabama town and how the group responded and helped the town after it was ravaged by the April 27th tornadoes.

Reed’s short documentary about modern farming, “Making More of Less,” also was named the winner of the Professional Documentary division.

“Missing Pieces,” a mostly Birmingham-filmed movie by Kenton Bartlett and starring actor Mark Boone Jr., won the Audience Choice Award after a close race with other films.

“I appreciate that people appreciate the movie,” Boone Jr. said when the cast and crew accepted the award. “It was a labor of love for (Kenton) that started when he was 21, and now it’s three years later. I think it’s a pretty good movie, and I guess some other people do too.”

During the awards ceremony, clips from the past Best of Show winners played, accompanied by clips of Lindsey Film Fest co-founder Bill Jarrigan describing the 1998 creation of the festival.

In the second year of the screenplay competitions, “Wisdom of the Ancients” by Mark Perlick won best short screenplay and “Gossamer Folds” by Bridget Flanery-Fownes won best feature screenplay and was performed by UNA theater students.

Beside the films and scripts screened at the festival, several other events took place, including the appearance of the Entertainment Media Production and Crew Training truck with “Survivor” contestant Bobby Jon Drinkard, an open chat with actor Mike Rooker from “The Walking Dead” and the dedication of the George S. Lindsey Theater and Ernest Borgnine Performance Hall.

Vice President of Program Planning & Acquisitions for E! Entertainment Television Mark Scholnick also hosted several sessions for students looking into entering the entertainment industry.

“You can come up with a great idea, but where is the home for it?” Scholnick asked students and members of the community during a show pitch workshop. “With so many channels now, you’re not going to have another hit like ‘M*A*S*H*.’”

Prospective creators from the UNA community pitched several ideas, including dramas about rappers, a Friday Night Lights-styled show about vigilantes, a reality show about “mancations” and a sitcom set in a fast food restaurant.