Lindsey Festival Celebrates ‘Year of the Filmmaker’ With Full Lineup of Screenings, Screenplay Readings, Panel Discussions, Awards Show #myUNA

Office of University Communications & Marketing

Lindsey Festival Celebrates ‘Year of the Filmmaker’ With Full Lineup of Screenings, Screenplay Readings, Panel Discussions, Awards Show

Mar. 5, 2014

Natalie CanerdayBy Terry Pace, Communications and Marketing

FLORENCE, Ala. – The George Lindsey/UNA Film Festival is celebrating its 17th anniversary with a dedicated, concentrated three-day salute to “The Year of the Filmmaker.”

The university-based festival and creative competition – which honors outstanding screen works by professional, student and young filmmaker talents from all over the world – begins Thursday, March 6, and continues through Saturday, March 8, on the University of North Alabama campus.

The annual festival kickoff party will take place at 5 p.m. Thursday at Dish Gourmet Café on Mobile Street in downtown Florence.  Over the next three days, festival events will range from public screenings of qualified narratives and documentaries (in both feature and short formats) to panel discussions with visiting filmmakers, table readings of winning works in the annual screenplay competition and a gala awards show honoring this year’s top cinematic talents.

“We will have more independent filmmakers in attendance at this year’s festival than any year past,” according to Dr. Cynthia Burkhead, a UNA assistant professor of English who chairs the annual film competition and related programming.  “That means our film audiences will have more opportunities to hear filmmakers talk about their work during the Q&A sessions that follow the films. And there is a large variety of films in this year’s lineup, promising something for all interests.”

All film screenings – which are open to the public and presented free of charge – will take place in Room 131 of the UNA Communications Building, located on the east side of Pine Street, just north of Norton Auditorium. The complete schedule of film titles, screening times and synopses of storylines is available on the Lindsey festival website at

At 11 a.m. Friday, March 7, professional actors and UNA student actors will perform table readings of this year’s two award-winning screenplays in Room 124 of the UNA Communications Building. The 2014 Feature Screenplay winner is A Second Last Breath, by Amanda Creiglow of Brooklyn, New York. The winner of the 2014 Short Screenplay competition is More Than Life, by Ashley Matteson of Warwick, Rhode Island. 

Guest director Aaron Wolf will present his comedy short Guest House – a special showcase film presented outside the festival competition – at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 7, in Room 131 of the UNA Communications Building.  A panel discussion on “Activist Filmmaking” – featuring Shoals filmmaker Wes Wages, University of South Alabama professor and filmmaker Robert Gray and Norfolk, Virginia-based actor-producer-director Ethan Marten – will take place in The Loft of the Guillot University Center at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 8. The discussion will be moderated by Dr. Greg Pitts, chair of the UNA Department of Communications.

“Finally, the 17th annual festival awards show is moving back to the Mane Room this year,” Burkhead noted. “The awards show is our only ticketed event. Melissa Bain will provide our pre-show musical entertainment, and actress Natalie Canerday (shown here) of Sling Blade and October Sky will emcee our program.”

The awards show is set for 7 p.m. Saturday, March 8, at The Mane Room, the performance venue operated by the UNA Department of Entertainment Industry at the intersection of Tombigbee and Pine streets in downtown Florence. Pre-show music begins at 7 p.m., with the awards show itself set to begin at 7:30 p.m.

General admission is $10, but tickets are free for UNA students. Tickets are available in advance at the UNA Follett Bookstore (located in the new Commons building on the UNA campus) and the Wine Seller in downtown Florence. Tickets will also be available at the door.

The George Lindsey/UNA Film Festival was founded in 1998 by UNA alumnus Lindsey (1928-2012), whose long and versatile career in the entertainment industry included Broadway musicals, feature films, prime-time television and stand-up comedy. Lindsey earned lasting fame and audience adoration for his signature role as goofy, good-natured garage mechanic Goober Pyle on the beloved television 1960s-era sitcom The Andy Griffith Show and its spinoff, Mayberry R.F.D. 

For more information on the 2014 event, call the festival office at 256-765-4592, e-mail or visit

A high-resolution photo of actress Natalie Canerday is available for media use on the UNA Gallery at the following link: