South Arts Announces 2017-18 Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers

Filmmaker Robby Henson presents his film "I Come From" at Jule C
Filmmaker Robby Henson presents his film “I Come From” at Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art in March 2017

By Ivan Schustak, Director of Communications, South Arts –

South Arts, a Regional Arts Organization serving nine states in the Southeast announces the 2017-18 Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers. Throughout the season, 18 filmmakers will tour their work to 21 Screening Partner venues spanning nine states for a total of 123 screenings.

“Through the Southern Circuit, we are reshaping the relationship between films, filmmakers, and audiences,” said Teresa Hollingsworth, senior program director with South Arts. “Our Screening Partners are developing thriving audiences who support independent films, and filmmakers have the opportunity to interact with audiences in each community at receptions, Q&As, and workshops.”

“The Southern Circuit is about creating a deeper, more conversational approach to film,” continued Hollingsworth. “Instead of catching a documentary in your living room, audiences get to meet the filmmaker and discuss the creative process.”

“I had the pleasure to meet young people who want to tell stories – to become editors, journalists, directors and more,” explained filmmaker Joseph East, who recently toured his film I Will Dance on the Southern Circuit. “They are the future, and if the story of I Will Dance inspired any one of them to create, question or dream more, the trip was more than worth it for them alone.”

Filmmakers on the Southern Circuit come from all over the United States and embark on tours of up to two weeks throughout the South. During their tour, they experience portions of the country that are underserved by the film industry, both commercial and independent. One Screening Partner in Barbourville, Kentucky, explained Hollingsworth, is over thirty minutes away from the nearest movie theatre. For both filmmakers and audiences, the Southern Circuit is frequently the only option to connect the creative process. Last season, over 15,000 people attended Southern Circuit screenings and events throughout the South.

Screening Partners for the 2017-18 season include:

  • Arts Council of Central Louisiana in Alexandria, LA
  • Broward College in Davie, FL
  • City of Hapeville in Hapeville, GA
  • Clayton Center for the Arts in Maryville, TN
  • East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, TN
  • Florida State University in Tallahassee, FL
  • Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, AL
  • Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art/Auburn University in Auburn, AL
  • North Central Louisiana Arts Council/Dixie Center for the Arts in Ruston, LA
  • Oxford College of Emory University in Oxford, GA
  • Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC
  • South Miami-Dade Cultural Center in Cutler Bay, FL
  • Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center in Bowling Green, KY
  • The Center for Rural Development in Somerset, KY
  • The Tennessee Valley Art Association/Ritz Theatre in Sheffield, AL
  • Tropic Cinema/Key West Film Society in Key West, FL
  • Troy University in Troy, AL
  • Union College in Barbourville, KY
  • Union County Community Arts Council/Wingate University in Monroe, NC
  • Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, NC
  • Winder Cultural Arts Center in Winder, GA

Films and filmmakers selected for the 2017-18 season include:

  • 78/52 with Alexandre O. Philippe
  • Bending the Arc with Cori Shepherd Stern
  • Big Sonia with Leah Warshawki & Todd Soliday
  • Dalya’s Other Country with Julia Meltzer
  • Deej with Robert Rooy
  • Do Not Resist with Craig Atkinson
  • First Lady of the Revolution with Andrea Kalin
  • Jackson with Maisie Crow
  • Liyana with Amanda Kopp & Aaron Kopp
  • Look & See: A Portrait of Wendell Berry with Gill Holland
  • Purple Dreams with Robin Grey
  • Pushing Dead with Tom E. Brown
  • Quest with Jonathan Olshefski
  • Romeo is Bleeding with Donté Clark
  • Score: A Film Music Documentary with Matt Schrader
  • Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four with Deborah Esquenazi
  • Swim Team with Lara Stolman
  • When God Sleeps with Till Schauder

“Matching films and filmmakers with Screening Partners and communities is an intricate process,” continued Hollingsworth. “We received applications from over 300 filmmakers who wanted to participate this season.”

Hollingsworth and a team of industry experts watch each submitted film and narrow selections to the top 40. The remaining 40 films are submitted to each Screening Partner to review in the spring, with each partner focused on what content and styles might best resonate in their respective communities. Finally, the Screening Partners gather in Atlanta for a marathon session to select the films and filmmakers to be invited, and to begin mapping out tour possibilities. “The process ends up almost like we are drafting a fantasy football league,” laughed Hollingsworth.

The Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers accepts applicants from filmmakers with recently completed work in animation, documentaries, experimental, and fi­ction. This year’s selections reflect a growing interest in social justice and equality as well as the filmmaking process.

“The films and filmmakers this season are extraordinary,” continued Hollingsworth. “Deej celebrates the remarkable power of an individual who is nonspeaking and autistic collaborating directly with veteran filmmaker Robert Rooy.Jackson explores the controversy surrounding the closure of Mississippi’s last abortion clinic and examines the conflicting debate between religious and reproductive rights. QUEST follows a family that emphasizes the transformative and healing power of music to their North Philadelphia community through a small music studio. Each film this season was selected for its deep resonance within the communities we serve, and we look forward to the rich dialogues between filmmakers and the audience.”

Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmaker screenings are coordinated by South Arts in conjunction with each independent Screening Partner. A full list of screenings is available on the South Arts website, and further information, as well as ticketing, may be found with each Screening Partner. The Southern Circuit is produced with support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the State Arts Agencies of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

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