March is definitely coming in like a lion in Alabama this year. March 5-8 marks the occasion of the 12th Annual George Lindsey Film Festival in and around the area of Florence, Alabama, known as The Shoals. This four day festival serves up a smorgasbord for film aficionados. Alabama filmmaker, Max Shores, helps kick off the festival on Thursday, March 5, when he participates in a panel discussion with four other filmmakers. The panel discussion is followed at 6:30 by a screening of Shores' documentary "Songs Inside the Box." at Gas Studios in downtown Tuscumbia. Shores’ most recent film was also shown at the Treasure Coast International Film Festival (Florida) in January and will be shown at the Macon Film Festival (Georgia) in February. (photo of George LIndsey at Festival)
Three other Alabama films will be show on Thursday evening at Gas Studios: Six Blocks Wide, Monsters from the ID, and Eugene Walter: The Last of the Bohemians. I had the pleasure of meeting the incomparable Eugene Walter in 1988. I also reviewed his autobiography Milking the Moon in 2002 for the annual Alabama Writer's Symposium held in Monroeville. Robert Clem, filmmaker of The Last of the Bohemians, will appear on a panel at UNA on Friday, March 6.
Special guests for the 2009 LIndsey Film Festival will be veteran actors Rance Howard and Lee Majors. They will hold a Q and A session on Friday, March 6, and on Friday evening Howard and Majors will take the stage at the Guillot Center on the University of North Alabama campus to discuss their experiences in both film and television. The latter is a ticketed event. Saturday night will features an awards show and an after party, showcasing The Amazing Rhythm Aces. This is also a ticketed event. On Sunday afternoon, films by the award winners will be shown. Don't miss this exciting film festival held in north Alabama's beautiful Tennessee Valley.
In addition to the annual film festival, this March is the debut of The Southern Literary Trail with celebrations at literary landmarks and the homes of famous twentieth century writers of Southern fiction in Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi. Trailfest, the tri-state literary festival and a "first in the nation," includes panel discussions, dinners, tours, pilgrimages, play performances, and film screenings from the works of honored writers. In Alabama. The Trail's general menu will access events in every state and features an exclusive interview with Oscar-winning actress Patricia Neal, who worked with LIllian Hellman, Truman Capote, and Tennessee Williams. Robert Clem's film about Eugene Walter (The Last of the Bohemians) will be shown in Mobile on March 21 as part of the Trail events.
The March banquet of literary delights continues at the twenty-eighth annual Writing Today 2009 Writers’ Conference, held March 13-14 at Birmingham-Southern College. Writing Today focuses on the art and skill of creative expression through words. The varied program offers readings from distinguished authors, breakout sessions on magazine and book publishing topics, and networking opportunities for aspiring writers. In the past this event has included such literary luminaries as Horton Foote, Pat Conroy, James Dickey, Ernest Gaines, Joyce Carol Oates, Edward Albee, and Eudora Welty.
The month’s events will culminate with Alabama Bound—a celebration of books and authors with Alabama connections—held at the Birmingham Library on March 28. Don't miss seeing and hearing former Birmingham mayor Richard Arrington author of There's Hope for the World: the Memoir of Birmingham, Alabama's First African-American Mayor, as well as Robert McCammon and renowned poet Sonia Sanchez. Children's poet Charles Ghigna, (aka Father Goose) will be there, as well as a host of other writers. Ghigna is also on the program of Writing Today and the Alabama Book Festival in April. Alabama Bound is free and open to the public.
April in Alabama is never the cruelest but rather the coolest month—one chockfull of literary events. To mention just two of them, on April 18 Nanci Kincaid, author of the recently published Eat ,Drink, and Be from Mississippi, will be a guest at the Alabama Book Festival in Montgomery, Alabama. Kincaid will also be honored at a Nanci Kincaid Day on the campus of Athens State University in Athens, Alabama, on April 21.
For more about the literature of the south, see Southern Literature: Roots and Branches,
---Penne J. Laubenthal