The George Lindsey UNA Film Festival is hosted each year by the University of North Alabama in Florence, one of the four cities comprising the culturally rich Shoals. The Shoals is an entertainment Mecca with long roots, which reach to the heart of rock and roll, southern rock, and the blues. Highlighted in the award-winning documentary "Muscle Shoals," it is the birthplace of “America’s First Lady of Courage” (Helen Keller), "The Father of the Blues" (W.C. Handy), and the legendary “Father of Rock and Roll” (Sam Phillips), who first recorded the likes of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, and the list goes on.

The Shoals area has always been known for its creative spirit and energy. It is now building on its rich musical heritage by devoting many of its resources toward enhancing its emerging film industry. Since 1998, The Lindsey Film Festival has contributed to that effort through the exhibition of independent films from across the world and the appearances of many special guests, including Oscar winners Billy Bob Thornton and Ernest Borgnine; "Sling Blade" co-stars Lucas Black and Natalie Canerday; character actors Rance Howard (“Cool Hand Luke”) and Stephen Root ("O Brother, Where Art Thou?"); Oscar nominated screenwriter Will Fetters; renowned film critic and Florence native Jonathan Rosenbaum; makeup-effects artist Robert Hall (“Angel” and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"), actors Michael Rooker (“The Walking Dead,” “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer), Michael O'Neill ("Transformers", "Dallas Buyers Club") James Tolkan ("Back to the Future" and "Top Gun"), Lee Majors (“The Six Million Dollar Man”), Grant Goodeve ("Eight is Enough") and Cedric Pendleton (“The Shield"); music supervisors Dave Jordan, Julianne Jordan, Thomas Golubic, and Andrea von Foerster; screenwriter and producer Bob Gale; radio personality Mark Thompson (of "Mark & Brian" fame), and many more.

As a competitive film festival, we welcome local, national, and international entries. First place winners in each category receive an award. A special award, gifted in memory of George Lindsey’s dear childhood friend, Clyde “Sappo” Black, is given to the best film made in Alabama. Past winners have included Shane Acker's Oscar-nominated "9," Steve Guttenberg's "P.S. Your Cat is Dead," Robert Hall's "Lightning Bug" and the Kathryn Tucker Windham documentary "Kathryn: A Story of a Teller." Jury awards are also given, as well as the George Lindsey Award for Best Comedy Film.

The George Lindsey UNA Film Festival was founded by celebrated entertainer George Lindsey, along with now deceased Communications professor Bobby Hurt and now retired Office of Communications Director Bill Jarnigain, George Lindsey is well known for his role of Goober Pyle on the "Andy Griffith Show" and many other credits in television, including episodes of “Hee Haw,” “The Twilight Zone," "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour," "Gunsmoke," "M*A*S*H," and as the host of Turner South's Emmy award-winning "Liars & Legends."

Golden Lion Award for Best Film or Screenplay in each category

Best of Fest Award

Sweet Home Alabama Award
Given for the best film made at least partially in Alabama.
Sponsor:Clyde “Sappo” Black Family
Cash Award Value: 2,000 U.S. Dollar
This prize is shared with other categories.

George Lindsey Award for Best Comedy Film
This prize is shared with other categories.

Jason Flynn Memorial Award for Best UNA Cinematic Arts and Theatre Film

UNA Mitchell-West Award for Diversity in Film

Special Jury Award
Honors include: Best Story; Best Directing; Best Cinematography; Best Actress; Best Actor; Best Editing; Best Sound Design; Best Score
This prize is shared with other categories.

1. The Sweet Home Alabama Award, (sponsored by the family of Clyde “Sappo” Black) carries a $2,000 cash award. To be eligible, entries must have been shot, at least partially, in Alabama. To be considered for this award (in addition to qualifications in the area of entry) a brief explanation of qualification must be provided at the time of submission. If an explanation is not provided at the time of submission, the entry may still be judged within the category of entry, but will not qualify for the Sweet Home Alabama Award.

2. A feature film runtime typically exceeds 40 minutes, while a short film runtime does not. Feature films are accepted, but short films are preferred. This does not apply to screenplays, since there is a distinct category of entry for features and shorts.

3. Student film entries are accepted from students enrolled in a degree-granting college or university program during the time of production. A COPY OF THEIR STUDENT ID OR TRANSCRIPT IS REQUIRED UPON SUBMISSION FOR CONFIRMATION. THE FESTIVAL RESERVES THE RIGHT TO DISQUALIFY ENTRIES THAT ARE NOT SUBMITTED WITH CORRECT DOCUMENTATION.

4. The Youth Filmmaker award is for short productions completed by students before entering college or university studies (typically ages 5-18). A COPY OF THEIR STUDENT ID OR TRANSCRIPT IS REQUIRED UPON SUBMISSION FOR CONFIRMATION. THE FESTIVAL RESERVES THE RIGHT TO DISQUALIFY ENTRIES THAT ARE NOT SUBMITTED WITH CORRECT DOCUMENTATION.

5. The Vanguard award is for short films of alternative expression, innovative aesthetic, or original exploration of abstract technique. Examples include Animation, Music Video, Avant-garde, etc.

6. A Feature Screenplay must exceed 80 pages. For screenplay entry, upload in any two of the following format extensions: “.pdf”; “.fdr”, or “.doc”.

7. A Short Screenplay must not exceed 80 pages. For screenplay entry, upload in any two of the following format extensions: “.pdf”; “.fdr”, or “.doc”.

8. All entries must have been completed after January 1, 2021

9. No previously screened material of the George Lindsey UNA Film Festival may be submitted for competition again.

10. Multiple entries are accepted, but a complete submission entry will need to be completed for each individual project.

11. Submissions may be in HD, Vimeo, or YouTube format.

12. All films selected for screening grant the George Lindsey UNA Film Festival the right to use them for promotional purposes.

13. The George Lindsey UNA Film Festival is permitted to retain copies of each film selected as part of our festival library and for media educational use.

14. The earliest arriving promotional materials stand a more reasonable chance of receiving press screenings or highlight within promotions for the festival. This is due simply to our access to these items and does not reflect preference by the festival or judges.

15. Submission of materials for consideration does not guarantee inclusion in festival screenings.

16. The festival reserves the right to disqualify from competition any entry in which categorical qualifications of contributors have been misrepresented. If the eligibility of an entry is questioned the festival is authorized to make determinations.

17. Noncompliance with any rules, terms, and conditions may affect entry qualifications.

18. A press kit is required after acceptance but requested at the time of submission. It should include:

Film Press Kit Requirements
- Synopsis of plot and premise (not to exceed 150 words)
- Bio and filmography information for contributors
- Complete list of film credits
- Digital high-resolution images: on-set production stills, film screen captures, promotional art (such as postcards, fliers, and posters), press clippings, etc. – 300+ dpi resolution is requested
- Clip (not to exceed one minute in length) to be used for publicity and/or at the awards show ceremony (acceptable extensions: “.avi”; “.mpg”; “.mov”)
- OPTIONAL: Trailer (not to exceed two minutes in length) to be used for publicity and/or at the awards show ceremony

Screenplay Press Kit Requirements
- Synopsis of plot and premise (not to exceed 150 words)
- Bio and filmography information for contributor(s)
- Digital high resolution image of writer(s) – 300+ dpi resolution is requested
- OPTIONAL: Copy of the defining scene that captures the essence of the screenplay

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • It was a real pleasure sharing our film, planet b234, at the George Lindsey UNA Film Festival. The weekend was full of well attended networking events, panels, talkbacks and screenings. The size of this festival allows an opportunity to really connect with other filmmakers. We would absolutely submit again!

    April 2022
  • Elizabeth Chatelain

    I love the George Lindsey Festival so much! It's my second time attending, and as before the whole festival is so hospitable to filmmakers. Everyone is lovely and excited to have you there. What is most fun is to connect with the university students who are there to learn more about filmmaking and are just getting their start into the world. And Florence/Muscle Shoals is a really cool place to visit - they have the recording studio and one of the Frank Lloyd Wright houses nearby. Overall just an incredible experience, I hope I can come back again!

    March 2022
  • Sasha Levinson

    This festival was truly a unique and wonderful experience. I had read previous positive reviews so I was excited but didn't know what to expect. Ultimately this festival was supportive and thoughtfully run. The town was a historical jewel box brimming with musical history and almost felt like a living museum. There was such a great selection of films, it felt like a true cinematic discovery. The festival team was extremely communicative and supportive and went the extra mile to make sure we felt welcome. The awards party was catered by the UNA hospitality department and was FANTASTIC. Thank you so much for having us!

    March 2022
  • Natalie Justus

    I had the amazing opportunity to attend this festival to represent my screenplay at the awards ceremony. The festival was a wonderful weekend getaway full of screenings and connecting with other filmmakers from the Alabama region and from all over the country. They took care of my hotel and really cared for all the individuals attending the festival.

    March 2022
  • Lily Prater

    Florence, AL really is a wonderful community, and I am so thrilled I got to be a small part of it. The only thing I wish was more panels or networking events outside of the screenings. There were so many wonderful people, and I wish I had more time to talk to them all.

    March 2022