Film Festivals Around The South

With a large portion of the country’s population shifting towards the Sunbelt, The South is experiencing a sort of rebirth at the moment. Loads of people from the Northeast, Midwest and West Coast are moving here in droves and the locals and newbies to the South alike are reaping the rewards of the cultural rejuvenation that comes with the melding of regional identities, accents, politics, food and more. One example of this recent cultural shift is the burgeoning film industry below the Mason-Dixon line. Within the last decade or so, in varying capacities, numerous states have enacted, experimented with, abandoned and renewed tax credits for film projects and it has had a lasting impact that shows no signs of slowing. Regardless of whether or not their home state affords films a tax credit or not Southerners are making more movies. Our affordable housing, warm climate and easy-going way of life all put a unique perspective on the films made in this part of the country. Let’s have a look at some of the film festivals around The South that celebrate and contribute to this globally popular art form.


 Sidewalk Film Festival | Birmingham, AL | August 20 – August 26, 2018

Alabama Theater District people who like film festivals

First debuting in 1999, Sidewalk film festival is held annually at a two-screen independent movie theater in the heart of the Birmingham theater district. The more than 250 films that are screen at the festival draw 15,000 visitors from Alabama, across the South, and around the world. The festivals aim is to encourage film making and an elevated awareness and tolerance across the state of Alabama. Some of the films being screened this year include:

Click Here for a list of some of the films being screen at this year’s Sidewalk Film Festival

Get Tickets Here

Rome International Film Festival | Rome, GA |  November 1 – 4, 2018

Historic DeSoto Theater film festivals attendees

Facing east on Broad Street in Rome, Georgia

Broad Street, Rome GA, in Autumn

15 years running, The Rome International Film Festival  welcomes film makers from around the world to this charming town nestled at the confluence of the Etowah and Oostanaula rivers that form the the Coosa.  The festival take place at the historic DeSoto Theater, and across the street at the historic Rome Auditorium. Last year Burt Reynolds attended a screen of Smokey and the Bandit and, afterwards, did a Q&A for the audience. No Telling who will show up this year at the one of the South’s premiere rural film festivals.


Oxford Film Festival | Oxford Mississippi | February 6 – 10, 2019

Black and White picture of silhouette of speaker

Downtown Oxford Mississippi

Founded in 2003 by the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council the Oxford Film Festival has grown substantially through the years and annually exhibits over 200 films and has drawn famous patrons such as James Franco and Danny Glover.  The festival hosts films in not only showcase, but competition settings as well and even features film made by kids, too. The festival’s goal is to embrace film-making education in the North Mississippi area as well as advocate social-consciousness. Not many other film festivals around the South can boast of so many A-list attendees.


Fayetteville Film Festival | Fayetteville AR | September 20-22, 2018

Panel of People at Fayetteville film festival

University of Arkansas

Fayetteville Arkansas in Autumn

Spanning a decade since its inception, the Fayetteville Film Festival is held just a stone’s throw from the University of Arkansas at the Global Campus theater. The festival showcases films from various age-groups such has high-school and up-and-coming filmmakers. Multiple genres are highlighted as well – virtual reality, horror, experimental, and documentaries are just a sample. Be sure to go ahead and purchase tickets here as you’ll not want to miss the opening-night red carpet party.


Indie Grits Festival | Columbia, SC | March 

Nickelodeon Theater in Columbia at dusk


Indie Grits film festivals patrons

The Indie Grits Labs annual film festival  serves as just one outlet for a local organization whose deeper goal is to enrich the community through arts, education and media. First started in 2006 Indie Grits labs has grown exponentially in the last ten years and aspires to be an outlet for DIY filmmakers and to maintain a year-round presence cultivating media-literacy throughout the Columbia community via an art gallery, a PrintLab, workspaces, and more. The film festival is held at the Nickelodeon Theater in downtown Columbia. Submissions to the festival are now open.


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