Longleaf Studios film screening

Sandra Lafferty, third from left, takes a photo with JSU students and audience members a film screening at Longleaf Studios. 

Daniel Gaddy/The Anniston Star

Jacksonville’s Longleaf Studios on Wednesday hosted the third of six movie showings as part of a circuit of film showings across the South.

Organizers saw a bigger audience when compared to the previous two screenings, with about 50 people showing up. And among them was character actress Sandra Ellis Lafferty, best known for playing Maybelle Carter in the Johnny Cash biopic “Walk the Line.”

The actress, who lives in Fort Payne, said she came to the event to support independent filmmaking in the area.

Before the showing, Lafferty spent about 20 minutes taking photos with film students from Jacksonville State University near the gigantic green screen of Longleaf Studios.

State officials developed Longleaf Studios as an incubator for film production in Alabama. In April it became a partner for the Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers. The circuit, sponsored by the Atlanta-based nonprofit group South Arts, will screen 18 films in more than 20 cities throughout the South.

Lafferty said she became familiar with Longleaf Studios after meeting Pete Conroy at an event at the Little River Canyon Preserve in Fort Payne.

“It seems like I’ve known him forever,” she said Wednesday.

Conroy is president of the Northeast Alabama Entertainment Initiative, which founded Jacksonville’s Longleaf Studios.

Wednesday the studios hosted a screening of “Hotel Dallas” a genre-defying, experimental film that centers around Romania’s obsession with the TV series “Dallas” while the country was under communist control.  

“It’s a tale of cross-cultural juxtaposition,” said Sherng-Lee Huang, who made the film with his wife, Livia Ungur, who also stars in the movie.

The film series has three more screenings left, all of them happening in 2017.

After seeing tepid interest with the first two showings, organizers of the events announced the rest of the screenings will be free with online registration.


Feb. 3 — “Mango Dreams”

From South Arts: “A Hindu doctor with dementia and a Muslim auto rickshaw driver form an unlikely friendship as they journey a thousand miles across India in a rickshaw.” Both men use the trip as a form of therapy for their respective traumas. The doctor saw his family murdered by Muslims while the driver’s wife was raped and killed by Hindu rioters.

March 10 — “I Come From”

This film follows six incarcerated poets and playwrights who use their art to help guide them to more productive lives. Director Robby Henson has a master’s degree from New York University’s  graduate film school.

April 11 — “Speed Sisters”

This documents the first all-women race car driving team in the Middle East. The film covers their personal and professional lives as they compete in the Palestinian street-car racing scene.


Assistant Metro Editor Daniel Gaddy: 256-235-3560. On Twitter @DGaddy_Star.

I'm the assistant metro editor for The Anniston Star. I edit, post online stories and write the occasional story.