Wednesday, December 02, 2015

November Update: IMBA Means Sing!

Welcome back everyone! We at South Arts hope that you had a joyous Thanksgiving holiday! Today we have another blog post from one of our filmmakers, Erin Bernhardt, as she completed her Southern Circuit with her film, IMBA Means Sing. We hope that you enjoy her blog post! 

IMBA Means Sing Blog Post #2 - by Erin Bernhardt

Hey again y’all! I had the best time on the Southern Circuit tour. If it weren’t for my husband at home, I would never want this incredible experience to end.

After traveling across the South showing IMBA MEANS SING to so many incredible communities, I have some recommendations of things to check out:

1. You should visit every place we screened! Each town, community and college was wonderful. They all have such charming places to eat, people to meet, and treasures to see and experience.

Here are the list of cities that we visited while on tour: 

 Monroe, North Carolina
Bonita Springs,  Florida
Memphis, Tennessee
Barbourville, Kentucky
Hapeville, Georgia
Troy, Alabama
Hanceville, Alabama
Sheffield, AL

2. Rural roads are so beautiful and relaxing that you need to drink tons of coffee to stay awake. Luckily, there were fantastic local coffee shops in places I visited. My favorite was River Town Coffee in Florence, Alabama.

3. Being born and raised in Atlanta and a sixth generation Georgian, I was so surprised that I have never been to this gem of a city: Hapeville. It happens to be home to three of my, and Imba’s, favorite things: Delta Airlines, Chick-fil-a and one of our Associate Producer’s dads – Jeff Foxworthy! Next time your flying through Atlanta, you should leave the airport on your layover and have a meal at Volare Bistro in their historic downtown.

4. If you are a filmmaker, you need to apply for the Southern Circuit! The audiences and hosts were incredible. The Q&As were packed with riveting discussions. You’ll have the best time!

Thank you so much Teresa, Patti, all of our incredible Imba hosts, and the whole South Arts team! 

I would love for all of you to share our film -- it comes out on demand and digitally on Friday, December 4! You can find the links to download at, and makes for a perfect holiday gift for anyone! 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

2015-2016 Southern Circuit November Filmmaker Updates

Hello again, everyone! Today we would like to share a blog post with you from one of our filmmakers, Erin Bernhardt, and her first of many great experiences she will have while on the Southern Circuit. Enjoy!

Imba Means Sing - Blog Post #1 by Erin Bernhardt.

The first two days sharing IMBA MEANS SING on the Southern Circuit have been incredible! I am so grateful and think this is the coolest thing the government could do to help bring important films to communities. Thank you!

Here are a few highlights so far:

- Several close friends from various times in my life – high school, summer camp, studying abroad in Australia, volunteering in Uganda – came to our screening at Wingate University. It was such a treat to see them. I’m on my way to Memphis right now where I get to spend the night with one of my best friends from college, too. Who knew a tour away from home could be so full of love?!?

- A college class full of future teachers at Wingate is going to use our Imba Discussion and Impact Guide. I can’t wait to hear how it goes!

- The awesome audience in Bonita Springs asked some of the greatest questions last night after the screening. Their wisdom and wonder were really inspiring to me. They also shared stories about friends they know who are also making a difference in Africa. I love that our film helps connect viewers to so many amazing people.

My favorite moment was when the entire audience together realized how incredible it is that it just took ONE PERSON, Ray Barnett, to have the idea to start the African Children’s Choir and the impact one human can make. I know it encouraged them to all live and give in their lives to the fullest.

More soon! Can’t wait to see y’all in TN, KY, GA and AL soon!

For more information about the African Children's Choir, scroll over the "African Children's Choir" link to the left.  

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Shield and Spear - October Update

Hello, everyone! 

One of our filmmakers for the October session on the Southern Circuit, Petter Ringbom, documented his trip and would like to share his experiences while on the circuit with you with his personal blog

We hope that you will visit his website for a more in depth look of his film and his time on the Southern Circuit. 

2015-2016 Southern Circuit November Films

Hello, everyone! We hope you were able to view a screening of our October filmmakers who were on the Southern Circuit Tour last month. Just in case you might have missed out, here is the list of the films that were on tour:  

Movement and Location by Alexis and Bodine Boling
Shield and Spear by Petter Ringbom
1971 by Johanna Hamilton

Throughout the month of November, we are proud to announce three new documentaries from our filmmakers: Jeanie Finlay, Alexandria Bombach & Mo Scarpelli, and Erin Bernhardt. And as always, the filmmakers travel with their films and are in attendance for post-screening discussions.

ORION tells the story of Jimmy Ellis of Orrville Alabama – an unknown singer plucked from obscurity, and thrust into the spotlight as part of a crazy scheme that had him masquerade as Elvis back from the grave. With an outlandish fictional identity torn from the pages of a novel, the backing of the legendary birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll Sun Records and a voice that seemed to be the very twin of Presley’s himself, the scheme – concocted in the months after Presley’s death exploded into a cult success – and the “Elvis is alive” myth was begun.
Borne by his incredible voice, Jimmy – as the masked and rhinestoned Orion – gained the success he’d always craved, the women he always desired and the adoration of screaming masses but it wasn’t enough…
Our story revels in the manipulative schemes of the music industry, the truth and lies at the heart of the story, the allure of fantasy and the eternal search for identity. Orion proves that fact is indeed ‘stranger than fiction’. This is the story behind that story. Who was that masked man?
Jeanie Finlay is an acclaimed British artist and filmmaker who creates intimate, funny and personal documentary films and artworks. Her focus is on creating compelling portraits and she is obsessed with uncovering what makes people tick. Incorporating art, film and event cinema her work is known for its innovation in audience engagement and distribution.
Her work includes the feature documentaries Orion: The Man Who Would be King (89 mins BBC Storyville) Panto! (71 mins BBC Storyville) The Great Hip Hop Hoax (88 mins BBC Storyville, BBC Scotland), SOUND IT OUT (75 mins ) and sister artwork More than Music, Goth Cruise for IFCTeenland (BBC) and interactive documentary Home-Maker.
November 3, 2015: Carolina Theare of Greensboro, Greensboro, NC
November 4, 2015: Contemporary Arts Center (CAC), New Orleans, LA 
November 5, 2015: Florida State University Foundation, Inc.  Tallahassee, FL
November 6, 2015: Miami-Dade County Dept of Cultural Affairs, Cutler Bay, FL 

When the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, taking a photo was a crime. After the regime fell from power in 2001, a fledgling free press emerged and a photography revolution was born. Now, as foreign troops and media withdraw, Afghanistan is left to stand on its own, and so are its journalists. Set in a modern Afghanistan bursting with color and character, FRAME BY FRAME follows four Afghan photojournalists as they navigate an emerging and dangerous media landscape – reframing Afghanistan for the world, and for them. Through cinema vérité, intimate interviews, powerful photojournalism, and never-before-seen archival footage shot in secret during the Taliban regime, the film connects audiences with four humans in the pursuit of the truth.

Alexandria Bombach is an Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker who lives on the road. Founding her production company RED REEL in 2009, Alexandria is known to sell all of her belongings to tell a story she believes in. In 2010, Alexandria set out to film “23 Feet” a 30 minute documentary about people living a simple life in order to do what they love in the outdoors, “23 Feet” takes an in depth look at what it means to live for your passions. The film screened at festivals in 15 countries and across the U.S. in a rogue distribution outlet: her 1970 Airstream with an outdoor theatre attached to it. Her Emmy Award-winning 2012 film series MoveShake features real life stories and lessons of people dedicating their lives to environmental and social issues. Focusing on character-driven films, Alexandria’s work is defined by her ability to get to the core of what drives passionate people to do what they do

Mo Scarpelli is a non-fiction filmmaker and multimedia journalist. Her curiosity of humans and her compulsion to the underexposed has led her to shoot in more than 15 countries around the world. Mo is the Founder and Director of Rake Films, which produces character-rich films and multimedia stories for news and non-profits. Rake’s award-winning short films with non-profits have screened at the World Health Organization, the United Nations and in global health events across Africa, Asia, Europe and the U.S. As a journalist, Mo’s work has been published with the BBC, The Wall Street Journal, Africa Review, The Huffington Post and She holds a Bachelor’s in Journalism from the University of Missouri, nearly 10 years of experience filming in unfamiliar territories, and that bottle opener on her at all times doubles as a tripod key


November 5, 2015: Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art Auburn University, Auburn, AL
November 8, 2015: Winder Cultural Arts Center, Winder, GA 
November 9, 2015: East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN 
November 10, 2015: Oxford College of Emory University: Oxford, GA
November 11, 2015: Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, GA
November 12, 2015: Presbyterian College, Clinton, SC 

IMBA MEANS SING is the story of one little boy who is a big star. As the celebrity drummer from the Grammy-nominated African Children’s Choir, Moses relies on his youthful resilience. Growing up in the slums of Kampala, Uganda, Moses and his family lack enough resources for him to even attend the first grade. The film is an intimate character portrait, stunningly shot and told through Moses’ perspective on his one shot journey from poverty towards his dream of becoming a pilot.

Erin Bernhardt is a humanitarian journalist, filmmaker and impact producer dedicated to making movies that make a difference. She works to inspire and motivate people to rally behind important issues and causes. Erin is currently on tour with her first independent documentary feature film, Imba Means Sing, a story about music, education, and poverty alleviation told through the eyes of young members from the Grammy-nominated African Children’s Choir. A former CNN writer/producer and Peace Corp volunteer, Erin now works to bring media and development together. She is grateful to have won several awards for her work, including an Emmy and two Peabody’s. Most recently, Erin was honored with IndieFEST’s Award of Excellence for Women Filmmakers, Speranza Foundation’s ‘Female Filmmaker of the Year’ grant and with giving two TEDxWomen talks. Erin has a heart for her city and the developing world. Locally, she is part of LEAD Atlanta and the Beltline’s Young Advisory Council. She’s a proud wahoo from the University of Virginia and loves making new friends, adventuresome travel, live music and yoga


November 9, 2015: Union County Community Arts Council, Monroe, NC 
November 10, 2015: Center for the Arts Bonita Springs, Bonita Springs, FL
November 11, 2015: Memphis Development Foundation, Memphis, TN
November 12, 2015: Union College, Barbourville, TN 
November 13, 2015: City of Hapeville Association of Trade & Tourism, Hapeville, GA
November 16, 2015: Troy University, Troy, AL
November 19, 2015: Wallace State Community College, Hanceville, AL
November 20, 2015: The Tennessee Valley Art Association/Ritz Theatre, Sheffield, AL

We hope that you be in attendance to enjoy the films and to meet the filmmakers! 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

MOVEMENT AND LOCATION on the Southern Circuit tour
by Bodine Boling

Alexis and I just had the incredible pleasure of taking, MOVEMENT AND LOCATION, on the Southern Circuit Tour. We brought our casual science fiction feature first to Greensboro, North Carolina, and then on to Tallahassee and Miami, Florida.

Greensboro had us screening in the gorgeous Carolina Theater; although, first we ate some nachos.

We had a great Q&A — thoughtful, interesting questions and a series of great conversations, which Alexis and I continued with some audience members over at Natty Greene’s until they started putting stools up on tables and turned on all the lights. It was a wonderful night.

Then we went to Tallahassee! We screened at the IMAX at the Challenger Learning Center.

Look how big it is! Let me tell you it’s pretty remarkable to see your own face STORIES HIGH. This was also a great Q&A, with a smart, engaged crowd. Then we had dinner with some of the extraordinary Opening Nights staff.

Then we went to Miami! Eric Fliss, director of the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, showed us around the incredible facility.

Alexis and I actually ducked out for the screening itself and watched a phenomenal jazz show in their black box theater, then came back for the Q&A. Which, again, turned out to be full of amazing and insightful questions from a thoughtful, engaged crowd. And a big thanks to Kevin Sharpley for moderating.

It was a whirlwind of a week, but so fun, and such an honor.

MOVEMENT AND LOCATION is science fiction more in context than plot—we tried to make a real, human drama (but funny) where a few of the characters happen to be time travelers. My favorite thing is when a person comes up to me after a screening and confesses that he or she generally hates science fiction but really enjoyed my film. I love this so, so much. It happened a lot at film festivals, often women over 30 who are bored by movies that don’t make them think, and it happened after every screening on the Southern Circuit tour.

I can relate to this, which is why I wrote the script I did. Making it was a bit of an ordeal, but getting to share it with new audiences is a joy, and makes the process feel totally worth it.

In December well have our last Southern Circuit screening in New Orleans. I’ll be sure to check in after!

More details about the film here, including trailer and ways to watch:

With gratitude,

Bodine (& Alexis) Boling

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

2015-2016 Southern Circuit October Films

Hi, everyone! We hope you enjoyed the filmmakers' films as they toured on the Southern Circuit for the 2015-2016 season during the month of September. Here is a brief recap of the films that were screened in September. 

I Will Dance by Joseph East 

During the month of October, we are proud to present to three films: two documentaries by Petter Ringbom and Johanna Hamilton, respectively, and a science fiction thriller by Alexis and Bodine Boling. And as always, filmmakers travel with their films and are in attendance for post-screening discussions.

Kim Getty is an immigrant from 400 years in the future, sent back to modern-day Brooklyn to live an easier life. She's built a new identity in this time that nearly satisfies: she has a full time job, shares an apartment with a roommate and is falling in love. But when she encounters two other people from the future - a 15 year-old girl and Kim's own long-lost husband - Kim must fight to keep the life she once had from destroying the new life she's built.

Alexis Boling is Georgia-born but Brooklyn-based. As director and cinematographer, he made the "Mansford Roof" music video for Vampire Weekend, the first three seasons of Moonshiners for the Discovery Channel and the Ted Haggard Monologues, a narrative feature based on a hit play by Michael Yates Crowley. Recent projects include the Carousel Ride music video for Rubblebucket and a new show on Nat Geo called Live Free or Die


October 13, 2015: Carolina Theatre of Greensboro, Greensboro, NC
October 15, 2015: Challenger Learning Center, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL
October 16, 2015: South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, Cutler Bay, FL
December 16, 2015: Contemporary Arts Center (CAC), New Orleans, LA

An artist paints a caricature of South African president Jacob Zuma that provokes a lawsuit, death threats and a massive street protest. An musician devises a stage character based on an archetypal African dictator to more freely comment on his community and his country. For a group of designers in Soweto, their fashion creations and style are manifestations of freedom. A photographer dedicates her life to documenting the LGBT community and exposing hate crimes that go unnoticed by the government and mainstream media. While one Johannesburg-based band is overtly political, another band makes a conscious decision to not deal with politics. Shield and Spear explores a constellation of stories about art, music, identity, race, and freedom of expression in South Africa, twenty years into democracy.

Petter Ringbom is a New York-based director of documentary and narrative films. His debut feature documentary The Russian Winter, a film about American musician John Forté, premiered at Tribeca Film Festival in 2012 and screened at IDFA, Moscow Int’l Film Festival, and Gothenburg Int’l Film Festival. His short film May Fly premiered at Stockholm Int’l Film Festival and screened at festivals around the world. Petter’s video collaboration with the artist Karl Haendel, Questions for My Father, has screened at Harris Lieberman Gallery, Susanne Vielmetter Projects, Utah Museum of Contemporary Arts, and Wexner Center for the Arts.Questions for My Father was selected for the Art Video program at Art Basel Miami in 2012. After studying at the Cooper Union School of Art in New York, Petter partnered in the creative agency Flat, where he served as an art director for clients like MoMA, Red Cross and ESPN. He has taught at Parsons School of Design and New York University and served on the board of the American Institute of Graphic Arts. Petter is a Film Independent Fast Track Fellow for 2013.


October 19, 2015: DP Culp University Center, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN
October 20, 2015: Harrington-Peachtree Academic Center (First Floor Amphitheater), Presbyterian College, Clinton, SC
October 21, 2015: Williams Gymnasium, Oxford College of Emory University, Oxford, GA
October 22, 2015: Jule Collins Smith Museum, Auburn University, Auburn, AL
October 24, 2015: Colleen O. Williams Theater, Winder Cultural Arts Center, Winder, GA
October 26, 2015: University Center Theater, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC

On March 8, 1971 eight ordinary citizens broke into an FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania, a town just outside Philadelphia, took hundreds of secret files, and shared them with the public. In doing so, they uncovered the FBI’s vast and illegal regime of spying and intimidation of Americans exercising their First Amendment rights.
Despite searching for the people behind the heist in one of the largest investigations ever conducted, the FBI never solved the mystery of the break-in, and the identities of the members of the Citizens’ Commission to Investigate the FBI remained a secret. Until now…
Johanna Hamilton co-produced Pray the Devil Back to Hell, the gripping account of a group of brave and visionary women who demanded peace for Liberia, a nation torn to shreds by a decades old civil war. It premiered at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival where it won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary and was later short-listed for an Academy Award. It screened at hundreds of festivals and grassroots events around the world. In fall 2011, it spearheaded the PBS mini-series, Women, War & Peace. The series won the Overseas Press Club Edward R. Murrow Award for best documentary. Johanna has produced non-fiction programs for PBS, The History Channel, A&E, Discovery Channel, The Washington Post/Newsweek Productions and New York Times Television. Johanna began her career in the dramatic run-up to the 1994 first all-race elections in South Africa. She went on to work on the country’s premier investigative magazine program, Carte Blanche. She has worked in Africa, Europe and North America and received numerous awards for her work. She is an alumnus of the Garrett Scott Documentary Development Grant and the Sundance Documentary + Composers Lab. Johanna is a graduate of the University of London and holds an MA in Broadcast Journalism from New York University. 1971 is her documentary feature debut.
October 13, 2015: Center for Performing Arts Bonita Springs, Bonita Springs, FL
October 14, 2015: Rector Little Theatre, Union College, Barbourville, KY
October 15, 2015: Burrow Center Recital Hall, Hanceville, AL
October 16, 2015: Ritz Theatre, Sheffield, AL
October 19, 2015: Trojan Center Theatre, Troy University, Troy, AL
October 20, 2015: Batte Center, Wingate University, Wingate, NC
October 21, 2015: Halloran Centre at the Orpheum Theatre, Memphis, TN
October 23, 2015: Hapeville Historic Christ Church & Carriage House, Hapeville, GA
We hope that you will be in attendance!!! 

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

"I Will Dance" Tour with Joseph East

It was an incredible trip touring I Will Dance on the Southern Circuit. All of my hosts, as well as the people I was given the opportunity to meet, were welcoming and generous. Below are my top 10 highlights, in no particular order:

1. I WILL Cards

At the end of each showing, we handed out cards and invited everyone in the audience to share their stories by writing down a personal commitment. Seeing what people wrote on their cards always touched and inspired me. Here are a few: I WILL live cage free. I WILL strive to be the best I can be. I WILL stand up and stand out. Whats YOURS? 



2. Central BBQ in Memphis: Go where the locals go
I asked them what the best thing on the menu was, and without hesitating the employee said, you have to try the pork sandwich. I did. And my tastebuds were happy.

3.The Kentucky Bed and Breakfast
It was unique and antique, with an illuminated stained-glass bed hanging, a trombone on the wall and homemade quiche for breakfast. Whats not to love?

4. The Diversity
One thing I loved about the tour was the wide range of screening venues and audiences. In downtown Memphis, we screened at the beautiful Halloran Centre in their state-of-the-art theatre. The very next venue was an old simple church in a small town. Some audiences were primarily students of color while others were older and white. Every experiences was unique (and terrific!).

5. The Civil Rights Museum
I had an extra day in Memphis, so I decided to spend part of it at the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. To stand in that spot was an unforgettable, emotional experience.


6. Live Music
Remember the old church? As part of the pre-film reception, my hosts went all out by including a live jam session! One bucket-list item crossed off the list

7. Heartwarming reactions
During a Q&A, one woman grabbed the mic and talked about the courage of the kids in I Will Dance to stand up for what they believed in. Choking back tears and with resolve in her voice, she said, I want to dance with those kids on the bridge. The showing was only a couple hours from Selma, where the kids are from and her interest in putting her feet to their cause means more than I can simply express.

8. Seeing friends
Since several showings were within a few hours of Selma, some of the films subjects joined for showings and Q&As. Their unique voices and perspectives were a HUGE addition to the experience for the audiences and a big support to me.

9. Feet in the Ocean
When I arrived in Bonita Springs, FL, I had about an hour before the screening, and I knew exactly how to spend it.

10. Meeting Future Storytellers

At the showings, I had the pleasure to meet young people who want to tell stories to become editors, journalists, directors and more. 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.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Photos from Joseph East's tour of "I Will Dance"

Here are some photos from fellow filmmaker Joseph East as he toured with his film " I Will Dance

                                                      First stop, Monroe, NC

                                                   Memphis, TN! 

                                      Memphis Development Foundation

                                          National Civil Rights Museum

                                                 The Lorraine Motel 

Hapeville, Ga - before screening 

Troy, AL - Troy University

Bonita Springs, FL - Center for the Arts Bonita Springs

Barbourville, KY - Union College

Hanceville, AL - Wallace State Community College

Sheffield, AL - The Tennessee Valley Art Association/Ritz Theatre