Fairhope is often described as “picturesque.” Nowadays, picturesque means not only the bayside scenery and classic architecture but also the moving pictures that are showcased.

Alabama has become a sought-after site for filming movies. A new Stephen King horror flick is currently being filmed in Bay Minette, soon to move to downtown Mobile for inner-city scenes.

One piece of the movie scenario is the Fairhope Film Festival, Alabama’s own version of Cannes, running from November 9–12.

Fairhope has, for over a century, grown to be a Mecca for writers. Over the years, artists have been added to the local scene. Craft makers followed with the giant Fairhope Arts and Crafts Festival each spring. Now, filmmakers return to make Fairhope the Bohemian sector of the South.

The festival showcases films that never hit the theaters, films that were only in theaters for a short time, never-before-seen films, foreign films, Indie (home-produced) films, award-winning private films, shorts, documentaries, and films with a local angle. The selection of films is generally described as “independent cinema.”

The theme of this year’s fest is “A Visual Fest. The Best of the Best.”

The general public is invited. While the crowds will be largely from Coastal Alabama, the Florida Panhandle and north Alabama, there will also be film industry insiders from Hollywood, New York, Nashville and wherever film creativity and funding resides. Those insiders will be involved in discussions after films and juried awards.

You can buy a $195 all-access pass for the entire festival. Find details and tickets for all events at the Fairhope Film Festival website.

The all-access pass includes showings of all films, plus the opening night film and reception and the Saturday night Red Carpet Party. The last day to purchase all-access tickets is November 5.

Those wanting to view six films can order a Fairhope Film Fans 6 ticket package.  

Tickets for one film and at-the-door seating are available for $15 per ticket. At-the-door sales are dependent upon available seating. 

Festivities start with the Opening Night movie and reception on November 9. Film begins at 6 p.m. at the University of South Alabama’s Baldwin campus at 111 St. James Ave. It includes a reception at the nearby Summit Inn, 7:30 -9 p.m. The event will be catered by Rouxster. Separate tickets to the opening night are $30, or it is included in the All-Access Pass.

The opening night movie is “The Stones & Brian Jones,” the tragic story of the rock and roll icon who died all too soon. Brian Jones may have been the musical inspiration behind the startup of the Rolling Stones. He was a Stone before Mick Jagger then he was gone. The movie releases on November 17.

There are 30 films and award ceremonies scheduled to take place throughout the four-day festival.

The Red Carpet Party is November 11 from 7–10 p.m. at the Eastern Shore Arts Center. It features ‘Kenny and the Keys’ with catering by local favorite Andree’s.

Jim Zeigler is a former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor. You can reach him for comments at [email protected].