Inaugural Fairhope Film Festival Kicks Off in November: 40 Films, 4 Days, 4 Walkable Venues

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The Fairhope Film Festival, Nov. 7-10, features the "best of the best" from national and international film festivals including Cannes, Sundance and South by Southwest.

World-class sunsets and now world-class films can be found in Fairhope, Ala. Photo by Sherry Frost

“ It is clear that our communities recognize the value of the Festival, not only for what it adds to the arts and cultural community, but also for its positive economic impact.”

Picturesque Fairhope, Ala., already known as an arts mecca, will add world-class films to its offerings when the inaugural Fairhope Film Festival kicks off November 7-10, 2013.

The Festival features 40 films, “the best of the best,” from national and international film festivals, including notable foreign and feature films, documentaries and shorts. The films represented are award-winners from 19 Film festivals including Cannes, London, Miami, Sidewalk, South by Southwest, Sundance, Tribeca, and Toronto. To review the schedule and purchase tickets, visit

The Fairhope Film Festival has been a dream of founders Mary Riser, Phillip Norris and John Gautier for more than a decade. The team started and ran the Fairhope Film Series that brought national and international films to the St. James Theater on the University of South Alabama (USA) Baldwin Campus for 15 years.

But even with that experience under their belts, the founders felt they should meet with consultants from the Crested Butte and Telluride film festivals before embarking on such an ambitious project. The consultants visited Fairhope in December 2012 and were thrilled with what they saw in both the city and the area.    

Citing the beautiful, walkable venues, extraordinary accommodations, transportation, shopping, dining and nightlife, and nearby natural and historic sites, the consultants deemed Fairhope an ideal location for a great film festival experience. This inspired the Festival’s theme, “40 films. 4 days. 4 walkable venues.”

The Founders began Festival planning in November 2012 and have recruited a great quantity and quality of volunteers from around the local, state and regional area.

“The outpouring of support has been tremendous,” said Fairhope Film Festival Executive Director Mary Riser. “ It is clear that our local, regional and state communities recognize the value of the Festival, not only for what it adds to the arts and cultural community, but also for its positive economic impact.”

The Fairhope Film Festival is expected to draw thousands of filmgoers, not only from the Bay area, but regionally. This will result in increased traffic for lodging, dining, nightlife, museums, and at the beaches and the many outdoor attractions along the beautiful Gulf Coast.

A preliminary economic impact analysis by Don Epley with USA’s Center for Real Estate and Economic Development anticipates an economic impact on the Baldwin County economy alone of between $1.2-1.75 million in the Festival’s inaugural year.

The four venues in Fairhope are the St. James Theater on the USA Baldwin Campus, the Giddens Conference Center in the Fairhope Public Library, Centennial Hall on the Faulkner State campus, and The Venue.

Ticket can be purchased in a 6-pack, 10-pack or as single tickets, though the single ticket option will be the only option available at the door of each venue. A limited number of tickets are also available through a package being offered by the Grand Hotel Marriott Golf Resort and Spa in Point Clear, Ala.

The Film Festival is supported in part by the Alabama Humanities Foundation, the Alabama Tourism Department and the Alabama Film Office as well as a host of other sponsors.

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Meredith Portman
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