YellowHammer Film Fest announces Alabama native, HBO producer as keynote presenter

The YellowHammer Film Fest, set for July 31, is a free, one-day virtual film festival designed for high school and college students.

The YellowHammer Film Fest, set for July 31, is a free, one-day virtual film festival designed for high school and college students.

Ted Speaker, an Alabama native and HBO producer, will provide the keynote presentation for the YellowHammer Film Fest, a free, day-long festival set for July 31.

The festival was created by Troy University Associate Professor of Design Chris Stagl and is made possible by a major grant from the Alabama Humanities Alliances with matching funds from Troy University. The festival will provide an enriching and interactive experience for high school and college students, consisting of virtual workshops, critiques, a keynote speaker, a student exhibition and an awards ceremony. Deadlines for exhibition submissions is July 15.

Speaker has produced five feature films and a TV special in Alabama over the course of his career, including Lynn Shelton’s final film Sword of Trust (IFC), Whitmer Thomas: The Golden One (A24/HBO), The Death of Dick Long (A24), and most recently as line producer on Theo Love’s Alabama Snake (HBO).

“As a proponent of regional independent filmmaking, I’m excited to have the opportunity to speak about what makes independent films possible outside the usual production hubs of Los Angeles and New York, that also challenge traditional studio development and production methods,” Speaker said. “It’s also important to me as a producer to pass along some of the intangibles that help make independent films successful.”

The connection with Speaker grew out of the festival’s association with the Alabama Film Office, according to Stagl.

“The relationship with Ted was forged because of the Alabama Film Office’s Kathy Faulk and Brian Jones,” Chris Stagl said, “They were instrumental in connecting the festival with Mr. Speaker.”

The festival will include workshops covering the topics of creative writing and literature for filmmaking, historically significant moments in Alabama filmmaking, constructive criticism of creative works and understanding concept development and storytelling.

Workshop speakers include two documentary filmmakers from Florida-based Jellyfish Smack Productions, Isaac Brown and Eric Flagg, and, two animators, K.J. Mathieson, an Assistant Professor at The University of South Florida, and Ty Primosch, an animator at Netflix Animation Studios presenting

their latest work, the award-winning animation, “Corky.” Brian Jones from the Alabama Film Office will be presenting on the best locations to shoot in Alabama, and Dr. Will Napier will present on Creative Storytelling. The festival will be bookended by a student exhibition and an awards ceremony.

The YellowHammer Film Fest will be held from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on July 31, and is filled with opportunities for students from the state to learn and explore the intersection of filmmaking and the humanities.

Additional information about the event, including how to enter the competition and festival registration, can be found at https://www.yellowhammerfilmfest.com/.

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