Since its 2017-2019 season, the Clayton Center for the Arts has partnered with South Arts, an Atlanta based nonprofit organization, to participate in the Southern Circuit of Independent Filmmakers. South Arts picks 24 diverse films made by independent filmmakers, and their partners choose 6 of them to screen throughout their season. These events are made possible by grant funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.
The Clayton Center screens the films in the Harold and Jean Lambert Recital Hall, and it also organizes Q&As after the screenings with the filmmakers. The Q&As go beyond asking questions about the filming process. Last year, Diane Moy Quon, producer of the Oscar nominated documentary, Minding the Gap, delved into an in-depth conversation with the audience about the film’s themes of toxic masculinity, domestic abuse and the implications on today’s culture during her Q&A session.
The Clayton Center is kicking off this year’s season of Southern Circuit films with a screening of SAME GOD on Sept. 17. The documentary film follows the life of Dr. Larycia Hawkins, a Christian political science professor at Wheaton University who loses her tenure for wearing a hijab while advocating for Muslim rights. Other films to look forward to this season are: Wrestle on Oct. 30, Float on Nov. 20, The Infiltrators on Feb. 18, Light from Light on March 3, and Little Miss Westie on April 22.
Wrestle, directed by Suzannah Herbert and Lauren Belfer, follows four boys on a high school wrestling team. Float, directed by Phil Kibbe, is a documentary that records competitive aviation modeling. The Infiltrators, directed by Alex River and Ibarra, covers a group of DREAMers—young immigrants that were granted legal status after coming to America—who allows themselves to be caught by Border Patrol in order to infiltrate a for-profit detention center.
Light From Light, directed by Paul Harrill, follows the investigation of a supposedly haunted farmhouse in East Tennessee. Finally, Little Miss Westie, directed by Joy E. Reed and Dan Hunt, chronicles a 14 year old transgender boy as he coaches his 11 year old transgender sister for the upcoming beauty pageant.
Anyone interested in any of these films do not have to worry about saving up money. Tickets are free for Maryville College students and are five dollars for everyone else. They can be bought on the Clayton Center website, by calling the box office, or inside the Lambert Hall lobby on the night of the screening. There is no additional cost to stay for the Q&A.