Visit Alabama's Film Locations, And Enjoy Independent Films At The Capri Theatre In Montgomery

    Hollywood is known as the film capital of the world, yet today, film makers are seeking out a new back lot for their films; America's Backyard. From South Beach to the southern shores of Alabama, entertainment and film makers are exploring new destinations to revive and share America's story. This gives travelers a opportunity to walk the same streets and visit locations where their favorite Hollywood stars were filmed. For locals, they enjoy the benefit of showing off the town, and many are hired as stand-ins on films. It's a winning situation for everyone concerned.

    Independent film makers are also producing quality films that touch our hearts and capture America's stories. One of these director's is Huntsville independent film director Jurian Isabelle, who’s hour-long drama, “Veils of Color”, was selected for the International Black Film Festival in Nashville, Tennessee. And, the cast and crew are composed entirely of Alabama actors and crew members. As well as writing, producing, editing, and directing, Isabelle, a native of Huntsville, Alabama, also stars in the film. “Veils of Color” marks Jurian Isabelle’s directorial debut, and this is the second festival that “Veils of Color” has been selected for with the first being The Montgomery Black Film Festival.

    “Veils of Color” centers around an older well-to-do lady in ill-health named Catherine. When she suffers a mild heart attack, her son, Johnathon, returns home to Alabama to find a caretaker to look after her. Fireworks fly when Johnathon hires a young black college graduate to fill in as caretaker for his callous mother in this realistic, yet humorous riot about the struggle for us to look beyond the veils of color that blind us from seeing each other’s true character. The film was shot in and around Madison County including the city of Huntsville and in 3 million dollar home in the Cherokee Ridge Club in Union Grove.

    These days it's not uncommon to find crews filming in Alabama, which was the case in Montevallo. Local police blocked off Valley Street in September so camera crews could shoot one of the last scenes for the independent feature-length film "Lifted." The crew, in which two-thirds hailed from the Birmingham area, shot a funeral scene earlier in the day at the Alabama National Cemetery and moved on to shoot a carpool scene at Montevallo High School that afternoon. Alan Hunter, owner of WorkPlay in downtown Birmingham, and his brother Hugh co-produced the film.

    Hunter said Montevallo stood in for 'Any Town, America,' because it is so picturesque. "Lifted" centers on the story of a young boy, played by Uriah Shelton of Mobile, who shares a love of music with his father, played by Dash Minok. The father encourages his son to pursue his dream of singing by entering an American Idol type event. The boy must still find the courage to do so even after his father is deployed for active duty in Afghanistan.

    Production coordinator Michael Walters, who lives in North Shelby, scoped out locations in Montevallo and said, "In this job you have to be creative," Walters said. "You've got to make sure no lawn mowers are running or dogs barking. It's good to work with cities that understand what you are trying to do and are willing to work with you." Chamber of Commerce President Mary Lou Williams was also pleased with the filming taking place in her town, "There were 60-plus people from the movie who were in town doing business with our merchants," Williams said. "It's a great opportunity for towns like us to benefit from the film industry," Williams said. "Because we have a beautiful historic downtown, a beautiful campus and well-kept schools, we can provide great locations."

    Did You Know? - The Capri Theatre in Montgomery, Alabama presented the Independent Film: Let Them Know - A Document of the West Coast Punk Rock Movement as part of the Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers.

    By Leroy Worley

    Getting There:

    Learn more about filming productions and locations in Alabama by visiting the Alabama Film Organization by visiting http://alabamafilm.org/.

    Jurian Isabelle is a college graduate of Alabama State University where he majored in Communications with a concentration in TV/Radio. He also studied film in Los Angeles at California State University, Los Angeles. Call (256)468-2839 to learn more about his recent and future projects.