Southern Circuit Tour returns to Ritz Theatre

By  | August 27, 2017 | Filed under: News

SHEFFIELD-The Ritz Cinema Society is once again partnering with South Arts’ Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers to bring the Shoals a rich offering of independent documentaries paired with Q&As with the filmmakers. The Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers is a program of South Arts. Southern Circuit screenings are funded in part by grants from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Alabama State Council on the Arts. For more info, visit

“We are so fortunate to have the Southern Circuit film series, which provides people in the Shoals with an opportunity to see high-quality and thought-provoking documentaries and to engage directly with the filmmakers,” said Dr. Katie Owens-Murphy.

Owens-Murphy is an assistant professor of English at the University of North Alabama who represented the Tennssee Valley Art Association in Atlanta with the selection process.

“Last year, the Circuit presented films on topics as diverse as returning war veterans, incarcerated women, and a Chinese-American artist who created illustrations for Disney’s ‘Bambi,’” Owens-Murphy said. “I left the theatre each time with a deeper understanding of the world, and the filmmakers facilitated some really great and important discussions that were similar to the conversations we have in our college classrooms at UNA.”

Each film is screened at 7 p.m. at the Ritz Theatre in Sheffield, 111 W. Third St., Sheffield. Tickets are $8 general admission, $7 for students and $6 for TVAA members. Tickets can be bought online at, and the Tennessee Valley Art Association, 511 W. Third St., Tuscumbia. Tickets are also available at the door. Punch card style season tickets are available for $45 and $32 for TVAA members. The punch cards have six uses and can be used for any combination of people and films.


The 2017-2018 season includes these award-winning independent documentaries


  • “Big Sonia” — Sept. 15 with filmmaker Leah Warshawski

“Big Sonia” is a tiny woman with huge impact. Standing tall at 4’8″, Sonia Warshawski packs an oversized personality. Diva, business owner, and Holocaust survivor, Sonia is served an eviction notice for John’s Tailoring, the last (and most popular) shop inside a dying mall in suburban Kansas City. Sonia struggles with retirement, while her life lessons span generations.




  • “Dalya’s Other Country” — Oct. 13 with filmmaker Musafa Rony Zeno

“Dalya’s Other Country” is the nuanced story of a family displaced by the Syrian conflict who are remaking themselves after the parents separate. Effervescent teen Dalya goes to Catholic high school and her mother, Rudayna, enrolls in college as both walk the line between their Muslim values and the new world in which they find themselves. Bustle called the film “… the feminist Muslim documentary we need.”




  • “Do Not Resist” — Nov. 10 with filmmaker Craig Atkinson

“Do Not Resist” explores the tactics, training, and acquisition of military equipment by some police departments since 9/11. With unprecedented access to police conventions, equipment expos, and officers themselves, filmmaker Craig Atkinson, the son of a SWAT team member, presents an eye-popping nonpartisan look at the changing face of law enforcement in America. This film has garnered massive critical acclaim, with The New Yorker calling it “An eye-opening experience.”





  • “First Lady of the Revolution” — Feb. 16 with filmmaker Andrea Kalin

“First Lady of the Revolution” tells the remarkable story of Henrietta Boggs, a young Alabaman who fell in love with a foreign land and the man destined to transform its identity. Her marriage to José ‘Don Pepe’ Figueres in 1941 led to a journey of activism, exile, political upheaval and, ultimately, lasting progressive reforms. This unforgettable documentary depicts the momentous struggle to shape Costa Rica’s democratic identity, and portrays a courageous woman escaping the confines of a traditional, sheltered existence to expand her horizons into a new world.


  • Swim Team” — March 16 with filmmaker Lara Stolman

The parents of a boy on the autism spectrum form a competitive swim team, recruiting other teens on the spectrum and training them with high expectations and zero pity. “Swim Team” chronicles the extraordinary rise of three diverse young athletes, capturing a moving quest for inclusion, independence, and a life that feels winning.





  • “Bending the Arc” — April 6 with filmmaker Cori Stern

Thirty years ago, as much of the world was ravaged by horrific outbreak of AIDS and tuberculosis, three remarkable activists came together while attending college at Harvard to provide medical relief to a Haitian squatter settlement. Determined to provide the same world-class level of medical care they would expect for their own families to the Haitians that soon became their friends, they faced obstacles considered insurmountable by the rest of the world. Because of their dedication, world policies changed, entrenched ideas transformed, and millions of lives were pulled from the brink of death.

Media Release/Bobby Bozeman
Marketing and program development
Tennessee Valley Art Association

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