Southern Circuit – Stay Prayed Up
Sidewalk Film Center + Cinema is proud to be a screening venue for the 2022 Southern Circuit. Join us for our screenings of these thought provoking Southern films accompanied by a Q + A with the filmmaking team live and in person!
The Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers works with a regional network of Screening Partners to connect independent documentary filmmakers with communities across the Southeast to present screenings and conversations around important stories and the art of filmmaking. Since Southern Circuit’s inception in 1975, hundreds of filmmakers have toured, sharing their work and perspective with over one hundred Screening Partner communities throughout South Arts’ nine-state region (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee). Southern Circuit is made possible through a partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.
STAY PRAYED UP
The only thing mightier than Lena Mae Perry’s electrifying voice is her faith.
She’s spent the last 50 years sharing and sharpening both as the steadfast bandleader of The Branchettes, a legendary North Carolina gospel group that has packed churches throughout the South and lifted weary hearts as far away as Ireland. STAY PRAYED UP is a spirited celebration, inviting audiences into “Mother” Perry’s close-knit community as the 82-year-old strives to extend her sacred song ministry ever forward.
This fast-paced, foot-thumping documentary follows Perry and The Branchettes as they prepare to record their first, fully live album, a hallmark in the canon of Black gospel groups. Health concerns with long-time, long-fingered pianist Wilbur Tharpe underscore the importance of “capturing the spirit” for producer Phil Cook, a white Wisconsin-born gospel enthusiast and musical polyglot half of Perry’s age. Through shared prayer, laughter, hardships and praise, this “church gospel noisy crew” demonstrates that music, like faith, ain’t nothing without some fire inside.