Posted: Nov 08, 2013 5:04 PM CST Updated: Nov 08, 2013 5:04 PM CST

By Debbie Williams

FAIRHOPE, Alabama –

In a dark theater about 100 people stare at a screen and get lost in the sights and sounds of a film.

“It’s like the reception at the end of the wedding.”

After months of planning the Fairhope Film Festival is underway. “We got 40 great films and 21 great shorts,” says executive director Mary Riser, “so that’s 61 opportunities to see some great work.”

“It’s just fun to sit in a theater with a lot of people who are enjoying it,” says Pam Turner. “It’s fun at home but it’s a lot more fun when you are in a community and everybody is in a buzz about it.”

The film festival is already considered a success. The first day was sold out and the meat of the festival is yet to come.

“I went to film school for college and then I became a newspaper reporter,” says Ben Raines, “so I’m getting to use a new muscle. I’m excited about the festival.”

Raines is premiering his film at the festival, “America’s Amazon”, a documentary about the Mobile-Tensaw Delta.

“The film really takes you into the heart of it and you’re seeing the snakes and the alligators, you’re seeing the incredible plants. It’s just this stunningly beautiful place,” he says.

A place, according to Raines, that needs protection. “We have this treasure and it’s our job to protect it and we haven’t always done the best job.”

More people will no doubt learn more about the delta, some seeing it for the first time. All because of a film festival..

“This is our first year and it’s very exciting there will definitely be more.”

The kind of movies you won’t see at your local multi-plex but can be just as entertaining.

The film festival runs through Sunday and already there have been a few celebrity sightings in Fairhope.

Talia Shire from “Rocky” fame was spotted last night and taught an acting class this morning.

Paul Sorvino has also been spotted around town.

View this article in its original format at WKRG.com