Spotlight Studio, created in 2020 by CEPA Management, provides modern content creation and performance opportunities for St. Clair County residents. It is the digital arm of CEPA’s Spotlight Drama Education and Outreach Program.
Digital productions began during the COVID-19 pandemic, stemming from CEPA’s desire to continue engaging Spotlight Drama Club members while schools were closed, live performances were canceled and gatherings of any size were difficult. Its first projects were the Spotlight Moments and Quarantined Concerts series that encouraged members to film at-home performances.
Since then, the program has grown exponentially, developing into an innovative arts studio based out of the Center for Education and Performing Arts.
In 2021, Spotlight Studio developed Spotlight Films, a visual content production program that teaches all aspects of filmmaking to Spotlight members. Spotlight Films first worked with podcast author and director Lacey Pierson to adapt her script for “A Hallmark Christmas” in to a short film called “Miss Christmas Business”. The film became Spotlight Studio’s first to screen at an international film festival, premiering at Birmingham’s Sidewalk Film Fest in August 2021.
CEPA and Spotlight Studio followed up their debut film with “SEM;COLON,” which also began as a podcast by Pell City High School students Anna Claire Hathorn and Emma Gibson. The podcast was adapted into a short film in 2022 and screened at Sidewalk in August.
CEPA is supported through partnerships with Pell City Schools and the City of Pell City. Spotlight is supported annually by St. Clair County Schools, the Alabama State Council on the Arts. Local program sponsors include Hargray Communications, Trussell Funderburg Rea Bell and Furgerson and Goodgame Co.
This year, CEPA also received additional funding to support the growth of Spotlight Studio through a State Council on the Arts Recovery Grant and from a South Arts Sustainability Grant. South Arts is an Atlanta-based nonprofit regional arts organization empowering artists, organizations, and communities, and increasing access to arts and culture.