Nashville Film Festival Announces 2019 “Best of Fest” Films and Special Music Awards

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Score Composer Chris Lennertz honored with the 2019 EA Music Nashville Film Festival Composer Award 

Howard Shore earns Mike Curb Achievement in Film Music Award 

Nashville, Tenn. (October 11, 2019) – The Nashville Film Festival, which kicked off Oct. 3 and runs through Oct. 12 announces the “Best of Fest” audience voted award films as the festival continues through the weekend with the closing night party Friday at The Valentine in downtown Nashville and “Best of the Fest” films running all day Saturday, Oct. 12.

Additionally, two music-related awards were announced to honor leadership in music and film. Score composer Chris Lennertz was presented with the 2019 EA Music Nashville Film Festival Composer Award by Electronic Arts Worldwide Executive Steve Schnur.

Lennertz has written music for some of the world’s greatest storytellers. Whether its soaring heroics for Seth Rogen as a hot dog saving the world in “Sausage Party” or the lush orchestral melodies of Steven Spielberg’s Medal of Honor series…a stark, out of tune gospel piano for Mark Ruffalo’s battle with addiction in “Thanks for Sharing” or futuristic dystopian Americana for J.J. Abrams’ “Revolution,” this classic eclectic ability has now become his signature. He has worked in almost every genre imaginable and spent weeks on Billboard charts. He has an Emmy nomination for the cult hit Supernatural, a Grammy for his arrangements on Ozomatli’s album Street Signs, and an amazing eleven BMI awards for blockbusters like Bad Moms, Horrible Bosses, Ride Along, and more. Equally comfortable on the small screen, on stage, and at festivals, Chris has written eclectic scores for Marvel’s Agent Carter and the smash dark superhero epic The Boys with Amazon Pictures. He has recently expanded further into musical storytelling in his collaborations with Tony award winners Alan Menken, Glenn Slater, and David Zippel as well as artists like Kelly Clarkson, Janelle Monae, Lizzo, Nick Jonas, Blake Shelton, Bebe Rexha, and more. His films have grossed well over a billion dollars worldwide. Chris is also one of the most in-demand composers in video games with hits like Medal of Honor, James Bond, The Godfather, and the Mass Effect series. His passion for education and philanthropy plays a major part in his life serving on the board of Education Through Music Los Angeles and The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation as well as Hands Together in Haiti. He personally launched the Symphony of Hope project after the 2011 earthquake to rally the film music community around the cause.

The Nashville Film Festival also announced Howard Shore as the recipient of the Mike Curb Achievement in Film Music Award. This annual award has been awarded to a leader in film music since 2007 and has previously been awarded to legendary artists including Paul Williams, Gustavo Santalolalla and T Bone Burnett. Mike Curb, a long-time supporter of the Nashville Film Festival, is the former lieutenant governor and acting governor of California, and is one of the most prominent figures in the entertainment world.


MINUS ONE – Directed by Tanner Peterson.  Small towns have big stories. When 16-year old Sophia goes missing, three teens work tirelessly to find her. Adults and police apparently give up, but the school friends push forward to find her. Truth is in short supply. For Chandler some wounds may never heal.

WHAT’S EATING RALPHIE MAY – Directed by Cat Rhinehart.  Filmmaker Cat Rhinehart sets out to make a weight loss documentary on the beloved comedian Ralphie May, who is planning on having lap band surgery the following summer. As she spends the year filming Ralphie, along with his wife and two young children, it becomes clear the larger than life comedian has no intention of losing weight. Ralphie’s wife, fellow comedian Lahna Turner, slowly begins to realize her husband isn’t going to change, and no amount of pressure from her, nor past health scares he’s had, can compel Ralphie to change. Midway through filming, Ralphie decides not to have his scheduled weight loss surgery; a devastating blow to his wife and loved ones. A compromise is made, and a personal trainer is sent on the road with Ralphie during his nationwide tour in the hopes to help the comedian lose weight in lieu of surgery. Ralphie’s demanding tour schedule and pressure to lose weight puts a heavy strain on his relationship with his wife, forming a powder keg that blows while the family is on tour together. After a particularly bad fight with his wife, Lahna takes the children and flies back to their Los Angeles home. Ralphie eventually files for divorce, leaving Lahna to deal with the aftermath of trying to keep the family together. On October 6, 2017, Ralphie unexpectedly died during his residency in Vegas. The film revisits Lahna and the children two years later in an epilogue.

THE PLANTERS – Directed by Alexandra Kotcheff and Hannah Leder This is a radical experiment in feature filmmaking. Two women, starring in and making a film with no on-set crew. ‘The Planters’ is a dark comedy about Martha Plant, an air-conditioning telemarketer who sucks at her job, doesn’t like people but likes to bury stolen treasure in exchange for cash donations. While grieving the loss of her parents, Martha finds unlikely friendship in Sadie Mayflower, a Jesus-loving vagrant with multiple personalities. Martha takes Sadie into her home, gives her a stake in her secret treasure-planting business, and helps her work through her mental illness. In exchange, Sadie helps Martha keep her job, find love, and discover her true voice. But when someone starts stealing her treasure, Martha learns that opening herself up can come with unexpected consequences.

MR. JIMMY — Directed by Peter Michael Dowd.  In snowbound Tokamachi, Japan, teenaged Akio Sakurai took refuge in his room, escaping to another world with a pair of headphones and a pile of Led Zeppelin records. Moving to Tokyo, Akio worked as a kimono salesman by day, but by night became “Mr. Jimmy,” adopting the guitar chops and persona of Jimmy Page. For 35 years, Akio recreated vintage Zeppelin concerts note-for-note in small Tokyo clubs, until the “real” Jimmy Page stopped by one night, and Akio’s life changed forever. Inspired by Mr. Page’s ovation, Akio quits his “salaryman” job, leaving behind his family to move to Los Angeles and join “Led Zepagain.” Soon cultures clash and Akio’s idyllic vision of America meets with reality.

CHANGING THE GAME – Directed by Michael Barnett.  Filmmaker Michael Barnett’s richly textured documentary illuminates an issue both timely and topical, but at its core captures the warm-hearted, courageous characters living within it. Three resilient transgender high school athletes across the United States fight for their sports titles and combat voices of harassment in their pursuit to compete as themselves. We enter the lives of Sarah Rose Huckman, a spunky skier and teen policymaker in New Hampshire, Andraya Yearwood, a fierce track star slaying her competition, and at the center of our story Mack Beggs, a two-time Texas State Champion wrestler who made front-page headlines for dominating girl’s wrestling while pushing to wrestle other boys. Caught in the center of a national debate on transgender civil rights, these athletes channel the endurance they’ve learned from their sports into their ever more public advocacy battles. Those of us who remember feeling helpless and outcasted against the jeers and aggression of high school bullies will marvel at the perseverance each of these dedicated teens shows in the face of unharnessed vitriol from choruses of parents and pundits alike, developing an emotional maturity far beyond anything their young age should require and inspiring people of all ages to live proudly in their truth. Still, a network of support emerges to bolster their resolve, and despite the extreme anger of their opposition, each of these young forces of nature triumphantly overcomes hurdle after hurdle in their individual journey to live as their true selves and pursue what they love.

17 BLOCKS – Directed by Davy Rothbart – In 1999, nine-year-old Emmanuel Sanford-Durant and his family began filming their daily lives in America’s most dangerous neighborhood — just 17 blocks behind the U.S. Capitol. They’ve been filming ever since. Made in a unique collaboration with filmmaker and journalist Davy Rothbart, and spanning two decades, 17 BLOCKS illuminates a nation’s ongoing crisis through one family’s raw, stirring, and deeply personal saga.

CLIMATE OF THE HUNTER – Directed by Micky Reece.  Two sisters, Alma and Elizabeth, along with a dog who’s described as a “philosopher,” have come to Alma’s remote house to reconnect with Wesley after twenty years. Alma is recently divorced, Elizabeth is a workaholic in Washington, D.C., while Wesley lives in Paris dealing with a wife recently struck with a fatal disease. When the three come together for dinner it has all the makings of a lovely adult melodrama about loneliness, and the desire to connect and share our lives with someone… but we must add to the mix one otherworldly piece of information: Wesley could be a vampire.

MICKEY AND THE BEAR – Directed by Anabelle Attanassio.  It’s April in Anaconda, Montana, and headstrong teenager Mickey Peck (Camila Morrone) is doing what she can to keep her single, veteran father (James Badge Dale) afloat, navigating his mercurial moods, opioid addiction, and grief over the loss of his wife. Secretly, Mickey fantasizes of going to college on the west coast and finally living life on her own terms. When Hank’s controlling, jealous behavior turns destructive, Mickey must decide between familial obligation and personal fulfillment as she puts everything on the line to claim her own independence.

In Shorts blocks, TENNESSEE SHORTS 3 and DOCUMENTARY SHORTS 2 were selected for Best of Fest.

Tennessee Shorts 3

  • Rallentando!
  • The Brothers Brothers
  • Two Thousand Dollar Friend
  • Trapped
  • Bum One
  • I Hate Coffee, A Love Story
  • Clipped
  • Five Secrets to Mom
  • A Common Era
  • They Came Prepared
  • Black Friday Man
  • Wrath
  • The Ghosting of Elise Montgomery

Documentary Shorts 2

  • A Lovesong for Latasha
  • Everything You Wanted to Know About Sudden Birth (But Were Afraid to Ask)
  • Dani
  • Inferno
  • Reality Baby
  • Ai Baba (Love Dad)
  • Exit 12


The Nashville Film Festival (NashFilm) is a globally-recognized non-profit organization and cultural event presenting the best in world cinema, American independent films and documentaries by veteran masters, up-and-coming directors, and first-time filmmakers. With Academy Award® qualifying status, the Nashville Film Festival celebrates innovation, music and the many voices of the human spirit through the art of film and partners with the Thompson Nashville to host guests from all over the world. Originally founded in 1969, the Nashville Film Festival is one of the first film festivals in the United States and will celebrate its 50th Anniversary October 3-12, 2019. For more information, visit


(Source: NashFilm press release)




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