Category Archives: Nashville Film Festival

Nashville Film Festival’s 50th Anniversary Wrap-Up

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The 50th Anniversary of the Nashville Film Festival has come and gone. New friends were made. Good times were had. And, most importantly, wonderful films were shared.

The 2019 Nashville Film Festival featured over 300 of the year’s best independent films from all over the world. But the one that captured my heart was Nashville’s own Bluebird, Brian Loschiavo’s mesmerizing documentary about The Bluebird Cafe, an accidental landmark that changed the course of music history with its Sunday audition nights and implementation of the “in The Round” method, whereby, writers sit in the center of The Bluebird singing, taking turns and telling stories. A must-see!

JoJoRabbit opened the festival and set the bar for quality entertainment. The Opening Night Party piggybacked onto Taika Waititi’s moving WWII drama, featuring Scarlett Johansson, Roman Griffin Thomas, and Thomasin McKenzie, with a celebration at The Clementine. Executive Director Jason Padgitt welcomed festivalgoers and without adieu, turned the satge over to some of Nashville’s hot, rising talent. If there’s one thing in particular, Nashville does well, it’s entertain!

Opening Night-1
Singer/songwriter Lauren Jenkins performs at The Clementine to kick off the 50th Anniversary of the Nashville Film Festival. (Photo credit: Larry Gleeson)

Out of the fire and into the ashes, a phoenix rising in the form of the Creators Conference ushered in opening weekend with its combined mojo of professional development and festival-style kinetic energy. Friday, October 4, 2019, Evolve Studio, a start-up venture from brothers, Joel and Jessie Edwards, who shared their exerience and hope working and creating in Nashville, personified the Creators spirit.

Friday night Chuck Berry, directed by Ron Brewer, made its world premiere at the 50th Anniversary of the Nashville Film Festival, Friday, October 4, 2019, Regal Hollywood ScreenX & RPX Cinema – Nashville. Berry, an extraordinary entertainer, ushered in the era of rock-n-roll, with a showmanship that has often been imitated and rarely duplicated. Rock legend, Alice Cooper appeared in the film saying Mr. Berry created a blueprint for what rock-n-roll should be with his pioneering style. Highly recommended!

Berry Family
The Berry Family on the red carpet at the 50th Nashville Film Festival (Photo courtesy of NashFilm)
Bery Fam
The Berry Family on the red carpet at the 50th Nashville Film Festival (Photo courtesy of NashFilm)

Saturday was highlighted by a keynote panel with HBO’s Len Amato and Evyen J. Klean, providing key insights into how ideas are chosen by the network giant and brought to life. Johnathon Shcaech and Jessica Barth’s #METOO panel, and an all-star comedy panel were just a few highlights from day three.

The girls from NashFilm’s Living Reel Project debuted their song and short created for the festival. The Livin’ Reel Program, gives at-risk teens a hands-on experience in filmmaking and songwriting. During the project, a group of teens dedicates after-school hours to write a song telling the story of their strength and the struggles they have overcome. By the end of their production week, they have a finished song and a short film documenting their entire process. This film is then taken on the road to the Nashville Film Festival and various TV/radio interviews where their work and proven strength within adversity is celebrated.

‘Who’s The Girl? The Ashley Cleveland’ had a sell-out crowd on day four.

Who's the Girl
Cast of Who’s the Girl? at the 50th Anniversary of the Nashville Film Festival (Photo by Donny Evan)
Music Supervisors
The Music Supervisors at the 50th Nashville Film Festival Opening Night After Party (Photo courtesy of NashFilm)

Cat Rhinehart and Lahna Turner screened the world premiere of What’s Eating Ralphie May. 

For Turner, the event allowed for a sense of closure. “The Nashville Film Festival was the perfect place to premiere what’s Eating Ralphie May? Nashville was one of Ralphie’s favorite cities but even more significant is that the premiere took place on the day after the two year anniversary of Ralphie’s passing. Ralphie would have been very proud that we were able to remember and honor him with this amazing film.

For me the premiere allowed me to close some doors and open new ones. I haven’t been back to Nashville since having to do some very painful things like clean out our home, so it felt really nice to return to a town that I love so much to celebrate and create new happy memories.”

Rhinehart echoed, “I thought Nashville’s 50th was the perfect time and place to premiere. Ralphie loved Nashville – and he talks about it in the film. I could tell the audience felt that affinity – so I couldn’t imagine a better fit. Ralphie would have been proud.”

What’s Eating Ralphie May won an audience award and received a third screening with the Best of Fest lineup, Saturday, August 12th. Highly recommended!

Cat Turner
Comedian Lahna Turner, left, and Filmmaker Cat Rhinehart on the red carpet, October 7th, 2019, at the 50th Anniversary of the Nashville Film Festival. (Photo credit: Donny Evan)

The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash also screened at 6 pm. posing quality of life issues for many festivalgoers, including myself. I put this one on my list of films to see and it received tearful admiration from more than one fan.

Cash Red Carpet
John Carter Cash on the red carpet at the 50th Anniversary of the Nashville Film Festival (Photo by Donny Evan)

NashFilm also hosted the Tennessee premiere of Bluebird with Amy Grant, Tenille Townes, Shane McAnally, Lori McKenna, Callie Khouri, Ruby Amanfu, Tony Arata, Dave Barnes, Steve Buchanan, Gary Burr, Roger Cook, Barry Dean, Tom Douglas, Mark Germino, Don Henry, Claude Kelly, Luke Laird, and more coming out to support the Nashville film. Filmmaker Brian A. Loschiavo welcomed the sold-out house with an outpouring of emotion, “This is so overwhelming to see a spirited group in the room with songwriters and bluebirds as we make our official Nashville premiere. There is a real community in this town (Nashville). Thank you for coming out to hear and see the music and songs. We are family.”

Bluebird
The filmmaking team of Bluebird on the red carpet at the 50th Nashville Film Festival (Photo credit by Donny Evan)
Charlie
The ABC Nashville television series star and producer team on the red carpet for the Tennessee premiere of Bluebird at the Nashville Film Festival (Photo by Donny Evan)

The Screenwriting Competition took place on Tuesday with over 1600 entries. A slew of readers provided a treatment of all the finalists’ work. Mo Morgan took honors in the Narrative Feature and Kelly Anelons took home honors in the Comedy Feature category.

Mo Morgan
Mo Morgan poses for a photo after receiving the trophy for Best Narrative Feature for his screenplay, Sight, in the 2019 Nashville Film Festival’s Screenwriting Contest. (Photo courtesy of NashFilm)
Kelly A
Kelly Anelons poses for a photo after receiving the trophy for her Best Comedy Feature screenplay, Life’s a Beaut, in the 2019 Nashville Film Festival’s Screenwriting Contest. (Photo courtesy of NashFilm)

Eternal Winter took home the Festival Grand Jury Prize for Best Narrative Feature. Beautifully shot film complete with powerful acting and strong production values. Highly recommended. Another top narrative feature, in my opinion, was Alice, a bold and audacious drama delving into the female psyche from start to finish. See the full list of Jury winners here.

The closing night party was held at The Valentine in downtown Nashville. The festival continued into Saturday with the “Best of the Fest” films running all day Saturday, Oct. 12. On the list – HollywoodGlee makes Feedspot Top 20 Hollywood Blogs. Thank you, Anuj Agarwal!

Until next time, I’ll see you at the movies!

50th

About

The Nashville Film Festival (NashFilm) is a globally-recognized non-profit organization and cultural event presenting the best in the 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. Originally founded in 1969, the Nashville Film Festival is one of the first film festivals in the United States.

*Featured photo: Larry Gleeson, left, with filmmaker Flavio Alves (The Garden Left Behind) at Best of Fest, Saturday, October 12th, 2019, at the 50th Anniversary Film Festival Nashville. (Photo credit: Giuliana Mignone)

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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.

2019 NASHVILLE FILM FESTIVAL AUDIENCE VOTES “BEST OF FEST” FILMS

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

ABOUT NASHVILLE FILM FESTIVAL

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 www.nashfilm.org.

50th

(Source: NashFilm press release)

 

 

 

THE NASHVILLE FILM FESTIVAL 2019 GRAND JURY PRIZE WINNERS

Posted by Larry Gleeson

NARRATIVE FEATURE GOES TO ETERNAL WINTER DIRECTED BY ATTILA SZASZ

PETER DOWD’S MR. JIMMY TAKES REEL MUSIC DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

Nashville Film Festival’s Programming Director Lauren Ponto hosted NashFilm Grand Jury Awards Ceremony at the Regal Hollywood 27 and announced the winners of NashFilm’s Grand Jury Prizes for 2019. Robert Torres handled the animated and VR 360 Competition awards. Mario Ramos, CEO and President of the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, presented the MeToo awards. Festival sponsor VR PRG’s David Bennett bestowed a $10000 rental package credit upon the Cinematography Award winners.

Screen Shot 2019-09-25 at 8.53.25 PM
Nashville Film Festival Executive Director, Jason Padgitt 

“The 2019 Nashville Film Festival delivered on the promise of showcasing the very best in film, music and culture this year. We continue to enjoy an amazing mix of films, filmmakers, events and celebrations while showcasing the best of independent film from all over the world and growing platform for all the talented filmmakers here in Tennessee. We are all extremely proud of this year’s festival and offer a special recognition to all of the incredible Grand Jury Prize winners,” commented Nashville Film Festival Executive Director, Jason Padgitt

 

Grand Jury Prize Winners

NARRATIVE FEATURE: ETERNAL WINTER Directed by Attila Szász

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: DARK SUNS Directed by Julien Elie

 NEW DIRECTOR’S FEATURE: THE GARDEN LEFT BEHIND Directed by Flavio Alves

 ANIMATED FEATURE: ANOTHER DAY OF LIFE Directed by Raúl de la Fuente, Damian Nenow

 REEL MUSIC DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: MR. JIMMY Directed by Peter Dowd

 TENNESSEE FIRST FEATURE COMPETITION: TRIGGER Directed by Warren Smythe and Alexandra Sedlak

DOCUMENTARY SHORT: EXIT 12 Directed by Malcolm Pullinger

NARRATIVE SHORT: THE NEIGHBORS’ WINDOW Directed by Marshall Curry

ANIMATED SHORT: WILD LOVE Directed by Paul Autric

EXPERIMENTAL SHORT: CRUDE OIL Directed by Christoper Good

TENNESSEE SHORT: JR ROOT Directed by Jonathan Frazier

TENNESSEE STUDENT SHORT: LOSING FACE Directed by Magdalene Kennedy

COLLEGE STUDENT SHORT: KNOCKING DOWN THE FENCES Directed by Megan Shutzer

YOUNG FILMMAKER SHORT: GREY HEART Directed by Theo Tapliz

EPISODIC PILOT: BOOTSTRAPPED Directed by Stephanie Liang

EPISODIC SERIES: TOP DOG Directed by Julia Tokarz

VIRTUAL REALITY AND 360: ACCUSED # 2: WALTER SISULU Directed by Nicolas Champeaux, Giles Porte

GRAVEYARD SHIFT FEATURE: CLIMATE OF THE HUNTER Directed by Mickey Reece

GRAVEYARD SHIFT SHORT: JEFF DRIVES YOU Directed by Aidan Brezonick

The Graveyard Shift is a dimension of the Nashville Film Festival specializing in genre cinema, rigorous art, unconventional stories, and the strange and unusual. The 2019 Nashville Film Festival Graveyard Shift presented additional awards including:

  • Best Actress Award for star Mary Buss in Mickey Reece’s film CLIMATE OF THE HUNTER
  • Best Actor Award went to Richard Speight, Jr. for the Mississippi film DRIVEN.
  • Honorable Mention Award for Feature Film presented to Roman Chimienti and Tyler Jensen’s documentary SCREAM, QUEEN! MY NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET.
  • Honorable Mention Award in Graveyard Shift Shorts went to Steven Daniels’ BLOOD SPOOK.
  • The Graveyard Shift Jury presents a Special Prize to documentary subjects Mark Patton (SCREAM, QUEEN! MY NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET) and Joey Ryan (THIS IS WRESTLING: THE JOEY RYAN STORY) for changing discourses, crafting dialogues, and reshaping public narratives in all communities.

Special Awards also announced at the 2019 Nashville Film Festival included:

  • VER/PRG Cinematography Award to Hannah Leder & Alexandra Kotcheff for the feature film The Planters
  • Best Original Song Award to Phil Danyew for the song “You and Me Together” from the film The Planters.

NashFilm has hosted world premieres, celebrities, and some of the most talented filmmakers in the industry over the past week to mark the festival’s 50th anniversary. Festivities continues through the weekend with the closing night party Friday and Best of the Fest Films running Saturday.

Single ticket sales are still on sale at the NashFilm Box Office and online at www.nashfilm.org

HOT TICKETS

Manuel Oct. 11, 7:30 PM
Oct. 12, 10:30 AM

Manuel has crafted shining outfits for Elvis, the Beatles, and the Rolling Stones, and continues to dress the stars of country and rock and roll music to this day. His rhinestone-studded wears still crowd his Nashville shop, and even at 83, Manuel continues to wine and dine late into the Music City nights with his friends. But Manuel still struggles with his legacy, how he’ll be remembered and how his business can evolve in the face of technology shifts. This documentary profiles a conflicted artist, whose dedication to his craft shows the spoils of his prolific work, but also the damage it can leave in its wake. Featuring intimate footage with country music stars like Loretta Lynn and Marty Stuart, the film dives deep into Manuel’s life and career. All the while, Manuel’s undying optimism and love for life shines through, creating an inspiring portrait of a man obsessed with his craft and living life to its fullest. TICKETS

Rain

Inside the Rain | Directed by Aaron Fisher

Oct. 11, 7:00 PM
Oct. 12, 1:00 PM

Facing expulsion from college over alleged conduct violations, a bipolar student indulges his misery at a strip club where he befriends a gorgeous, intelligent, outrageous woman and they hatch a madcap scheme to prove his innocence. “Inside the Rain” is an authentic portrait of bipolar disorder and depression, written, directed by and starring Aaron Fisher, who has this mental health disorder. An authentic and heartfelt portrait of bipolar disorder told with humor and compassion. TICKETS

Lost Transmissions

Lost Transmissions | Directed by Katharine O’Brien

Oct. 11: 6:00 PM
Oct. 12: 2:00 PM

At a party in Los Angeles one evening, aspiring songwriter Hannah (Juno Temple) finds herself at the piano, singing nervously alongside Theo (Simon Pegg), an established music producer with an infectiously joyous spirit. Despite Hannah’s self-consciousness, her talent is evident to Theo, who suggests they get together to record some tracks. But just as their friendship and creative partnership are taking off, Theo suddenly changes. He becomes distant and starts talking about secret messages transmitted through radio static. She chases him through Los Angeles, trying to get him into treatment, and comes face-to-face with the frustrating inadequacies of America’s health care system, all while balancing the demands of her own blossoming career writing songs for Dana Lee (Alexandra Daddario), a shiny, pre-packaged pop star in need of a new hit. Premiered at Tribecca.

NashFilm

 

(Source: NashFilm news release)

 

 

NashFilm 2019 Grand Jury Prize Winners

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Nashville Film Festival’s Programming Director Lauren Ponto hosted NashFilm Grand Jury Awards Ceremony yesterday at the Regal Hollywood 27 and announced the winners of NashFilm’s Grand Jury Prizes for 2019. Robert Torres handled the animated and VR 360 Competition awards. Mario Ramos, CEO and President of the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, presented the MeToo awards. Festival sponsor VR PRG’s David Bennett bestowed a $10000 rental package credit upon the Cinematography Award winners.

NashFilm has hosted world premieres, celebrities, and some of the most talented filmmakers in the industry over the past week to mark the festival’s 50th anniversary. Festivities continues through the weekend with the closing night party Friday and Best of the Fest Films running Saturday. See below for a list of awardees.

NashFilm

Grand Jury Prize Winners

NARRATIVE FEATURE: ETERNAL WINTER Directed by Attila Szász

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: DARK SUNS Directed by Julien Elie

 NEW DIRECTOR’S FEATURE: THE GARDEN LEFT BEHIND Directed by Flavio Alves

 ANIMATED FEATURE: ANOTHER DAY OF LIFE Directed by Raúl de la Fuente, Damian Nenow

 REEL MUSIC DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: MR. JIMMY Directed by Peter Dowd

 TENNESSEE FIRST FEATURE COMPETITION: TRIGGER Directed by Warren Smythe and Alexandra Sedlak

DOCUMENTARY SHORT: EXIT 12 Directed by Malcolm Pullinger

NARRATIVE SHORT: THE NEIGHBORS’ WINDOW Directed by Marshall Curry

ANIMATED SHORT: WILD LOVE Directed by Paul Autric

EXPERIMENTAL SHORT: CRUDE OIL Directed by Christoper Good

TENNESSEE SHORT: JR ROOT Directed by Jonathan Frazier

TENNESSEE STUDENT SHORT: LOSING FACE Directed by Magdalene Kennedy

COLLEGE STUDENT SHORT: KNOCKING DOWN THE FENCES Directed by Megan Shutzer

YOUNG FILMMAKER SHORT: GREY HEART Directed by Theo Tapliz

EPISODIC PILOT: BOOTSTRAPPED Directed by Stephanie Liang

EPISODIC SERIES: TOP DOG Directed by Julia Tokarz

VIRTUAL REALITY AND 360: ACCUSED # 2: WALTER SISULU Directed by Nicolas Champeaux, Giles Porte

GRAVEYARD SHIFT FEATURE: CLIMATE OF THE HUNTER Directed by Mickey Reece

GRAVEYARD SHIFT SHORT: JEFF DRIVES YOU Directed by Aidan Brezonick

NashFest50-1-8

Tickets are stillavailable for the 2019 Nashville Film Festival!

Single ticket sales are on sale at the NashFilm Box Office and online at www.nashfilm.org.

ABOUT NASHVILLE FILM FESTIVAL: 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. 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 nashfilm.org.

50th

(Sourced from NashFilm press release)

NashFilm’s 50th Anniversary Festival: Celebrating With Style

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Another big night on the red carpet at the 50th Nashville Film Festival:  Actors Clare Bowen & Charles Esten, Musician; Brandon Robert Young; Hit Songwriters Shane McAnally, Luke Laird; Reggae Artist Gramps Morgan, Legend Kathy Matea, NashFest’s own Jason Padgitt, and more!

Photos by Donny Evan

A FULL HOUSE – RESERVE YOUR TICKETS EARLY

Full House

Bluebird VIP

EXPLORE THE WORLD AND NEW IDEAS THROUGH
THESE INTRIGUING FILMS

Song Names

The Song of Names | Directed by Francois Girard
Starring Tim Roth and Clive Owen
Sponsored by the Nashville Jewish Film Festival
Thu. Oct 10, 7:00 PM

Martin Simmonds (Tim Roth) is haunted by the mysterious disappearance of his extraordinary best friend, a Polish Jewish virtuoso violinist, Dovidl Rapaport, who vanished shortly before the 1951 London debut concert that would have launched his brilliant career. Thirty-five years later, Martin discovers that Dovidl (Clive Owen) may still be alive, and sets out on an obsessive intercontinental search to find him and learn why he left. TICKETS

Honey Boy

Honey Boy | Directed by Alma Har’el
Screenplay by Shia LaBeouf; Starring Shia LaBeouf, Tennessee Premier, Sundance
Thu. Oct 10, 8 PM

Honey Boy tells the story of a young actor’s stormy childhood and young adult years as he struggles to reconcile with his father and deal with his mental health. LaBeouf plays a version of his own father, an ex-rodeo clown and a felon. Har’el’s feature narrative is a one-of-a-kind collaboration between filmmaker and subject, exploring art as medicine through the life and times of a talented, traumatized performer who dares to go in search of himself. TICKETS 

River Rose

Once Upon a River | Directed by Haroula Rose
Thu. Oct 10, 5:00 PM
Fri. Oct 11, 3:00 PM

Based upon the best-selling novel by Bonnie Jo Campbell, Once Upon A River tells the story of a Native American teenager, Margo Crane, in 1970s rural Michigan. Margo is forced to journey on the Stark River in search of her estranged mother played by Lindsay Pulsipher (Hatfields & McCoys, True Blood). As she uses the skills she was taught to hunt, survive and fend for herself, Margo strikes an unlikely friendship. She will need to stay true to herself and create her own sense of family. Also featuring Sam Straley (The Kids Are Alright), Ajuawak Kapashesit (Indian Horse) and Kenn E. Head (ER, Chicago Fire), with original songs by Will Oldham, JD Souther, and Rodney Crowell, Peter Bradley Adams and filmmaker Haroula Rose. TICKETS

Dark Suns

Dark Suns | Directed by Julien Elie: Tennessee Premiere
Thu Oct 10, 5:30 PM
Fri Oc 11, 12:00 PM

Shot in stark monochrome, Dark Suns chronicles the hundreds of murders of women, journalists, students, and activists in Mexico since the 1990s, and the insidious culture of cartel violence and state corruption behind them. From the notorious femicides in Ciudad Juárez at the northern border to the murders of journalists in Veracruz in the south, director Julien Elie traces a path of organized and unpunished criminality that involves collusion with governments on both sides of the border. TICKETS 

Dorien

Dorien has everything to be happy: a successful husband, two adorable children and a booming veterinary practice. One day, she discovers her mother’s long-running love affair, her husband’s uncomfortable closeness to a colleague, and a lump in her breast. She needs someone to talk to but no one will listen. Is this truly the life she dreamt of? The Best of Dorien B. is a comedy-drama about a woman who rediscovers herself amid the chaos. TICKETS

Hunter

Climate of the Hunter | Directed by Mickey Reece
Fri. Oct 11, 9:00 PM

Reece’s narratives and characters are complicated and so very human. And, just as you settle into his film, he tilts it “wonderfully off its axis”. Two sisters come to their remote house to reconnect with a friend after twenty years. When the three get together for dinner it has all the makings of a lovely adult melodrama about loneliness and the desire to connect. But then, Reece adds to the mix: Wesley could be a vampire. TICKETS

SEE THE 2019 FESTIVAL TRAILER!

NashFilm

(Source: NashFilm news release)

A Masterpiece! Brian Loschiavo’s Bluebird Receives Standing Ovation at NashFilm 2019!

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Brian Loschiavo’s documentary, Bluebird, made it’s Nashville Premiere last night, October 8th, 2019 at the 50th Anniversary of the Nashville Film Festival receiving a standing ovation for the filmmakers from a sold out Regal Hollywood ScreenX & RPX Cinema – Nashville theatre audience. Loschiavo’s film is about The Bluebird Cafe, an accidental Nashville landmark that changed the course of music history with its Sunday audition nights and implementation of the “in The Round” method, whereby, writers sit in the center of The Bluebird singing, taking turns and telling stories.

After starting out in 1982 as a traditional, upscale, gourmet restaurant business venture by Amy Kurtland, The Bluebird morphed into Nashville’s most famous songwriters club jump starting and launching the careers of countless artists including Taylor Swift, Vince Gill, Faith Hill, Trisha Yearwood, Garth Brooks, Kelsea Ballerini, Kasey Musgraves, Maren Morris, Tenille Townes, Pam Tillis and Jason Isbell to name a few – all of whom appear in the film. The documentary also features interviews and/or performances of these stars inside or about their experiences inside The Bluebird.

The genesis of the film emanated from a conversation approximately two and a half years ago between Loschiavo (Riverside Entertainment) and the Bluebird Cafe Manager, Erika Wollam Nichols. While the venue had been portrayed in Callie Khouri’s ABC hit drama, Nashville, incredulously, no one had made a film about the Nashville “songwriters-in-the-round” at The Bluebird Cafe. Nichols, who had been running the restaurant for more than a decade, felt a film telling the story of the artists and the spirit of the community was important. As one of the cast members eloquently said, “Nashville wouldn’t be Nashville without The Bluebird.”

Technically, the film is a gem. Seamless editing, harmonious non-diegetic background music combined with the film’s mise-en-scene evoked a moment of self-awareness and the suspension of disbelief. Cinematographer Jeff Molyneaux captures artists’ frames with precision belying the challenges he faced. Anyone who has seen the performances of the songwriters-in-the-round at work might imagine a special production set was built to the very minutia detail of the cafe’s interior (as in the ABC Nashville series wth Charles Esten) allowing Molyneaux to set up his shoot. Years from now, film professors will prod their student to explain how the shots were executed in the live, at-capacity space.

Setting aside the spectacular techniques utilized, the film has a spiritual life of its own mirroring the songwriters, The Bluebird personnel, the artists who perform and the physical structure of the venue. With an atmospheric of a living room and a church sanctuary, artists from Faith Hill to Garth Brooks espouse the nurturing nature of The Bluebird. Fifteen year-old Landon Wall is also featured in the film performing in the venue several times as he honed his craft. In addition, Maren Morris hearkens the Holy Ghost in a powerful performance of “My Church” evoking memories of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” And, more than one tear was shed as Tenille Townes and Taylor Swift performed “Jersey on the Wall” and “Better Man,” respectively.

With irrefutable evidence accumulated over the years in the form of testimonies, The Bluebird is hallowed ground. It had been a best kept secret. After its depiction in the ABC Nashville television series, The Bluebird has become a mecca for songwriters and travelers alike from around the globe hoping to get a taste and glimpse of the establishment. It has also made songwriting cool. A groovy profession. Despite Amy Kurland’s effort to safeguard The Bluebird and its legacy by turning it over to the Nashville Songwriters Association International on January 1, 2008, a real estate developer has purchased the strip mall where The Bluebird is located.

A mesmerizing documentary about the Holy Grail of country music, Bluebird is a masterpiece. Best seen on the big screen…. A must-see film! Coming out with a limited release November 15.

NashFilm’s 50th Anniversary Festival Hits A New Note

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Cool Night On the Red Carpet
with Legends John Oates, John Carter Cash,
Joanne Cash and more!

Photos by Donny Evan

DON’T MISS THESE FILMS!

Reckon

Reckoning | Directed by Ruckus Skye, Lane Skye

Tues. Oct 8, 8:00 PM
Wed. Oct 9, 1:00 PM

At the top of a mountain, forty miles from the power grid, Lemon Cassidy manages to scratch out a humble living for her family. When her reckless husband, Tarlee, doesn’t come home several days, she begins to suspect the worst. Armed with only her wits and tenacity, she navigates the strange and dangerous world she lives in while attempting to stay within the boundaries of this society’s strict Creed, where crimes are punished by chopping off body parts. TICKETS

Hunter

Climate of the Hunter | Directed by Mickey Reece

Wed. Oct 9, 8:30 PM
Fri. Oct 11, 9:00 PM

Reece’s narratives and characters are complicated and so very human. And, just as you settle into his film, he tilts it “wonderfully off its axis”. Two sisters come to their remote house to reconnect with a friend after twenty years. When the three get together for dinner it has all the makings of a lovely adult melodrama about loneliness and the desire to connect. But then, Reece adds to the mix: Wesley could be a vampire. TICKETS

Swallow

Swallow | Directed by Carlo Mirabella-Davis

Wed. Oct 9, 8:00 PM
Fri. Oct 11, 2:30 PM

Hunter (Haley Bennett) is a newly pregnant woman whose idyllic existence takes an alarming turn when she develops a compulsion to eat dangerous objects. As her husband (Austin Stowell) and his family tighten their control over her life, she is forced to confront the dark secret behind her uncontrollable obsession. From the producers of “The Rider” and “The Tale”, and executive producer Joe Wright (“Darkest Hour”), SWALLOW plays like a warped fairy tale. Anchored by Bennett’s knockout performance, this bold and atmospheric film marks the feature directorial debut of Carlo Mirabella-Davis. TICKETS

Ernie

Ernie & Joe | Directed by Jenifer McShane

Wed. Oct 9, 6:30 PM
Thu. Oct 10, 3:30 PM

Texas police officers are helping change the way police respond to mental health calls. The film takes you on a personal journey, weaving together their experiences during their daily encounters with people in crisis. Guns tucked away, Ernie and Joe de-escalate confrontations, divert people to desperately needed mental health services, and save lives. TICKETS

Mickey

Mickey and the Bear | Directed by Anabelle Attanssio

Wed. Oct 9, 5:00 PM
Thu. Oct 10, 12:00 PM

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. When his 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. TICKETS

The 2019 Nashville Film Festival features over 300 of the year’s best independent films from all over the world. Watch the official 2019 Nashville Film Festival trailer.

THE OFFICIAL 2019 FESTIVAL TRAILER

 

NASHFILM 2019 WEEKEND RECAP

Posted by Larry Gleeson

 

 

 

Opening Panel-1-7
EVOLVE STUDIOS at the 50th Nashville Film Festival (Photo by Larry Gleeson)

 

Compelling and engaging panels, sell-out screenings, and film industry from around the world made up the first four days of the Nashville Film Festival 50th Anniversary. Opening night red carpet included the cast of ‘Born In The Gig,’ ‘Foster Boy,’ Jeezy, and Bubba Sparxxx. Day two welcomed the Berry family who came to support the world premiere of the ‘Chuck Berry’ documentary by filmmaker Jon Brewer. HBO’s Len Amato panel, Johnathon Shcaech and Jessica Barth’s #METOO panel, and an all-star comedy panel were just a few highlights from day three. The girls from NashFilm’s Living Reel Project debuted their song and short created for the festival, and ‘Who’s The Girl? The Ashley Cleveland’ had a sell-out crowd on day four.

Nashville Film Festival continues this week with Lahna Turner and the world premiere of ‘What’s Eating Ralphie May’ tonight at 6 pm. ‘The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash’ also screens at 6 pm. Tomorrow NashFilm will host the Tennessee premiere of ‘Bluebird’ with Amy Grant, Tenille Townes, Shane McAnally, Lori McKenna, Callie Khouri, Ruby Amanfu, Tony Arata, Dave Barnes, Steve Buchanan, Gary Burr, Roger Cook, Barry Dean, Tom Douglas, Mark Germino, Don Henry, Claude Kelly, Luke Laird, and more coming out to support the Nashville film. Find the full schedule through Oct. 12 here.

ABOUT NASHVILLE FILM FESTIVAL

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 is celebrating its 50th Anniversary October 3-12, 2019. For more information, visit www.nashfilm.org.

 

50th

(Source: Courtesy of NashFilm)

 

(sourced from

FILM REVIEW: Lost Bayou (Brian C. Miller Richard, 2019)

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Lost Bayou, a film from Director/Producer Brian C. Miller Richard, made its Southeast Premiere at the 50th Anniversary of the Nashville Film Festival. Lost Bayou is a poetic portrait of a Cajun Traiteur and life out in the Atchafalaya Basin, the largest river swamp in the United States. Richard set out to make a film about Cajun life in the Basin having grown up and lived there most of his life. Nick Lavin and Hunter Burke wrote the screenplay that deals with a young woman, who appears to have an addiction, and her connection with her faith-healing father.

The film opens with a piece of footage bordering on the macabre that sets the tone as a man in a swamp states he was declared legally dead by a medical doctor only to wake up with a man kneeling over him praying. A fade to black transition reveals the story’s main character, Gal, portrayed by Teri Wyble, in a vehicle popping a pill and chasing it down with a swig of hard liquor. She asks the driver to wait for her as she exits the vehicle. The driver pulls away hurriedly. Apparently, Gal forgot what day it was and missed her young son’s birthday.

A fortuitous call comes in from Gal’s father, Pop, portrayed by Dane Rhodes. Pop speaks with a Cajun dialect and requests that Gal come home as her mother has a serious complication. The only issue is Gal’s mother has been deceased for two years. Gal finally agrees after Pop’s insistence. After the call ends, a bird flies into Gal’s door. Gal picks up the lifeless bird and takes it to the water whereupon a surreal moment takes place with a French prayer and the bird begins moving under its own power.

Needless to say, when Gal gets down to Pop’s floating raft-house the situation is about life and death and who decides who can cross the divide and when. Pop feels the swamp allows for better communication with his God, whereas Gal believes not knowing and not believing “ain’t such a bad thing.” Along the way, several tense moments and sharp camera operation kept my attention focused and the life in the bayou is revealed in a southern gothic style. Life on the bayou has its unique ways and Richard manages to let us in on it stylistically.

The film’s production values are strong. Exquisite cinematography from Natalie Kingston, production design by Mark and Matthew Whittle, and Mehgan Cornay’s costuming deliver an ethereal feel to the film while realistically capturing life in the region. The musical score was provided by the Grammy award-winning Lost Bayou Ramblers. The Ramblers are known predominantly for their acoustic Cajun style and seem to hit the right notes and melodies to drive the emotionality of the film’s scenes. The editing team of Richard and Robert Grigsby Wilson stitch and weave images in a seamless continuity. And, from an acting standpoint, Wyble does most of the heavy lifting. Rhodes adds a powerful presence honed from his theatrical stage work and the ensemble cast worked very well.

In the Q & A following the film, Richard revealed the inner workings of the project. Numerous members of the team had close relatives working on set including Richard’s own father. With a run time of 87 minutes, the film seemed a tad short….probably because I wanted to see more!

Highly recommended!

FILM REVIEW: What’s Eating Ralphie May?

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Cat Rhinehart’s documentary, What’s Eating Ralphie May?, made its world premiere at the 50th Anniversary of the Nashville Film Festival. “I thought Nashville’s 50th was the perfect time and place to premiere. Ralphie loved Nashville – and he talks about it in the film. I could tell the audience felt that affinity – so I couldn’t imagine a better fit. Ralphie would have been proud,” said Rhinehart.

Ralphie May was an American stand-up comedian known for his extensive touring and television comedy specials. Ralphie appeared to be living the American Dream with a beautiful wife, Lahna Turner, and two perfect children. May suffered from obesity. He loved making people laugh. And, people loved Ralphie in return.

Rhinehart began documenting May as he set out to lose weight. He asked his lovely wife, Lahna, to help him. Turner could see a bright future with a successful documentary and possibly a book deal for Ralphie. After losing 300 pounds from a starting point of 800 pounds, Ralphie plateaued. Unable to get through, he turned to pain medicine to alleviate his suffering. He decided not to have weight loss surgery.

After Ralphie landed a year-long contract to perform in Las Vegas, tensions became unbearable. Lahna decided to focus on herself. One night after a show Ralphie came back to his room and fell smashing his skull on a table on the way down. Shocked and bewildered, Turner and Rhinehart dedicated the footage they had and decided to honor Ralphie with What’s Eating Ralphie May?

Screen Shot 2019-10-07 at 1.31.02 AM

Utilizing traditional documentary filmmaking techniques, including archival footage, direct interviews and still photographs, Rhinehart traces Ralphie’s early life including his difficult childhood in Arkansas, his fascination with comedian Sam Kinison, his runner-up finish debacle in Jay Mohr’s Last Comic Standing in 2003 and documents his marital strife.

Following Ralphie’s untimely death, Rhinehart decided to interview Ralphie and Lahna’s daughter for the film. When asked if she wanted to say anything about her dad, she replied, “I love my dad and hope he feels better now that he’s out of that body.” Lahna continues to perform her stand-up comedy.

What’s Eating Ralphie May? is more than direct cinema. It’s an important film documenting and illuminating issues about marital relationships and obesity, and how people deal with them. Ralphie’s New York Times obituary read that he died of hypertensive cardiovascular disease. No mention was made of Ralphie suffering from obesity, a complex disease involving an excessive amount of body fat. Ralphie confesssed to Lahna he didn’t want to be fat. Lahna wanted Ralphie to get healthy.

Unfortunately, the film never quite answers the question of what caused Ralphie’s addiction to food. Instead, it portrays Lahna as a victim (which she denies vociferously) unable to do for Ralphie what he couldn’t do for himself. Ralphie opted to continue working, doing what he loved most, making people laugh, despite – or maybe in spite of – his unhealthy obesity.

Highly recommended film.