Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Music, TV and Film A Perfect Mix in Music City

By Dan Wunsch
MCAU Guest Writer

(This article was published in the March/April 2013 Issue of the Nashville Music Guide.)

     NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Through the years, Nashville is becoming known as "Tinsel Town South" not only because of the LA transplants relocating here, but the city has earned the reputation of being a major film center through three annual major conferences and festivals: "Film-Com", the "Nashville Film Festival", and the "Nashville Screenwriters Conference".

(Dan Wunsch (right) greets New York Times reporter Phil Sweetland during the opening party for "Score-Com" and "Film-Com".)

     Each has filmmakers and film industry executives flocking to Music City from around the world, and the common thread that has made all three successful is the participation of Hollywood insiders, including directors, producers, film/TV executives, actors and screenwriters. Nashville songwriters, music publishers and record labels have a unique opportunity to place their songs and compositions into film and TV by networking at these events.

     "Film-Com" 2013 is scheduled from April 13-19 with sub-events scheduled throughout downtown Nashville. The primary mission of this film industry conference and market is to bring film, TV, investment and distribution companies together with filmmakers for the packaging, funding and distribution of new film and TV projects. The bread and butter of "Film-Com' is industry seminars, pitch sessions to industry executives, and a film market showcasing film and TV projects. Companies sending representatives this year include Dreamworks Animation, SyFy Channel, TLC, Valhalla Television, Millennium Film, I.M., and Global International Distribution to mention a few. 

     Several "Film-Com" events have been designed specifically with Nashville's music community in mind. The conference opens with a workshop/seminar for composers titled "Score-Com" on April 13 at Ocean Way Studios. Last year, the workshop/seminar was mentored by Richard Glasser, head of the music at Weinstein Co.

     The Film/TV Industry Bash is on April 17, and besides being a monstrous networking party, will also feature a panel with the movers and shakers behind the TV series "Nashville": script writer Callie Khouri, producer Loucas George, and creator Steve Buchanan. 

     The "Syncs & Drinks", the largest group of companies and professionals in Music City involved in placing songs in film and television projects, is hosting a networking event on April 18, which will be immensely useful for both filmmakers looking for song material and for songwriters looking to establish relationships with creators of film and television projects.

     The "New Project Expo" takes place at Titans Stadium on April 18, and is an exhibition of films and TV series with networking opportunities with producers and directors. This is an excellent opportunity to introduce yourself as a potential source of music for their currently-in-development or future film and TV projects. 

     For a complete list of events and participants visit http://www.nashvillecomposers.org and http://www.film-com.com.

     As the dust is settling on "Film-Com", the 44th annual "Nashville Film Festival" (a.k.a. NaFF) begins on April 18 and ends on April 25. As in past years, the festival will take place at the Regal Cinemas in Green Hills.  Included in the final slate of fictional and documentary films, selected from over 3,000 submissions, there are several documentary films with music themes from rock and roll and hip hop to boys’ choirs and classic country. Some of the artists portrayed in this year’s crop of films include the Sheepdogs (Canadian rockers); the St. Thomas Boys Choir; the Beatles through the eyes of their devoted secretary and friend, Freda Kelly; Jim Lauderdale; Oakland Hip Hoppers; artists influenced by the Muscle Shoals sound; Cuban rap group Los Aldeanos; artists from Bronson, Mo.; and others.

     Not to be missed is the Opening Night Selection Feature on April 18 of the Film "Mud", directed by Jeff Nichols and starring Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon. This screening is preceded by the red-carpet event, which always includes not only NaFF participating celebrities but also many surprise VIP’s. Bring your camera and find your spot with the paparazzi.  

     The Closing Night Selection on April 25, is the film "Unfinished Song", directed by Paul Andrew Williams and starring Terrence Stamp and Vanessa Redgrave. The story line is seniors join a local singing group led by a charming and youthful director who reignites his passion for adventure.

     For a complete list of events including not only films but panel discussions and special events, visit http://www.nashvillefilmfestival.org .

     Last but not least, the 15th Annual Nashville Screenwriters Conference is scheduled from May 31 to June 2, 2013. This year, it returns to the Union Station Hotel. The foundation of the conference is panel discussions and seminars with the top screenwriters from Hollywood and New York, and this year's invitees will not disappoint. To mention a few, Alec Berg (SEINFELD, CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM, THE DICTATOR), Nancy Pimental (SOUTH PARK, THE SWEETEST THING, SHAMELESS), Manish Ravel (GIRLS, NEW GIRL, BAD TEACHER), Craig Mazin (IDENTITY THIEF, HANGOVER PART 2, SCARY MOVIE 4) and  Glenn Berger (KUNG FU PANDA, KING OF THE HILL). 

     The cornerstone event for Nashville’s music community is once again the "Music in Film and Television Panel" hosted by Anastasia Brown on June 1 at the Country Music Hall of Fame's Ford Theater. Major music supervisors will offer insider knowledge on how to place songs into films and television. The audience attendees will have the rare opportunity to submit one song to these panelists for their current projects. Actual scenes from projects in post-production will be shown on the big screen in the Ford Theater or script pages read, and each supervisor will describe the type of song required for the scene.

     Success stories from previous panels include placements in DREAM HOUSE, IN TIME, THE DARKEST HOUR, SANTA CLAUS 2 and  AUGUST RUSH to mention a few. 

     "Every label, publisher, manager, song writer and artist in town should attend this financially beneficial and inspiring panel," said Rod Essig, Creative Artist Agency executive. 

     For a complete list of events, participants and special events, visit http://www.nashscreen.com .

     In closing, in addition to ALL-INCLUSIVE tickets for each of the three major happenings, there are one-day or single-event tickets available, an attractive alternative for “starving artists.” The road to success has many paths. Consider these three major Nashville film conferences and festivals as one of them.

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