Wednesday, April 16, 2014

NaFF to Spotlight Tennessee Filmmakers During 45th Annual Festival in Nashville

            NASHVILLE - The Nashville Film Festival (NaFF) has announced the film line-up for Tennessee First Narrative and Short programs to be screened at the 45th annual Festival, scheduled for April 17 - 26 at Regal Green Hills Cinema 16 and downtown Nashville.

            These films were created by Tennessee filmmakers or were shot in Tennessee and will be screened throughout the festival. The program is named Tennessee First to highlight NaFF’s commitment to Tennessee filmmakers.

            The Tennessee First program is supported by the Tennessee Film Music and Entertainment Commission.

            “I am excited about our sponsorship of this year’s Tennessee First program and our growing partnership with NaFF,” said Bob Raines, executive director and board member of the Nashville Film Festival.  “Our main focus is to support Tennessee Filmmakers and create opportunities for advancement within the entertainment industry, both statewide and abroad.”

            “We received more entries for Tennessee films than ever before in NaFF history,” said Artistic Director Brian Owens. “In addition to 'The Identical', 'Chasing Ghosts', and 'When the World’s On Fire', we are screening seven features in the Tennessee First Narrative Program, and 24 in the Tennessee First Shorts Program. Perhaps not surprisingly, more than half of the features relate to our music industry and tradition in some way.”

            While most films will be screened at Regal Green Hills, a selection of the short films will be screened at the Nissan Multicultural Village (Walk of Fame Park,) at 8 p.m. Wednesday (April 24).

            The Nashville Film Festival, like other major film festivals such as Sundance and Tribeca, is open to the public. Tickets may be purchased to over 200 events, including films, panel discussions and parties. NaFF brings in filmmakers, celebrities, and industry insiders to mingle with people who enjoy film on the big screen.

Tennessee First Narratives:

            * "The Ballad of Shovels & Rope" | Director: Jace Freeman.  USA. 72 minutes.
Starring: Cary Ann Hearst, Michael Trent.

            Necessity is the mother of invention. Less is more. Make it work with what you've got. Two guitars, a junkyard drum kit, a handful of harmonicas, voices, and above all... songs. Hailing from Charleston, South Carolina, Shovels and Rope prefer to keep it simple.

            * "Banjo Romantika: American Bluegrass Music & The Czech Imagination" | Director: Shara Lange. USA. 65

            During the summer of 2011, ethnomusicologist Lee Bidgood and filmmaker Shara K. Lange recorded bluegrass musicians around the Czech Republic. They were interested in telling the story of how this unique form of American music had become a meaningful and original sub-genre in this faraway and seemingly arbitrary country in Eastern Europe. What does bluegrass music have to do with Czechs?

            * "Beautiful Jim" | Director: Rex Jones. USA. 53 minutes.
            The story of an HIV-positive singer-songwriter's triumph over AIDS. Jimbeau Hinson ("Fancy Free", "Party Crowd") is a Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter living in Nashville who has been HIV-positive for over 30 years. He was also the first openly bisexual singer/songwriter in country music.

            * "Blackout: On Swan Pond" | Director: Scott Colthorp. USA. 95 minutes.

            When a retention wall at a coal fired power plant spilled one billion tons of toxic ash into a small community in East Tennessee, Americans learned coal ash is a problem that has been ignored for decades. Blackout explores the growing energy crisis by examining one community that was affected by the ever increasing need for electricity. (WORLD PREMIERE)

            * "A Decade With an Unsigned Rock Band" | Director: Criss Cheatham. USA. 81 minutes.

            For every famous rock band, there are thousands of acts that never make it. August Christopher is one of those bands, playing over 3,000 shows in 14 years... But you've probably never heard of them. This documentary follows one band's journey--a real American Rock-'n'-Roll story documented over the course of a 10-year period.

            * "Riser: Dierks Bentley" | Director: Wes Edwards. USA. 45 minutes.

            "Dierks Bentley: Riser" chronicles the ups and downs of the two-year period during the making of the new album, which kicked off with the death of Bentley’s father and culminated with the birth of his first son, Knox.

            * "Something, Anything" | Director: Paul Harrill. USA. 88 minutes. Starring: Bryce Johnson, Linds Edwards, Ashley Shelton, Jason Benjamin.

            When her new marriage starts to disintegrate, a would-be suburban mom sets out on her own. But after receiving a postcard from a monk, her life turns upside down spiritually and romantically. (SOUTHEAST PREMIERE)

Tennessee First Shorts:

            * "American Frenzy" | Director: Brandon Langley. 7 minutes. Starring: Bill Williams, Linds Edwards.

            It is a hyperbolic anti-parable of the exploitation of our fears, the piggish plundering of the media news outlets, the birth of the ghost collective. It is an American frenzy.

            * "Bear With Me" | Director: Chad McClarnon. 2 minutes. Starring: Katie Mercedes Insinger

            Sunday afternoons are always better with a friend.

            * "The Black Bird" | Director: Jared Cooley. 14 minutes.
Starring: John Corbin

            A young boy in elementary school becomes witness to a series of coincidences between his fellow classmates and a strange black bird that seems to target the next to die.

            * "Devil’s Damned to Try" | Director: Marshall Burnette. 23 minutes.
Starring: Riley Anglen, James DeForest Parker, Daniel De Armas, Jake Arthur

            A southern tale of lies well lived.

            * "Each Time Again" | Director: Kip Kubin. 15 minutes. Starring: Alan Powell, Jack Reed, David Malus

            Ben is a serial killer. As a boy he’s shown a machine that wipes the slate clean and over the years he doesn’t hesitate to use it. But one night a twist of fate leaves him fighting for life.

            * "Elvis Loses His Excess & Other Tales from the World’s Longest Yardsale" | Director: Riley Hooper. 19 minutes.

            Travel down U.S. Highway 127 from Michigan to Alabama and meet the people at the world's longest yard sale -- an annual four-day, 690-mile exchange of not only goods but also narratives.

            * "Embalmer’s Gray" | Director: Jennifer Bonior. 9 minutes.
Starring: Keri Pisapia

            Dead or alive, running into an ex is never fun.

            * "Goodfriends" | Director: Jerod Hollyfield. 10 minutes. Starring: Trey Anderson, Caroline Hebert, Joel Walker, Morgan Charlesworth

            A disabled grocery store bagger deludes himself into believing the shallow niceties of those around him until given a chance at a genuine connection.

            * "John’s Farm" | Director: Melissa Sweazy. 12 minutes. Starring: Billie Worley, Caleb Sweazy, Leo Spunt, Savannah Bearden

            When an anxious parent brings his son to John's Farm for an epic, "free-range" play date, he must decide whether or not to violate the farm's strict social contract to rescue his son from a potential threat.

            * "Little Red" | Director: Scott Crain. 9 minutes. Starring: Jason Marsden, Harold Bagwell, Judy Jackson, Ryan Rehnborg

            Set in the Old West, a band of outlaws learn the terrible dangers of straying from the path.

            * "Lower Broads" | Director: Drew Langer. 26 minutes. Starring: Marin Miller, Heather Byrd, Leah Elmquist, Travis Nicholson

            Two rival drunken, redneck bachelorette parties coverage at a downtown Nashville karaoke bar.

            * "A Mold for Mortals" | Director: Evan Caddell. 7 minutes. Starring: Matt Bolton, C.M. Robinson, David Chattam

            A short film about a window into three separate individuals. One who's life is beginning. One who's life is ending. And one who's life is lost.

            * "Not a Statistic" | Director: Shelby Hadden. 37 minutes. Starring: Ellen Hollis, Tyler Reimschisel

            Not a Statistic is about the Hollis family's daily struggle with mitochondrial disease, their fight to find a cure, and their passion to make a difference.

            * "One Night" | Director: Casey Cross. 12 minutes. Starring: Emma Fitzpatrick, TJ McFarland

            Musician Amy Wade returns to Nashville after many months on the road and must come clean about a terrible mistake she has made.

            * "Part of Your Heart" | Director: Matteo Servente. 10 minutes.
Starring: Drew Smith

            A guy walks into his mother's house, days after she passed, only to find a stranger living there.

            * "Rust" | Director: Blake Holland. 19 minutes. Starring: Taylor Dupuis

            Two strangers, remaining nameless, spend an evening together.

            * "Self Offense" | Director: Wendy Keeling. 15 minutes. Starring: Wendy Keeling, Carla Christina Contreras, Rebecca Lines, Susannah Devereux, Levi Montgomery

            "Self Offense" is the journey of four women victimized by abuse and violence.

            * "Shadowland" | Director: Steven Wesley Miller. 22 minutes. Starring: Linds Edwards, Jessica Shipp

            Civilization is at its end. America has been reduced to a land where only a few, strictly-governed communities still exist. All else is "Shadowland".

            * "Sorry About Tomorrow" | Director: Motke Dapp. 8 minutes. Starring: John Ferguson, Beth Mathews, Tim Arnold

            Haunted by the actions of his past and hunted by men from the future, Baldwin attempts to stop the tragic state of events by going back in time to break up with the love of his life.

            "Straight Up: Tennessee Whiskey" | Director: Eric Byford. 38 minutes. Starring: Mike Williams, Pam Sutton, Jamey Grosser, Lee Kennedy

            The story of Tennessee's inception as a whiskey-producing state through the periods of Prohibition and forward to the law change in 2009.

            * "Streets of Florence" | Director: Phillip Dixon. 10 minutes.
Starring: Clet Abraham, Claudio Spadi

            "Streets of Florence" is a short documentary about three artists in Florence, Italy, who work in the streets of this city of renaissance.

            * "To Be Loved" | Director: Chris St.Croix. 28 minutes. Starring: Justin Hand, Jayne Salters, Vince Cusomato, Chris Cavolo

            In this twisted, dark comedy a lonely man is promised true love, but it comes at a bloody price.

            * "To Bloom (Sbocciare)" | Director: Jaclyn Edmonson. 9 minutes.
Starring: Silvia Logi
            "Sbocciare" is an inspiring piece that tells the story of a Florentine woman who fiercely pursues her "art within" despite the odds that were surely against her.

            * "Wonder" | Director: Mark Brown. 3 minutes. Starring: Emma Watson

            "Wonder", in its most concise terms, is a short story capturing and embellishing the pure awe felt for the natural world as a child.

            Learn more about the Nashville Film Festival (and see the schedule of film showings, panels and other activities) at

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