With Day 3 of Nashville Film Festival falling on a Saturday, it makes sense that that’s the day organizers not only feature young up-and-coming filmmakers, but also pepper the day’s schedule with a selection of family-friendly fare.
Up first at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 12 is Family Shorts, a grouping of seven animated and live -action short films. Included in this collection are Du Iz Tak? Directed by Galen Fott and based on Carson Ellis’ 2017 Caldecott-wining children’s book, this 11 minute short features two insect pals speaking in their own secret language as they marvel at a tiny sprout budding in their expansive world. This unique perspective of what is in actuality simply an oft taken for granted backyard is sure to inspire imagination it its young audience.
Next up is Snap, a quick one-minute animated short from student filmmaker Brittany Woodhull. In a plot completely relatable to this writer, and anyone who follows my dog, DesiluTheYorkiePoo on Instagram, Snap reveals the trial and tribulations of an infelicitous cat-owner trying his best to take the perfect photograph of his beloved kitten. A daunting task indeed.
All The Marbles, a tale of villainous bullies and a winner-takes-all game of marbles follows. This 17-minute live-action short from director/co-writer Michael Swingler and co-writer Carl Petersen stretches the imagination by presenting a world where said marbles are a highly sought after commodity. Cole Sand, Carl Petersen, Helen Sadler and Christopher Francoisa star.
Another Student Shorts Competition entry, Undiscovered reveals the myth behind the myth of Sasquatch. That myth being why the illusive, perhaps non-existent being is rarely seen and even more rarely ever recorded by photographic proof. Directed by Sara Litzenberger with music by Sakda “Grant” Srikoethkruen, the Tennessee Premiere short has a run-time of 20 minutes.
Wishing Box, with a six minute runtime, is a 3D animated tale of Derek, the pirate and his simian best pal who, after years of searching for treasure finally find it in an enchanted treasure chest that holds special powers that could see wishes come true. From student director Lizzie Zhang, co-directed by Nan Li and produced by Lindsay Elgin, the film has proven an audience and critical favorite at festivals including receiving Best Animation at Nevada’s Dam Short Film Festival earlier this year.
Another short certain to be a fan favorite is Preschool Poets: An Animated Series in which longtime poetry teacher turns the camera on a group of six four-year-old children to provide poems that are then brought to life via animation. Eligible in the festival’s Episodic Competition, this ten-minute short got it’s inspiration when poet and educator Nancy Kangas joined Ohio’s Columbus Early Learning Centers, an organization dedicated to offering access to young preschooler, affordable quality education.
The Family Shorts collection wraps with director Helen O’Hanlon’s Mirette, a ten-minute narrative exploring a young girl’s life-changing experiences following the arrival or a mysterious man. From the The cast features Dixie Egerickx, Jean-Marc Desmond, Tom Conti, Miriam Gargoyles and Bebe Cave.
If you miss Family Shorts this week, they’ll be screening again next Saturday, May 19 at 12 noon during the festival’s final day.
Screening at 12:15 p.m. they may not all be as innocent as your typical Saturday Morning cartoons of days gone by, but the always popular Animation Showcase brings together nine short films featuring a wide variety of animation styles and subject matter.
Each film in this block is unique, but it’s the opening film, Lotte the Silhouette Girl, that’s a particularly innovative and interesting stand-out. You see, the film celebrates the creative legacy of German filmmaker, Lotte Reiniger, who became famous for her unique style of animating silhouette puppets. In this short by directors Carla Patella and Elizabeth Beechri, Lotte’s own story is beautifully told in the style that made her a legend.
Also appearing in this collection are Take Rabbit, Full Story, Vermin, Catastrophe, Weekends, Poles Apart, Darrel, Morning Cowboy, The Burden and Negative Space. This collection will screen again on Wednesday, May 16 at 8:45 p.m.
Continuing the family-friendly vibe is the animated feature-length film, The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales. Screening at 1 p.m. and making its Tennessee Premiere, this one isn’t your typical fairy tale, instead, we find a fox who’s more comfortable playing nursemaid to baby chicks than eating them, a rabbit who rather be a stork and a duck who fancies himself the new Santa. Directed by Academy Award Nominee Benjamin Renner (Ernest and Celestine) and Patrick Imbert, and based on Renner’s popular 2015 children’s book, Le Grand Merchant Renard, this French-produced animation comes is distributed by Studio Canal.
Maybe because I’ve been obsessed with all things Mystery Inc. since I was a kid watching Scooby Doo, Where Are You? Maybe because I’m also obsessed with fluffy teenage silliness, or maybe because I’m a little more into zombies that I should be, but the 3 p.m. Special Presentation screening of director Suzi Yoonessi’s Daphne and Velma has my name all over it. Yes, THAT Daphne and Velma. The latest in the never-ending Scooby Doo franchise offers a live action reimagining of how the opposites attract besties popular and pretty Daphne Blake and bookish but nerd-hot Velma Dinkley first meet and begin a life of mystery-solving in a time before the teamed with the always scruffy Shaggy, ascot-wearing Fred and mumble-mouth Scooby. Produced by former High School Musical star Ashley Tisdale, this screening comes just days before the film’s direct-to-dvd release.
Of course this is only a sampling of Saturday’s Film Festival offerings. Individual movie tickets are available for many of the films and collections featured in each day’s preview articles as well as those not mentioned. Click Here for Saturday’s full schedule.
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That’s it for my Day 3 Nashville Film Festival preview, but be sure and check back tomorrow for details about Day 4. In the meantime, you can always follow my personal Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as I’ll be checking in from time to time direct from the festival thru May 19!