Day 7 of Nashville Film Festival continues to offer dozens of shorts, features and documentaries. Among my favorites for Wednesday, May 16 is director/star Jim Cummings’ Thunder Road. A feature-length expansion of his 2016 short of the same name. The original short serves as the film’s opening sequence in which Police Officer Jim Arnaud (Cummings) is in attendance for his mother’s funeral. When asked to eulogize his mother, he approaches the front of the congregation and proceeds to ramble on and on for a full ten minutes, ending his eulogy with a awkwardly tearful, yet comical karaoke performance of Bruce Springsteen’s Thunder Road (with choreography) accompanied by a tape of The Boss’ version playing on his daughter’s pink portable cassette player. The film screens again on Friday, May 18 at 6:15 p.m.
Also of note on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. is The Gospel of Eureka, from filmmakers Donal Mosher and Michael Palmer. Narrated by trans singer/songwriter and actor, Mx Justin Vivian Bond, this Tennessee Premiere documentary focuses on the Eureka Springs, Arkansas which is firmly encroached in the Bible Belt. The film examines the ever-present juxtaposition of christianity and homosexuality. From drag queens preparing for a Gospel Drag Show to congregational thespians (I said thespians, not lesbians) reading for their annual mounting of The Passion Play, The Gospel of Eureka doesn’t set out to divide, but rather, it finds the commonality amongst the small town’s diverse, yet similar residence. A refreshing look and homosexuality AND religion, rather than homosexuality OR religion.
If you’ve paid close attention to the banner image for Nashville Film Festival, and you just so happen to be a fan of classic horror/thrillers, you’ve no doubt noticed the haunting image of Mia Farrow from director Roman Polanski’s brilliantly mesmerizing Rosemary’s Baby. Released in 1968, this year marks the 50th anniversary of the film’s release. To mark the occasion, the Nashville Film Festival will present a special screening of the film at 8:45 p.m. Co-starring John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon, Maurice Evans and Ralph Bellamy, the film set the standard for modern horror as it broached the subject matter of the occult as horror and religion like never before. Click Here for today’s full film schedule or to purchase tickets.
Elsewhere at the festival, as has been the case in years past, in addition to hundreds of movies in the span of nine days, the festival also includes their annual Creator’s Conference, a series of sessions over the course of three days during the festival in which attendees have the opportunity to sit in on Q&As, talkbacks and conversations on a wide range of subjects exploring the how-to of movie making.
Earlier this week, Kathie Lee Gifford took part in an early edition of the Creator’s Conference. Wednesday, May 16 through Friday, May 18, the full schedule of Creative Conference takes place.
Up first is How to Pitch Your Project at 10:45 a.m. on Wednesday, May 16. This how-to features Carey Nelson Burch of My Own Shingle, Ryan Smith of Mountview Management and Austin Mendez of North of Two.
On Thursday morning the Creator’s Conference gets in full swing with several simultaneous events including two The Pitch Round 2 Sessions, each of which will include 50 live pitches from attendees hoping to get their project known.
Always a popular session also taking place Thursday morning is How I Got My Start. Revealing her beginning in the biz is the aforementioned Carey Nelson Burch of My Own Shingle, who also serves as President of Hideout Pictures, the company behind CMT’s Still The King series starring Joey Lauren Adams and Billy Ray Syrus. Prior to that, Burch was an Executive Producer at TackleBox Films and worked as a packaging agent for William Morris Endeavor for more than a decade. She also serves on the boards of Leadership Music, Belmont’s Film and TV Advisory Committee, Film Com and Nashville Film Festival.
Yet another session on Thursday morning is How to Get the Music You Want, an opportunity to learn what it takes to acquire the perfect song (and its rights) for your project. Heading this conference will be music executive, Alicia Richards. With more than 20 years in the business, Richards has worked with giants in the film and music business including Disney Music Publishing, Sony Music and Warner Bros.
Also at 10:45 a.m. on Thursday morning is Social Media Charm School. Each year, social media proves more and more vital as a means to get awareness of your latest project out to the masses, this creative conference offering recognizes that and addresses it head-on. Featuring Gerry Maravilla, this workshop will explain how to use the internet to find, engage and enthrall your target audience as you prepare your film and ready it for public consumption. Based in Los Angeles, Maravilla serves as the Head of Crowdfunding at Seed & Spark. A successful indie short subject filmmaker in his own right, Maravilla’s projects include Solstice, Cross, Desert and the yet-to-be-released The Halloween Club.
The 1 o’clock hour on Thursday offers two more The Pitch Round 2 sessions, as well as What We’re Looking For, a session featuring Alex Bowen of The Kennedy/Marshall Company, Mark Cartier of North of Two and Morgan Pichinson of Mosaic as they reveal why types of screenplays are the current and future trends of movie making.
The Changing Nature of Film and TV, another conference at 1 p.m. on Thursday examines the ever-changing landscape of how film and TV content is offered and consumed. This conference is vital to filmmakers in that it not only examines the still-relatively new medium of streaming and subscription services, but offered a look at what’s next and how to stay relevant. Featuring a panel comprised on The Orchard’s Andrew Borden, Naia Cuckoo of Walden Media, Riverside Entertainment’s Brian Loschiavo and Katie Zucker of Zucker Productions, this event is moderated by Aspiration Entertainment’s Erik Lokkesmoe.
Rounding out the 1 p.m. offerings is Shooting on Film Isn’t as Expensive as You Think!. As the conference title would indicate, this workshop reveals the benefits of shooting on reel film as opposed to digital. Featuring insights from industry insiders Jeremy Culver, Charleene Closshey and Anita Modak-Truran, this event praises not only the glorious quality and aesthetic beauty of film, but offers applicable ways to use reel film. After all, in a world of instantaneous digital gratification, how wonderful to create a film using the medium’s original format?
Creator’s Conference continues Wednesday-Friday with sessions ranging from garnering Distribution on PBS and the invaluable A-Z of Working with an Executive Producer to Synch and Be Heard, a discussion of how to pitch for not only TV or film, but also advertising, game synch and other opportunities. Click Here for the full Creator’s Conference schedule.
As always, as Nashville Film Festival continues, there are many many other choices besides the ones highlighted in this preview. Click Here to view Wednesday’s full schedule or to purchase individual tickets. Tickets to each film or group of shorts are $15 (Members may purchase tickets at a discounted rate, while Festival pass holders may attend for free as part of their Festival Pass perks) Click Here for details about VIP Laminates.
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Be sure and check back tomorrow morning for details about Day 8. 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!