On Friday, May 18, as the 2018 Nashville Film Festival continues at Regal Cinemas’ Hollywood 27 (719 Thompson Lane, Nashville, TN 37204), a couple of films stand out.
Screening in Theatre 7 at 2:15 p.m. on Friday, Stay Human is an inspirational music-filled documentary directed, starring and featuring music by Michael Franti. The doc focuses on people Franti encounters, who, in a world when hopelessness seems inevitable, have instead opted to overcome the adversities, leading to a film full of inspiration and positivity. Among Franti’s composer/performer credits, Say Hey (featured in Alvin and The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked), The Sound of Sunshine (Blue Crush 2), a special recording of Little Boxes from a Season 3 episode of HBO‘s Weeds and more. Audiences will surely shed tears of joy with this one.
Inciting tears of a more poignant nature at 3 p.m. in Theatre 2 is director Yen Tan’s 1985. Based on the filmmaker’s 2016 short film, 1985 is a modern drama in which a closeted young man (played by GOTHAM’s Cory Michael Smith) returns home to Texas for the holidays to share a few uncomfortable secrets with his conservative family. As the title indicates, the film takes place during the year 1985, a time in history when the gay community (closeted or not) was dealing head-on with the AIDS crisis. Virginia Madsen and Michael Chiklis co-star as the young man’s traditionally southern and inherently religions parents. While the aforementioned short was filmed in color, this feature-lengh expansion is presented in black and white. Recently when the film debuted at SXSW, Tan revealed in an interview with Deadline that he had drawn inspiration for the familial drama from his experience working with HIV/AIDS patients in his first post-career job. In that same conversation, co-star Madsen pointed towards another aspect of the film, that of coming out to loved ones.
Of course these are only two of the many films screening Friday at the Festival. Click Here for the full film schedule, or to purchase individual tickets to any of the films for $15 each.
Elsewhere at the festival, the 2018 Creator’s Conference comes to a close. The conference, a series of workshops and Q&As taking place simultaneously during the Nashville Film Festival, begins its third and final day at 10 a.m. with Case Studies in Sync (Theatre 4), a behind-the-scenes look at why certain music is selected for sync placement. This session will also present a number of examples from top music supervisors and producers. The panel will discuss how various aspects of a piece of music, including tempo, theme and tone, are taken into consideration for sync placement.
At 10:45 a.m., there will be three sessions for conference attendees to choose from. First, there’s The Making of an Animated Short: Pixar’s La Luna (Theatre 3). During this session, Pixar’s Daniel McCoy will lead the discussion as he reveals the journey of director Enrico Casarosa’s 2011 Oscar-nominated short from watercolor inspiration to its digital destination.
Also at 10:45 is How Do I Get In The Room to Pitch My Project? (Theatre 8). This seemingly self-explanatory session features filmmaker Rod Blackhurst, whose 2016 Amanda Knox doc garnered two Emmy nominations. Also on the panel, Mark Cartier, Founder, President and CEO of North of Two, a film distribution company whose upcoming release Bully stars Tucker Albrizzi (one of the stand-out young actors from NBC’s A.P. Bio) as directed by Santino Campanelli. Rounding out the panel is Ryan Smith, Head of Physical Production and Partner at Mountview Films, an LA-based video production and creative agency. Mountview produced 2016’s Some Freaks, a Grand Jury prize-winner at the 2017 Nashville Film Festival for Best Narrative Feature.
The conference’s third 10:45 a.m. offering Everything I Wanted to Ask a Festival Director (Theatre 9) features non other than Nashville Film Festival’s Creative Director, Brian Owens. Programmer for the Nashville Film Festival since 2008, Owens will offer the unique perspective of a true film festival insider as he reveals exactly what goes into selecting which films of the hundreds submitted, make the final cut.
Following a lunch break, the Creator’s Conference picks back up at 1 p.m with four separate sessions to choose from. At 1 p.m. is Help Your Look Book (Theatre 3), featuring a panel of SAG/AFTRA franchised agents including Talent Trek’s Jaunell Walker, Kim McCray of McCray Agency, The Avenue’s Melinda Eisnaugle and Moore Casting’s Regina Moore, this session will examine the collaboration and future of the relationship between actors, agents and casting directors. Based in Knoxville, Nashville, Chattanooga and Asheville, Talent Trek has placed actors in everything from The Hunger Games: Mocking J and The Green Mile to The Walking Dead and Dawson’s Creek. McCray has booked talent on projects as diverse as commercial spots for Bridgestone and guest roles on AMC’s Preacher. Regina Moore, a staple in Nashville’s casting community for many years, recently provided principle casting for the feature film, I Can Only Imagine and is one of the area’s go-to choices for audience casting in everything from awards shows to televised concert events.
Also at 1 p.m. will be Microbudget Marketing (Theatre 4) will reveal cost-effective ways to market your movie during a time in film history when content options are at an all-time high while financial resources may be nil. Erik Lokkesmoe and Andy Peterson of Aspiration Entertainment will be leading the discussion.
Theatre 8 will house Round Three of the continuing session, The Pitch. Over the past couple of days, this continuing session as allowed festival-goers to pitch their ideas before a vast array of film insiders. First ideas had to make it past the written round, then fifty pitches were presented in round two. With round three, the top ten ideas will be pitched live before a who’s who of film notables including Hulu’s Taylor Ritzell, Robert Hamm of Kaleidoscope Media, Penelope Bartlett from Criterion Collection, legendary film reviewer and podcaster, Leonard Maltin of Maltin’s Movies (alongside daughter, Jessie Maltin) and many more.
Rounding out the 1 p.m. sessions is Filmmaking for Gamemakers. Taking place in Theatre 9, this unique discussion explores how traditional movie-making now has an entirely new potential audience in the world of increasingly sophisticated virtual reality gaming. Carnegie Mellon special faculty member, John Dessler of the iconic institution’s Entertainment Technology Center, with experience as creative director, writer, programmer, musician, performer and digital/fine artist will lead the discussion.
This year’s Creator’s Conference will continue Friday with 2:30 p.m. sessions It’s Time: A Talk About Diversity and Inclusion (Theatre 3), Conversations with a Talent Agent (Theatre 4), It’s Time to Move from Mac to PC (Theatre 5) and The Art of Documentary Filmmaking (Theatre 8).
Creator’s Conference will come to an end with 4 p.m. sessions Kickstart Fundraising For Your Project (Theatre 3) and Where Can My Short Go From Here? (Theatre 4).
Tickets to Creator’s Conference sessions are available at the festival box office or online. Click Here to purchase tickets or for more information.
What’s a festival without a couple of Award Shows? To that end, at 6:30 p.m. in Theatre 10, festival attendees will learn the winners of Nashville Film Festival’s annual Screenwriting Competition. Then at 8 p.m., also in Theatre 10, it’s time for the Feature Film Awards Ceremony.
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Be sure and check back tomorrow for details about the final day of Nashville Film Festival 2018. 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!