The 49th annual Nashville Film Festival is finally here. The nine-day event, now housed at Regal Hollywood 27 (719 Thompson Lane, Nashville, TN 37204), has become one of the nation’s top film festivals, attracting filmmakers from around the globe, but never forgetting it’s own Music City ties. Day 1’s festivities are a perfect example of the marriage of the festival’s global reach partnered with plenty of homegrown talent.
Things get underway at 5:30 as legendary rocker, Steven Tyler takes to the Red Carpet in support of the World Premiere screening of Out on a Limb, the much-anticipated documentary chronicling Tyler’s recent musical foray as a solo artist in country music. Tyler will be accompanied on the Red Carpet by the documentary’s director, Casey Tebo, as well as Marti Frederiksen, Rebecca Lynn Howard, Suzie McNeil, Elisha Hoffman, Andrew MacTaggart and Sarah Tomek, known collectively as The Loving Mary Band, a Nashville-based singer-songwriter sextet who’ll once again join Tyler in his upcoming summer 2018 tour.
Following Tyler and company’s Red Carpet appearance, he will join festival-goers for a 6:45 p.m. screening of the film. Out on a Limb has already proven such a popular addition to the festival that another screening will occur simultaneously in a second theatre at the festival. A limited number of tickets to Thursday night’s additional screening are still available. There will also be a Sunday May 13 showing of the film at 4 p.m.
If watching a rock god walk the Red Carpet isn’t your thing, Nashville Film Festival has you covered. Grow Up Already, a collection of eleven short films from around the world focusing on the often uncertain, often hilarious and nearly always awkward time of adolescence, will be presented in Theatre 3 at 5:30 p.m. Among the shorts in this grouping, Krista has already received praise at festivals across the country, including 2018 SXSW’s Special Jury Recognition for Acting for lead actress Shirley Chen. The collection will be presented again on Friday, May 11 at 3 p.m.
Also at 5:30 on Opening Day of the festival is Tennessee Shorts 1, a collection of eight short films, each of which has ties to Tennessee. Always a popular selection at the festival, partially because many of the filmmakers and their families are among the audience, Tennessee Shorts 1, as the block’s title implies is only part of the sampling of Tennessee film talent available at the festival, as additional groupings, Tennessee Shorts 2 and Tennessee Shorts 3 play later in the week. As for this grouping, writer/director Amanda Young’s Love, Gwen, telling the story of a heroin-addicted you woman and her co-dependant-caregiver sister, looks to be among this collections more intense entries. In addition to tonight’s screening, there’s another chance to see it on Tuesday, May 15 at 8:30.
While there’s several other films screening during Day 1, Click Here for the day’s full schedule, my other personal pick would have to be Frayed Shorts, a collection of 12 horror/thriller short subject films ranging in runtimes of 2 minutes to 16 minutes. My initial favorite among these, simply because I identify way too much with the subject matter, is writer/director Michael Trainotti’s In My Room, in which a young boy, played by Leo Palatucci, has trouble falling asleep after watching a scary movie with is dad, (played by Leo’s real life dad, Brian Palatucci).
Of course, being Opening Night of the festival, Day 1 comes to a celebratory close with tonight’s Opening Night Party. Again embracing all aspects of Nashville’s creative vibe, filmmakers, stars, festival attendees and fans will gather at nearby 3rd and Lindsley where there’ll be libations, hors d’oeuvres and live music courtesy SHEL and other special guests. Now, while no one has said the aforementioned legendary rocker might pop onstage, just keep in mind, this is Music City and the Nashville Film Festival, so you just never know.
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If you’ve enjoyed my Day 1 Nashville Film Festival preview, be sure and check back tomorrow morning for details about Day 2. In the meantime, you can always follow my personal Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as I’ll be checking in live at the festival for the next nine days!