“Under African Skies,” director Joe Berlinger’s profile of the making of Paul Simon’s groundbreaking album “Graceland,” and the political and cultural controversy that surrounded it, is just one highlight of the dozens of documentaries and narrative features to screen in competition during the eight days of the Nashville Film Festival (NaFF) presented by Nissan, April 19-26, 2012 at the Regal Green Hills Cinemas. “Under African Skies” will compete in the Music Films/Music City Competition.
Standouts in the Documentary Competition include Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Prize winner “Love Free or Die,” which examines the journey of Bishop Gene Robinson — the first openly gay individual to be consecrated as a Bishop in any of the major churches in the United States — and “Beauty is Embarassing,” the funny, irreverent and inspiring story of Wayne White, a Tennessee native best known for his work as one of the creative forces behind “Pee-Wee Playhouse.” In the Narrative Competition, notable confirmed films include the second feature from director/actress Carrie Preston, “That’s What She Said,” and director Destin Cretton’s “I Am Not a Hipster,” both of which were official selections at Sundance this year.
Confirmed films in the non-competition World Cinema and Special Presentations categories have also been announced. Among the highlights are “Bringing Up Bobby,” the directorial debut from actress Famke Janssen (“Goldeneye,” “House on Haunted Hill,” “X-Men” trilogy); “Pink Ribbons, Inc,” director Léa Poole’s critical exploration of the value of breast cancer-related marketing; “Payback,” a documentary/adaptation by “Manufactured Landscapes” director Jennifer Baichwal of Margaret Atwood’s book examining the metaphor of indebtedness; and “Putin’s Kiss,” director Lise Birk Pedersen’s portrait of the emotional struggles of a young spokesperson for the Russian youth organization, Nashi.
Films for the 2012 Festival, including shorts, special presentations and additional programming, which will be announced in the weeks ahead, were culled by artistic director Brian Owens from 2,839 entries from 101 countries. In a change from previous years, the number of films in the Narrative and Documentary competition fields will be expanded from 12 to 16, to better account for the number of quality entries this year. The New Directors and Music Films/Music City Competitions will remain with 12 films.
“The success of last year’s festival was due in large part to the strength of the programming, and considering the diversity of that year, I think it really indicates a wider and deeper appreciation for a kinds of films, and further sophistication, among the Middle Tennessee filmgoing audience,” said Brian Owens, NaFF artistic director. ‘With another record-setting number of entries, there were too many wonderful films to leave out of the competition, so we felt we really needed to expand the field to give more filmmakers an opportunity to be seen and a chance to be awarded. I feel really good about it.”
A complete list of confirmed films in the Documentary, Narrative, Music Films/Music City and New Directors Competitions, as well as World Cinema and Special Presentations categories, follows. Added competition programming, opening and closing night films, Graveyard Shift programming, shorts, panels, jurors and music showcases will be announced in the weeks ahead.
Tickets for the festival go on sale to the general public on April 12 at nashvillefilmfestival.org
LIST OF FILMS:
World Cinema and Special Presentations
6 Month Rule
(Blayne Weaver / USA / 93 min.)
Tyler Watts lives by certain rules. The most important: “The Six Month Rule” which states that there is no woman that you can’t get over in six months. Knowledge of this rule allows the single guy to avoid the trap of emotional involvement. As he is educating Alan, his recently dumped best friend, Tyler meets a girl who makes him question everything he thinks he knows.
(Ryan Smith / USA / 91 min.)
When two bus crash survivors (Steven Strait, Karolina Wydra) awake to discover that they are the only people left in their small town, they must form an unlikely alliance in a race to unravel the truth behind their isolation. As strange events begin to unfold, they start to question whether the town they know so well is really what it seems.
(Giorgos Lanthimos / Greece / 93 min.)
From the director that brought us the Oscar-nominated (and 2011 NaFF selection) “Dogtooth, “ comes “ALPS.” A nurse, a paramedic, a gymnast and her coach have formed a service for hire. They stand in for dead people by appointment, hired by the relatives, friends or colleagues of the deceased. The company is called Alps. Their leader, the paramedic, calls himself Mont Blanc. Although Alps members operate under a discipline regime demanded by their leader, the nurse does not.
(Athina Rachel Tsangari / Greece / 95 min.)
Marina, 23, is growing up with her architect father in a prototype factory town by the sea. Finding the human species strange and repellent, she keeps her distance. Instead she chooses to observe it through the Songs of Suicide, the mammal documentaries of Sir David Attenborough, and the sexual-education lessons she receives from her only friend, Bella. A stranger comes to town and challenges her to a foosball duel, on her own table. Her father meanwhile ritualistically prepares for his exit from the 20th century, which he considers to be “overrated.” Caught between the two men and her collaborator, Bella, Marina investigates the wondrous mystery of the human fauna.
Bringing Up Bobby
(Famke Janssen / USA / 95 min.)
Olive is a con-artist who will do anything for her 10-year-old son, Bobby, but giving him the best life with no money coming in isn’t easy. Reminiscent of a modern day Bonnie & Clyde, the unstoppable pair spend their lives scamming the rich and down right gullible, often finding themselves on the run from the law. In an effort to escape Olive’s criminal past, they arrive in Oklahoma with hopes of building a better life. Olive and Bobby blithely charm their way from one adventure to another, until Olive’s criminal past finally catches up with her once and for all. Now she must make the most difficult choice of her life: stay with her son and run the risk of turning him into a criminal or leave him to afford him better opportunities? In the vein of Thelma and Louise, “Bringing Up Bobby” is a fast-paced crime story with the most heart-wrenching of decisions at its heart.
(Andrei Zvyagintsev / Russia / 109 min.)
Elena and Vladimir are an older couple and come from different backgrounds. Vladimir is a wealthy and cold man, Elena comes from a modest milieu and is a docile wife. They have met late in life and each one has children from previous marriages. Elena’s son is unemployed, unable to support his own family and he is constantly asking Elena for money. Vladimir’s daughter is a careless young woman who has a distant relationship with her father. A heart attack puts Vladimir in hospital, where he realizes that his remaining time is limited. A brief but somehow tender reunion with his daughter leads him to make an important decision: she will be the only heiress of his wealth. Back home he announces it to Elena. Her hopes to financially help her son suddenly vanish. The shy and submissive housewife then comes up with a plan to give her son and grandchildren a real chance in life.
(Pen-Ek Ratanaruang / Thailand / 105 min.)
Present-day Thailand is rife with corruption. Tul, a straight-laced cop, is blackmailed by a powerful politician and framed from a crime he did not commit. Disillusioned and vengeful, he is soon recruited to become a hitman for a shadowy group aimed at eliminating those who are above the law. But one day, Tul is shot in the head during an assignment. He wakes up after a three-month coma to find that he sees everything upside down, literally. Unaware of whether the condition is medical or a result of karmic retribution, Tul begins to have second thoughts about his profession. But when he tries to quit, roles are reversed and the hunter becomes the hunted. Then he meets a girl that turns his world even more upside down. Can Tul find redemption from the violence that continues to haunt him?
The Movement: One Man Joins an Uprising
(Greg Hamilton / USA / 40 min.)
In 2004 Rick Finkelstein was paralyzed in a ski accident on Aspen Mountain. With a severed spine and internal trauma, he wasn’t expected to live. Six years, nine surgeries, and a lifetime of rehab later, cameras captured his dramatic return to Aspen. Even with the latest gear, expert coaching, and mentorship from the sport’s pioneers, Rick faced a daunting challenge with many risks and no guarantees.
No Room for Rockstars: The Vans Warped Tour
(Parris Patton / USA / 103 min.)
With more than 300 hours of film shot during the 2010 tour, “No Room For Rock Stars” documents the true stories of modern era rock and roll from every possible angle — from the kids in the van playing parking lots to gain notice, to the veteran stage manager whose life was saved by the tour, to the musician who crosses over to mainstream success while on the road. A historical retrospective or concert film this is not.
(Ry Russo-Young / USA / 82 min.)
Martine, a 23-year-old artist from New York, arrives in Los Angeles to stay in the pool house of an open-minded family living in the relaxed, hip and hilly community of Silver Lake. Peter, the father, has agreed to help her complete sound design on her art film as a favor to his wife. Like a bolt of lightning, her arrival sparks a surge of energy that awakens suppressed impulses in everyone and forces them to confront their own fears and desires.
Oslo, August 31
(Joachim Trier / Norway / 95 min.)
Thirty-four-year-old Anders (Anders Danielsen Lie) is a fortunate, but deeply troubled man battling drug addiction. As part of his rehabilitation program, he is allowed to go into the city for a job interview, but instead uses the opportunity as a way to drift around and revisit old friends. The day grows increasingly difficult as he struggles to overcome personal demons and past ghosts for the chance at love and a new life.
(Jennifer Baichwal / Canada / 86 min.)
Margaret Atwood’s visionary work “Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth” is the basis for this riveting and poetic documentary on “debt” in its various forms—societal, personal, environmental, spiritual, criminal, and of course, economic. Filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal (“Manufactured Landscapes”) strikingly interweaves these (sometimes surprising) debtor/creditor relationships: two families in a years-long Albanian blood feud; the BP oil spill vs. the Earth; mistreated Florida tomato farm workers and their bosses; imprisoned media mogul Conrad Black and the U.S. justice system. With stunning cinematography and insightful commentary from renowned thinkers Raj Patel, Louise Arbour and Atwood herself, “Payback” is a brilliant, game-changing rumination on the subject.
Pink Ribbons, Inc.
(Léa Poole / Canada / 97 mins.)
Breast cancer has become the poster child of cause-related marketing campaigns.
Countless people walk, run and shop for the cure. Each year, millions of dollars are raised
in the name of breast cancer, but where does this money go and what does it actually
achieve? Directed by Léa Pool and produced by Ravida Din, “Pink Ribbons, Inc.” is a feature documentary from the National Film Board of Canada that shows how the devastating reality of breast cancer, which marketing experts have labeled a “dream cause,” has become obfuscated by a shiny, pink story of success.
(Lise Birk Pedersen / Denmark, Russia / 85 min.)
PUTIN’S KISS portrays contemporary life in Russia through the story of Masha, a 19 year-old girl who is a member of Nashi, a political youth organization connected with the Kremlin. Extremely ambitious, the young Masha quickly rises to the top of Nashi, but begins to question her involvement when a dissident journalist whom she has befriended is savagely attacked.
Tales of the Night
(Michel Ocelot / France / 84 min.)
Every night, a girl, a boy, ad an elderly technician meet in a little cinema that seems abandoned, but is in fact full of wonders. They research, draw, invent, dress up and act out the stories that take their fancy. Anything is possible: sorcerers and fairies, powerful kings and stable boys, werewolves and merciless ladies, cathedrals and small huts, cities of gold and deep forests, the immense waves of choir harmonies and the spells of a single tom-tom, malice that ravages, and innocence that triumphs.
The D Word: Understanding Dyslexia
(James Redford / USA / 52 min.)
A dyslexic high school student pursues admission to a competitive college – a challenge for a boy that didn’t learn to read until 4th grade. Additional accounts of the dyslexic experience from children, experts, and Iconic leaders help us understand that Dyslexia is as much a gift as it is a challenge.
(Andrea Arnold / UK / 129 min.)
A poor boy of unknown origins is rescued from poverty and taken in by the Earnshaw family where he develops an intense relationship with his young foster sister, Cathy. Based on the classic novel by Emily Brontë.
Battle for Brooklyn
(Michael Galinsky, Suki Hawley / USA / 94 min.)
Battle for Brooklyn follows the story of reluctant activist Daniel Goldstein as he struggles to save his home and community from being demolished to make way for the densest real estate development in U.S. history. Along the way, he falls in love, gets married and starts a family while living in an abandoned building located at the heart of the project site. Over the course of seven years, Daniel and his community fight tenaciously in the courts, the streets, and the media to stop the abuse of eminent domain and reveal the corruption at the heart of the plan. TENNESSEE PREMIERE.
Beauty is Embarrassing
(Neil Berkeley / USA / 93 min.)
Beauty Is Embarrassing is the funny, irreverent and inspiring story of one of America’s most important artists, Wayne White. Raised in Tennessee, Mr. White has spent the last 30 years making his indelible mark on pop culture. From his humble roots as a puppeteer in Nashville to his work as one of the creators of the “Pee-wee’s Playhouse” TV show to his current life as a darling in the fine art world, White has inspired millions of people across the country. The film chronicles the vaulted highs and the crushing lows of an artist focused on making every day a chance to create. TENNESSEE PREMIERE.
(Katie Dellamaggiore / USA / 100 min.)
A squat concrete building on an inner-city block, Intermediate School 318 in Brooklyn, New York may not impress from the outside, but inside Ms. Vicary’s classroom, something special is happening. Here, hundreds of students have learned to play chess, one of the world’s oldest and most complex games. I.S. 318 boasts the best junior high chess program in the nation despite a high level of student poverty and unprecedented school budget cuts. Brooklyn Castle follows five young teens over the course of a school year as they struggle, grow and challenge themselves both on and off the chess board. TENNESSEE PREMIERE.
A Fierce Green Fire
(Mark Kitchell / USA / 115 min.)
“A Fierce Green Fire” is the first film to take on environmentalism as a whole, to bring together all the parts and eras, from conservation to climate change. It explores how the issues built into an international cause — the largest movement the world has ever seen and perhaps the most crucial in terms of what’s at stake – but with every battle against the odds. “A Fierce Green Fire” focuses on successes: halting dams in the Grand Canyon; rescuing the people of Love Canal; saving whales and the greatest rainforest on earth. It also looks at how the struggles continue and the issues grow in scope until it’s an open question whether they’re too big for the environmental movement to deal with. TENNESSEE PREMIERE.
(Ashley Sabin, David Redmon / USA / 77 min.)
Despite a lack of obvious similarities between Siberia and Tokyo, a thriving model industry connects these distant regions. “Girl Model” follows two protagonists involved in this industry: Ashley, a deeply ambivalent model scout who scours the Siberian countryside looking for fresh faces to send to the Japanese market, and one of her discoveries, Nadya, a thirteen year-old plucked from the Siberian countryside and dropped into the center of Tokyo with promises of a profitable career. After Ashley’s initial discovery of Nadya, the two rarely meet again, but their stories are inextricably bound. TENNESSEE PREMIERE.
Hollywood to Dollywood!
(John Lavin / USA / 81 min.)
On the fumes of a dream, twin brothers Gary and Larry Lane have written a script with a plum role for their idol, Dolly Parton. Having had no luck getting the screenplay into her hands, they embark on a cross-country journey to personally deliver it to her in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Driving an RV named Jolene they meet everyday Americans and encounter everything from the Nashville flood to an Oklahoma Tornado. Featuring appearances by Leslie Jordan, Chad Allen, Beth Grant, Dustin Lance Black, Ann Walker, and maybe even Dolly herself! “Hollywood to Dollywood” is a documentary of chasing dreams down the road of life. TENNESSEE PREMIERE.
Last Call at the Oasis
(Jessica Yu / USA / 105 min.)
Developed, financed and executive produced by Participant Media, the company responsible for “An Inconvenient Truth,” “Food, Inc.” and “Waiting for Superman,” “Last Call at the Oasis” presents a powerful argument for why the global water crisis will be the central issue facing our world this century. Illuminating the vital role water plays in our lives, exposing the defects in the current system and depicting communities already struggling with its ill-effects, the film features activist Erin Brockovich and such distinguished experts as Peter Gleick, Alex Prud’homme, Jay Famiglietti and Robert Glennon. TENNESSEE PREMIERE.
Love Free or Die
(Macky Alston / USA / 82 min.)
Winner of a Special Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Love Free or Die follows Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly gay individual to be consecrated as a Bishop in any of the major churches in the United States. Director Macky Alston follows Robinson from his 2008 civil union with his longtime partner, to the Lambeth conference, to the 2009 Episcopal General Convention, and finally to the consecrations of the second openly gay bishop May 2011. Faced with admiration, anger, and the occasional death threat, Robinson’s journey examines the sometimes uncomfortable intersections between personal life, spiritual life, and public life. TENNESSEE PREMIERE.
(Susan Morgan Cooper / USA / 85 min.)
During the Chinese Cultural Revolution, millions had their lives destroyed and their reputations ruined. “Mulberry Child” is the story of the persecution and survival of Jian Ping’s family during this difficult period. After growing up in Socialist China, Jian must learn to assimilate to a Capitalist world when she migrates to the United States. In pursuit of the American dream, Jian develops an emotional disconnect between her and her privileged American-born daughter, Lisa. Will a trip to the 2008 Beijing Olympics and a journey into the past forge a healthier relationship between mother and daughter? The film teaches us the human capacity for courage and endurance, and shows how the events of the past will affect our future. TENNESSEE PREMIERE.
This Ain’t California
(Marten Persiel / Germany / 90 min.)
A hymn to the subversion of power, this high-speed documentary takes us on a trip through the strange and unknown world of skateboarding in East Germany. Focusing on three kids who discover their love of skateboarding on the cracked concrete of the Communist landscape – a madcap, unacceptable sport in a nation of loyalty and order — this punk fairytale shows life on the other side of the Iron Curtain as it has never been shown before. The young skate punks are followed from their childhood in the seventies, through their turbulent teens in the eighties right up to the fall of 1989 when they turned twenty and everything they had known up to that point was about to change forever. TENNESSEE PREMIERE.
I Am Not a Hipster
(Destin Cretton / USA / 90 min.)
Things are not looking good for Brook, a young, talented singer/songwriter who has become the clichéd tortured artist. Slow to come to terms with the death of his mother, Brook is self-absorbed, aggressive, and the major obstruction to his own career success. His isolation is lifted when his three sisters and estranged father come to spread his mother’s ashes. Brook’s loving sisters have a magical effect on his anger and apathy, suggesting there may be hope for the misanthropic musician after all. Set in a wannabe-cool, art-and-indie rock scene, “I Am Not A Hipster” is true to its title. Not tragically hip but, rather, emotionally rich, this portrait of a man in pain celebrates the healing power of family love. It aims straight for the heart and hits it. (Synopses from Sundance Institute.) TENNESSEE PREMIERE.
(Naoki Hashimoto / Japan / 108 min.)
One night, after another lonely dinner and another failure in his life, Terry has a moment of realization: a way to reconnect with his estranged daughter, Hannah. When he surprises her with an offering, she takes the high road, but her need for closure eventually reveals the motivation behind Terry’s gift. TENNESSEE PREMIERE.
(Matthew Gordon / USA / 72 min.)
All fourteen-year-old Robbie Hendrick ever wanted was a family. Yet as another Mississippi summer begins, his wayward mother has run off again fearing a breakdown and he’s left to burn the days caring for his half brother, Fess. As Robbie and Fess burn the days together, Robbie’s dream becomes closer than ever before. His older brother Lucas returns to the home and postcards begin to arrive from their Mother promising that she’s better and that she’ll return home soon. But Robbie knows the futility of keeping faith in promises. As the deep days and nights begin to pass without his mother’s return and with the ever-present threat of social services closing in on the brothers, Robbie must face the fact that he may just lose the only family he’s ever had. Filmed on location in the Mississippi Delta town of Glen Allan, MS with all non-actors from the region, The Dynamiter is a story of family in the forgotten America, uncompromisingly told by the very people who live it everyday. TENNESSEE PREMIERE.
Leave It on the Floor
(Sheldon Larry / Canada / 107 min.)
“Leave It On the Floor” tells the story of Brad, who when thrown out of his dysfunctional home by his mother, steals her car and travels into Los Angeles. It is there that he stumbles into a noisy raucous, chaotic event and meets the ragtag members of the struggling House of Eminence. Initially only looking for a place to sleep (and perhaps someone to sleep with), he ends up engaging with the colorful members of the house led by the indomitable house mother, herself an aging ball-legend and the fierce protectorate of her family. Laughter, tears, sex sirens, and butch queens all combine to create a place a loving caring place that Brad can call home. TENNESSEE PREMIERE.
(Tom Gustafson / USA / 102 min.)
A stifled, small-town man stuck in a dead end life runs away to Mexico to be a mariachi singer. MARIACHI GRINGO is a musical tour-de-force exploring the reality of “following your dreams” across cultural, personal, social and geographical borders. TENNESSEE PREMIERE.
Queens of Country
(Ryan Page, Christopher Pomerenke / USA / 90 min.)
Living in a fantasy era long gone and obsessed with old time country stars, the prettiest girl in a small Arizona town finds a lost iPod filled with songs that speak to her sensitive heart. Jolene Gillis is convinced the owner is her soul mate and she is thrust into a sexy, heartwarming and hilarious adventure of mistaken identities, ATVs, line dancing competitions, kidnappers, time machines and doppelgangers. SOUTHEAST PREMIERE.
(Daniel Schechter / USA / 89 min.)
Nick (Alex Karpovsky) and Darryl (Tarik Lowe) are best friends and co-editors of a struggling independent film, by director Adrian Foote (Kevin Corrigan). After a poorly received test screening, the team has three weeks to re-assemble the film into something presentable. This process isn’t made any easier by the unhappy, unhelpful staff of their post house, played by Lena Dunham and Josh Alexander. Synopsis from 60°N International Film Festival. TENNESSEE PREMIERE.
That’s What She Said
(Carrie Preston / USA / 84 min.)
Bebe (Marcia DeBonis) is getting ready for the most romantic date of her life, and she needs her BFF (Anne Heche) there to cheer her on. Too bad about the whole bitter and jaded thing. And the clingy stranger with the bad habit (Alia Shawkat). And the rain. And the barf. And, oh yeah, the thing with the dildo. Friendship. It’s amazing how hard it can get. TENNESSEE PREMIERE.
New Directors Competition
Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best
(Ryan O’Nan / USA / 97 min.)
In “Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best,” a brokenhearted underachiever (Ryan O’Nan) takes off on a road trip with an eccentric friend (Michael Weston) on which they play children’s instruments during a series of strange shows. TENNESSEE PREMIERE.
(Ela Their / USA / 100 min.)
Set in the early 80’s, 12-year-old Ellie arrives in the US from Israel, coping with homesickness and humiliations in school where she can’t manage to fit in. Ellie survives by cleaving to the letters she exchanges with her best friend back home. Life brightens when she meets Thuy, a Vietnamese refugee her age. Slow but persistent, she wins Thuy’s trust. The two girls, having both arrived from war-torn countries, find solace and adventure with each other. They become inseparable. Ellie, however, takes it personally when Thuy consistently prioritizes her studies. The two hurt each other, the trust is broken, and their friendship comes to its end. Ellie must give up her efforts to blend in and embrace who she is, in order to win her friend back. TENNESSEE PREMIERE.
Maria My Love
(Jasmine McGlade Chazelle / USA / 100 min)
Ana (Judy Marte) is a young woman trying to reimagine her life after her mother’s death during the course of one California spring. Filled with resentment over her father’s mistakes, Ana feels disconnected from herself and everyone around her. Swept up by new romance (Brian Rieger) and a warm reunion with her half-sister (Lauren Fales), Ana is so taken by the newfound support and love in her life that she sets out to find someone—anyone other than herself—to help. She finds a volunteer project in Maria (Karen Black), a reclusive hoarder who has alienated her own family with her compulsive behavior. As the two become unlikely friends and confidantes, Ana finds herself in an emotionally complex relationship that reveals some uncomfortable truths about herself. TENNESSEE PREMIERE.
(Coley Sohn / USA / 87 min.)
Recent home school graduate Bethany Pruitt struggles to break free from her suffocating mom without any help from her deadbeat gay dad to pursue her dreams of attending FATI – Fashion Art Technology Institute. From the confines of her mom’s sheltered bubble to the anything goes exposure at her dad’s trailer, Bethany’s eyes are opened wide as she aspires to find her own way. SOUTHEASTERN PREMIERE.
(Brandon Dickerson / USA / 105 min.)
Inspired by the music of singer-songwriter Wes Cunningham, SIRONIA is the story of a talented musician who has been chewed up and spit out by the Hollywood music machine. Frustrated by his broken career, Thomas Fisher and his wife Molly impulsively pack up and move to small town Sironia, Texas to live a more authentic life and raise their first child near Molly’s brother and his family. Despite the change of scenery, Thomas’s deep resentment over his lost dreams gets the best of him as he struggles to find peace with his stalled career, until he remembers what he loved about music – and Molly – in the first place. TENNESSEE PREMIERE.
A Trip (Izlet)
(Nejc Gazvoda / Slovenia / 85 min.)
Ziva, Andrej and Gregor are best friends since high school — Gregor a soldier who is about to embark on a mission to Afghanistan, Ziva going to study abroad and Andrej gay and hating everything, himself included. They decide to go to a road trip to the seaside like they did when they were in high school, inevitably leading to tension, conflict and a test of their friendship. TENNESSEE PREMIERE.
Welcome to Pine Hill
(Keith Miller / USA / 81 min.)
A recently reformed drug dealer working as a claims adjuster by day and bouncer by night, Shannon Harper receives earth-shattering news that compels him to make peace with his past and search for freedom beyond the concrete jungle of New York. With a cinema verite style rooted in very real life, “Welcome to Pine Hill” features an extraordinarily intimate performance by Harper playing himself, supported by an eclectic mix of real people and improvised performers. Traveling from the backyards of Brooklyn crack houses to the lush Catskill Mountains, the film is a meditative journey about how we choose to live our lives. TENNESSEE PREMIERE.
Music Films / Music City Competition
An Affair of the Heart: The Journey of Rick Springfield and his Devoted Fans (Sylvia Caminer / USA / 93 min.)
“An Affair of the Heart: The Journey of Rick Springfield and his Devoted Fans” not only brings us face-to-face with Grammy® award-winning musician, songwriter, actor, and New York Times best-selling author, Springfield, but also places a spotlight on his most fervent fans, casting a non-judgmental, unflinching eye on what makes his fans as passionate about him today as they were when Jessie’s Girl was #1 (1981). In addition to exploring what it is about Springfield drives people to such religious devotion and what the artists himself Rick thinks is the connection with his fans, the documentary includes highlights from concerts (US & Europe), the annual Rick Springfield and Friends Cruise, and his 2010 book release/press tour. It’s a real peek into the life of Rick the “artist” and the “human being”. TENNESSEE PREMIERE.
Andrew Bird: Fever Year
(Xan Aranda / USA / 81 min.)
Filmed during culminating months of the acclaimed singer-songwriter’s most rigorous year of touring, Andrew Bird crosses the December finish line in his hometown of Chicago – feverish and on crutches from an onstage injury. Is he suffering hazards from chasing the ghost of inspiration? Or merely transforming into a different kind of animal ‘perfectly adapted to the music hall?’ FEVER YEAR is the first to capture Bird’s precarious multi-instrumental looping technique and features live performances at Milwaukee’s Pabst Theater with collaborators Martin Dosh, Jeremy Ylvisaker, Michael Lewis, and Annie Clark of St. Vincent. TENNESSEE PREMIERE.
Butch Walker: Out of Focus
(Shane Valdés, Peter Harding / USA / 90 min.)
You may have heard of him, and you’ve definitely heard his work, but now find out about the real Butch Walker and his band the Black Widows as we take you on a personal journey inside one of the greatest minds in contemporary music. TENNESSEE PREMIERE.
Charlie Louvin: Still Rattlin’ the Devil’s Cage
(Blake Judd, Kieth Neltner / USA / 46 min.)
One year prior to to his death at 84-years-old the legendary country artist Charlie Louvin played an intimate gig at Nashville, Tennessee’s tiny FooBar in front of a packed crowed of kids, elders, hippies and rockers. Louvin was weak off the stage, battling cancer, but on the stage he was powerful and left the crowd chanting his name. It would be his last paid gig, and in an extensive interview the following morning, he shared many of the stories from his 60 year career. With appearances by Sonny Louvin, George Jones, Marty Stuart, John McCrea, Allison Krauss and Emmylou Harris. TENNESSEE PREMIERE.
Don’t Follow Me (I’m Lost)
(William Miller / USA / 90 min.)
Fighting his way out from the shadow of his famous father with a rock all his own, Bobby Bare Jr. attempts to redefine what it means to be a touring artist today – playing everywhere from small clubs to people’s living rooms, all while dealing with the repercussions of the road – the constant separation and the disconnect from loved ones back home. With very few interviews, the audience is a ‘fly on the wall’ along for the ride as Bobby Bare Jr. weaves his way through complicated rock ‘n’ roll situations. After months on the road, is it ever possible to really reconnect? WORLD PREMIERE.
Hank Cochran: Livin’ for a Song
(Wes Pryor / USA / 95 min.)
A feature length documentary on the life and music of legendary Nashville songwriter Hank Cochran. A remarkable story that starts in the cotton fields of Mississippi then moves on to California where he partnered with Rock legend Eddie Cochran for much of the 50s then on to Nashville in 1960 where he wrote classics such as ‘Make the World Go Away’, ‘I Fall to Pieces’, ‘She’s Got You’ and many more. The film includes intimate performances by Elvis Costello, Brad Paisley, Lee Ann Womack, Ronnie Milsap and others as well as appearances by Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, and Jeannie Seely to name just a few. After watching this film you will understand why they called Hank “The Legend.” WORLD PREMIERE.
Hip Hop Maestro
(Christine Lee / USA / 90 min.)
Hip Hop Maestro follows young Los Angeles composer Geoff “Double G”Gallegos and his 70 piece orchestra (called “Dakah”) in its pursuit of the Holy Grail of gigs; Walt Disney Concert Hall. Blending hip hop, jazz and funk stylings in an orchestral setting, Dakah manages to gain talented musicians, earn accolades and increase its audience–despite all odds and zero budget. Can one man’s talented leadership, single-minded determination and dumb luck can propel a band from a local hole-in-the-wall nightclub to the biggest stage in Los Angeles? TENNESSEE PREMIERE.
(Jared Morgan / USA / 64 min.)
In contrast to many documentaries about today’s military, “Major Rockstar” is about entertainment. Follow the cast of the United States Army Soldier Show on an incredible musical journey as they transform from everyday Soldiers to rock stars. WORLD PREMIERE.
Paul Williams Still Alive
(Stephen Kessler / USA / 87 min.)
There was a point in the seventies when Paul Williams was everywhere, his songs he dominating the charts and became staples, including Three Dog Night’s “An Old Fashioned Love Song”; The Carpenters’ “We’ve Only Just Begun”; and “Rainbow Connection,” performed by Kermit the Frog in The Muppet Movie. The diminutive star also appeared on the big and small screens, most notably as the villainous Swan in Brian De Palma’s Phantom of the Paradise (which he also co-scored), a genius orangutan in Battle for the Planet of the Apes and a regular guest on Johnny Carson’s couch. He also acted in episodes of The Love Boat, The Odd Couple and The Gong Show. And then: he quickly faded from the spotlight. With songs about loneliness and his outsider persona, Williams struck a chord with many, including director Stephen Kessler. When he began to investigate his childhood idol, Kessler was surprised to learn that Williams is still very much alive, and set out to make a documentary. Williams allows Kessler to accompany him on his travels, but the director soon discovers that his subject isn’t the same man from television that he once idolized. Synopsis via Toronto International Film Festival. TENNESSEE PREMIERE.
Under African Skies
(Joe Berlinger / USA / 102 min.)
Paul Simon returns to South Africa to explore the incredible journey of his historic Graceland album, including the political backlash he received for allegedly breaking the UN cultural boycott of South Africa designed to end the Apartheid regime. TENNESSEE PREMIERE.
Nashville Film Festival is a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation and receives funding from the NEA, the Tennessee Arts Commission, the Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission, Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, The Brooks Fund, The Frist Foundation and The Memorial Foundation.
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