Nashville Film Festival returns at new venue

The 2017 Nashville Film Festival (NashFilm) will be April 20-29th in its new home at the Regal Hollywood 27, 719 Thompson Lane, Nashville, at 100 Oaks. The 2017 Nashville Film Festival will screen over 300 films, with eight world premieres, and more Tennessee-made films than ever before. The NashFilm is expanding its educational components with the Creator’s Conference, which includes tracks for Filmmakers, Screenwriters, and Musicians.

As one anonymous staffer proclaims, “Yep, the festival is all in one place, and in our new venue, we have 4 more theaters to enjoy films in!”

If you join the Nashville Film Festival as a member, you will participate in making life changing opportunities for filmmakers, screenwriters, musicians. A Silver, Gold, or Platinum Membership will give you access to NashFilm’s exclusive VIP Tent, year-round invite-only screenings, and much more.

NashFilm presents the best in World Cinema, American Indies, documentaries, and numerous short form programs by veteran masters, up-and-coming directors, and first-time filmmakers. NashFilm films have won the highest honors in the film world. Films screened in the past include 13 Assassins, (500) Days of Summer, Cyrus, Terri, Buck, Nowhere Boy, Project Nim and Academy Award nominees, I Am Love, Ajami, and Dogtooth.

The Festival begins, and the Opening Night Party is from 8 PM – 11 PM, on Thursday, April 20th. The Creator’s Conference Welcome Reception is on April 26th, and on April 27th, Creator’s Conference runs all day. Friday, April 28th, the Creator’s Conference runs all day again, with the festival’s Closing Night Party from 8 pm – 11 pm. Finally, on Saturday, April 29th, the Best of Fest Films give you the opportunity to watch the Audience Award Winners all day from 10 am – 10 pm.

Individual tickets will be available for purchase, while passes offer the best festival experience with access to the VIP Tent, parties, and much more. Passes can be picked up from the NashFilm Box office, located on site at the Regal Hollywood 27 the following times: April 19th: Onsite Box Office opens at Regal Cinema at noon; April 20-29th: Onsite Box Office opens 30 min before the start of the first film each day, closes at 10:15 pm.

Be there for Red Carpets, which are open to the public, are exciting events featuring interviews and photo shoots of filmmakers, celebrities, and more. Start times will vary from night to night, generally beginning around 5 pm.

NashFilm will feature food trucks on site each day, offering a wide variety from Nashville’s bustling culinary scene. Additionally, there are numerous great places to eat nearby.

With Academy Award qualifying status and numerous well-attended shorts programs, NashFilm has screened many prize-winning narrative and animated shorts.

NashFilm is also the place where many up-and-coming filmmakers get their first big break. Craig Brewer – Footloose, Hustle & Flow, and Black Snake Moon won his first award at NashFilm. Most recently, Clay Jeter received the Ground Zero Tennessee Spirit Award for Best Short Film and used the finishing funds to complete Jess + Moss, which then premiered at Sundance and was accepted for competition in Berlin before returning to the NashFilm 2011.

Nashville is Music City. So, NashFilm emphasizes the music in films. Some of the most memorable songs in films have been written and performed by Nashville’s songwriters and artists. In addition to the many films about music and the Music Films in Music City awards, NashFilm presents showcases, workshops, and other events where these songwriters and artists come together with film professionals from Hollywood and around the world to promote collaboration.

With a strong commitment to independent and innovative filmmaking, NashFilm offers some truly unique awards. Filmmakers compete for cash and prizes valued at more than $37,000, plus television broadcasting contracts. Winners of the Short Documentary, Short Narrative and Short Animation competitions automatically qualify for Academy Award consideration. (Only 17 film festivals worldwide share this designation).

Other special awards include prizes for the best LGBT film, best film by a black filmmaker, best Hispanic film, awards for Tennessee directors and more. Further, NashFilm offers a series of Career Achievement Awards to talent both on-screen and behind the scenes.

One of the most exciting awards presented at NashFilm is The Mike Curb Career Achievement Award. Since 2010, it has been presented to A. R. Rahman, Clint Mansell, Gustavo Santaolalla, Paul Williams and Carter Burwell. Recipients of recent Career Achievement Awards include Patricia Neal, Hal Holbrook, Kris Kristofferson, Academy Award-winning composer Gustavo Santoallala, and Academy Award-nominated documentarian Steve James.

Founded in 1969 by Mary Jane Coleman, NashFilm was originally known as the Sinking Creek Film Celebration. Nearly 20 years later it was renamed as the Nashville Independent Film Festival and, later, the Nashville Film Festival in 2003. It was voted one of “25 film festivals worth the entry fee” by MovieMaker Magazine and highlighted as One of the Best Film Festival Prizes by Film Festival Today. Brooks Institute named it one of the top 5 film festivals in the U.S.

Filmmakers from across the country and around the world attend the festival every year. Celebrity honorees and participants have included Oprah Winfrey, Susan Sarandon, William Shatner, William H. Macy, Al Gore, Nicole Kidman, Danny Glover, Vincent D’Onofrio, Joey Lauren Adams, Rob Thomas, Craig Brewer, Harmony Korine, Ashley Judd, Kiefer Sutherland, Joshua Jackson, Brad Paisley, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Peter Falk, Paul Reiser, Patrick Swayze, Rick Schroder, Christine Vachon, John Waters, Matthew McConaughey, Robert Redford, James Cromwell, Harry Belafonte, Barbara Kopple, Michael Moore, D.A. Pennebaker and Marc Webb.

For more details, to view the list and descriptions of films, and to purchase tickets and/or passes, go online to:

PRIDE Film Spotlight: See Unrest by and about Jennifer Brea

Jennifer Brea in Unrest

Jennifer Brea in Unrest.

Unrest premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and received the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award For Editing. In 2014 The Root recognized her as one of the hundred most influential African-Americans in its Root100.

Brea was a Ph.D student at Harvard University when she became suddenly ill with a high fever and became bedridden. She was initially diagnosed with conversion disorder and eventually, myalgic encephalomyelitis, or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. In 2013 she began making a documentary film from bed about her experience. In 2015 she co-founded #MEAction, a global network of patients living with ME.

MEAction went on to spearhead the #MillionsMissing movement, a patient-centered protest in which hundreds of empty shoes were displayed in order to represent the 25% of patients with ME who are housebound or bedbound.

In June 2016, Brea gave a TED Talk on her experience as a person with ME. The TED Talk was published on the TED website in January 2017. It can be viewed HERE.

As a special note of interest, the music in the film was scored and composed by the phenomenal Bear McCreary (The Walking Dead, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Battlestar Galactica, etc.).

Here is the official NashFilm synopsis: Jennifer Brea is an active Harvard Ph.D. student about to marry the love of her life when suddenly her body starts failing her. Hoping to shed light on her strange symptoms, Jennifer grabs a camera and films the darkest moments unfolding before her eyes as she is derailed by M.E. (commonly known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), a mysterious illness some still believe is “all in your head.”

In this story of love and loss, newlyweds Jennifer and Omar search for answers as they face unexpected obstacles with great heart. Often confined by her illness to the private space of her bed, Jen is moved to connect with others around the globe. Utilizing Skype, she unlocks a forgotten community with intimate portraits of four other families suffering similarly.

Meet two of the many Creator’s Conference Speakers

Wendy Calhoun

Wendy Calhoun

Wendy Calhoun
Writer, Series Creator, and Executive Producer

Wendy Calhoun is a writer, series creator, and executive producer with content currently in development at multiple digital and cable studios. Her credits include Co-Executive Producing and writing the historic first season of Fox’s hit series EMPIRE. In addition, she’s written and produced for ABC’S NASHVILLE, FX’s JUSTIFIED, ABC’s REVENGE, and NBC’s LIFE. Last summer, Calhoun wrote and directed the virtual reality short, LEFT BEHIND, sponsored by Google and honored as “Best in VR” at Digital Hollywood 2016. In addition, she served as the Narrative Consultant for Electronic Arts’ BATTLEFIELD HARDLINE video game. She received a 2010 Peabody Award and WGA Best New Series Nomination for JUSTIFIED. She received her second WGA Best New Series Nomination in 2012 for NASHVILLE. Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Calhoun studied film and television at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Babacar Diene

Babacar Diene

Babacar Diene
Vice President, Acquisitions and Development
Voltage Pictures

Babacar Diene is currently Vice President, Acquisitions & Development, at international finance, production and distribution company Voltage Pictures (The Hurt Locker, Dallas Buyers Club).

Since joining Voltage in 2012, Diene has been closely involved in several exciting projects, including the feature films Fathers & Daughters starring Russell Crowe, Amanda Seyfried and Aaron Paul; Pay The Ghost starring Nicolas Cage; I.T starring Pierce Brosnan and Good Kids among others. Previously, Diene was Vice President, Acquisitions & Apsara Distribution at IM Global, as well as holding positions at Icon Entertainment International and GreenseStreet Films International.

Before moving to Los Angeles, Diene graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in International Relations.