You know that feeling you had as a kid the day before Christmas? Well that’s how I feel. You see, tomorrow is the kick off of the 43rd annual Nashville Film Festival. Nashville is home to the 3rd oldest film festival in the country and it draws over 25,000 film fest fans each year. And I am one of them. I’ve volunteered at the festival for 5 years- 3 years as a screener- and each year I am in awe of the amazing lineup. And this year is no different. Amazing documentaries, great shorts, entertaining narratives. This festival is going to be a blast!
So this year, like every year, I am making my wish list of films to see. And like a child making her list for Santa, I have more films on my list than I can possible see. Why can’t I be in two places- or rather theaters- at the same time? Until I can manipulate the laws of time and physics (I’m working on it) I must choose. The comedy or the drama. The documentary or the foreign film. Choices, choices.
Okay, so here is my wish list of films to see this year.
Every year the festival has a documentary that has a long lasting effect, what I often call a “cinematic hangover”. You know, that film that sticks with you long after the credits roll. Previous hangovers include Pressure Cooker and Two Towns of Jasper. I think Brooklyn Castle will be added to that list. This doc is about a public school that has the best junior high school chess program in the country despite its high poverty rate. Chess mate!
Living in Music City it’s hard not to know someone who has had dreams of being a successful musician or songwriter. This film, based on the music of Wes Cunningham, stars Cunningham as a musician who had his time in the spotlight and now has resentment over his lost dreams. He and his wife move to Sironia, Texas in hopes of a simpler life. But in true movie fashion, I’m sure he’ll find himself in the process.
Hollywood to Dollywood
Have you ever watched a trailer that made you smile throughout the whole darn thing? That is the effect this charming doc had on me. This documentary follows two gay twin brothers has they travel from LA to Pigeon Forge with the plan to deliver a screenplay to Dolly Parton herself. If the trailer is any indicator, my cheeks will hurt from grinning by the time this film is through. Besides- their RV is named Jolene. Enough said…
A perfect companion to the film Sironia, this film stars Robert Carlyle as a former Brit pop star who works on a farm and faces deportation after getting caught driving drunk. In an effort to stay in the US, he contacts his estranged ex-wife and daughter, forcing him to face his demons. Okay, shut up, you had me at Robert Carlyle.
The hitman genre has been done so any times, but it’s nice when a director can turn the concept on its head… literally. In this film a hitman is shot in the head. When he wakes from his coma, he literally sees things upside down. Of course he seeks redemption- it is a hitman film after all. But the trailer for this one makes it look like some bad-ass neo-noir film. Sign. Me. Up.
The Perfect Family
Kathleen Turner stars as a woman who is nominated for Catholic Woman of the Year. She sets out to prove that her less than perfect family is, in fact, the perfect family. You can guess how that turns out. Bless her heart. Check out the trailer here.
Fashionistas- take note. This documentary shows an ugly side of the fashion world. Focusing on the process of model scouting between Russia, Japan, and the US, this doc focuses on a 13-year old Russian girl who is sent to Tokyo to begin a modeling career. This film shows a raw viewpoint of the modeling industry. No one said the truth had to be pretty.
There are tons more I plan to see. For opening day I will likely view two collections of short films: Shorts for the Whole Family and TN Film Night Narrative Shorts. I plan to give updates each day with my own film reviews, what people are saying at the festival, and hopefully some pictures.
See you at the box office!