News Column

Film festival brings Hollywood to Knoxville [News Sentinel]

September 21, 2013


The world of film is convening in Knoxville this weekend as filmmakers, actors and producers from all over the country have come to Regal Downtown West Cinema 8.

The Knoxville Film Festival kicked off Thursday with a VIP gala and screening of the independent film hit "Short Term 12." The weekend features a multitude of both narrative and documentary films from short to feature length.

Gisela Moore, project manager for the Tennessee Film Commission, believes the festival will be a great promotion of Knoxville and Tennessee films.

"It all starts with the dream, and it's the dream and vision of someone who puts the words on paper," said Moore. "If we support these filmmakers now, then when they get really big, hopefully they will come back and want to do more films in Tennessee."

Moore said Tennessee is the perfect spot for films to be made.

"You have the rolling hills of East Tennessee, Nashville and all the country music, and Memphis with the blues," said Moore. "There is just so much diversity. One film can come here and there are different topographies, so you can act like you are in different places."

The festival is separating the films into blocks. Patrons can buy a festival pass and have their pick of which blocks they want attend. Most blocks contain one to two films and will be followed by question-and-answer sessions with the films' makers if present.

Linds Edwards, an actor who lives in Knoxville, is excited to have a chance to see the entire lineup.

"We just came out here to watch some films and party with the Knoxville film community," Edwards said.

Edwards found people behind the festival have done a great job of making a completely accessible event and one people will enjoy attending.

"Doing stuff like this gives everyone an opportunity to watch," said Edwards. "A lot of stuff you may not hear about, they may not promote it much, when you have the Knoxville Film Festival it encourages everyone to come out and see it and maybe it encourages them to come see (films) more."

Bruce Barnett, who directed, produced and wrote the film "Red River Moon," was excited to get a chance to show off his film in the festival.

"This was the first one I applied to and the first one that I got acceptance," said Barnett. "Red River Moon" premiered Friday night and is nominated in the narrative feature film category.

Barnett was impressed with the setup here and, before its screening, was interested in seeing the reception his film would get.

"I'm real excited about this being my first (festival)," said Barnett. "It is a good-sized festival, an up-and-coming festival."

Other competitions in the festival include the 7 Day Shootout, which gave filmmakers seven days to film a seven-minute movie. The film had to incorporate an East Tennessee landmark as well. Tonight at 7:30, the films will premiere and be judged by a jury of film aficionados from the area. The Battle Cries of Freedom student competition will be featured at 2: 15 p.m. Sunday and contains films made by college and high school students.

"Tennessee is just primed for bringing more films here," said Moore. "We just have everything they could possibly need."

The festival runs through Sunday night with a special awards ceremony on Sunday evening.

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