It’s time to roll out the red carpet as the Nashville Film Festival (NaFF) celebrates 44 years and prepares to take over Green Hills Regal Cinema 16 April 18-25.
This year’s festival includes the highly anticipated Opening Night film Mud starring Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon. Mud , directed by Jeff Nichols, tells the story of two boys who discover a fugitive (McConaughey) hiding out on an island seeking to be reunited with his lover (Witherspoon). Mud earned rave reviews at both Cannes and Sundance and is sure to be a hit with festivalgoers when it screens April 18.
“I’m more excited about this year than ever,” said Artistic Director, Brian Owens. “We have a fantastic offering of films. In addition to our extensive shorts program, we’ll present eight special presentation films and 56 films in competition. Our total cash awards will exceed $40,000. And, there is something for everyone in this year’s lineup.”
And Owens is right. The NaFF released its lineup last month and there are several films that that the Middle Tennessee GLBT community should flock to see. O&AN provides some of the highlights:
Pit Stop- Pit Stop tells the parallel stories of two gay men in a small Texas town. There’s Gabe: a construction foreman who’s getting over an ill-fated affair with a married man and finds solace in the relationship he still harbors with his ex-wife Shannon and their five-year-old daughter Cindy; and there’s Ernesto: a Latino factory worker in the midst of splitting up with his live-in boyfriend Luis as he receives news from the hospital that his former partner Martin is in a coma. At the end, when Gabe and Ernesto meet each other for a one-night stand–having endured all the struggles and heartbreaks and wondering if they’ll ever find love again–they face the possibility that they might just be meant for each other. Pit Stop will be shown 4/19 at 8:00 p.m. and 4/22 at 11:00 a.m..
I am Divine- I am Divine is a definitive biographical portrait of Harris Glenn Milstead, a.k.a. Divine, and honors him in just the way he always craved—as a serious artist and immortal star. The documentary tells Divine's entire story, from his early days as a misfit youth in Baltimore through his rise to infamy as a cult superstar. Like the characters he portrayed in numerous films, Divine was the ultimate outsider. He transformed himself from a bullied schoolyard fat kid to a larger-than-life personality and underdog royalty as his alter-ego Divine. Divine stood up for millions of gay men and women, female impersonators, punk rockers, the ample figured, and countless other socially ostracized people. With a completely committed in-your-face style, he blurred the line between performer and personality and revolutionized pop culture. I am Divine can be seen 4/20 at 9:30 p.m. and 4/21 at 8:30 p.m..
Laurence Anyways- Written and directed by Xavier Dolan, Laurence Anyways tell the story of an impossible love between Fred, a woman, and Laurence, a man who reveals his inner desire to become his true self: a woman. Set during the late 1980s and early 1990s, the story spans a decade, chronicling the doomed love of Fred and Laurence, as well as the trials and tribulations that they face. In addition to Laurence Anyways the NaFF is also screening the 2009 Dolan film I Killed My Mother, which tells semi-autobiographical tale of a young gay man coming of age while struggling with his tortured relationship with his mother. Laurence Anyways plays 4/19 at 3:00 p.m. and 4/21 and 5:15 p.m..
Two: The Story of Roman and Nyro- Known for his prolific rock and pop songwriting, Two follows Nashvillian Desmond Child and his partner’s loving journey to create a new modern family. The film combines over 12 years of homes movies and is narrated by their twin 9-year-old sons. Two opens 4/18 at 7:30 p.m..
We Always Lie to Strangers- The story of family, community, music and tradition set against the backdrop of Branson, Missouri, a remote Ozark Mountain town that is one of the biggest tourist destinations in the United States. Here, millions from around the country, and particularly from the American Midwest, flock for a return to "old fashioned, traditional values" and the family-style entertainment of Branson's 100+ staged music shows, many of which feature families performing together. As Branson faces economic uncertainty and changes in attitudes on social issues, the interwoven sagas of these performing families form a composite both of Branson and of contemporary America. Strangers plays 4/19 at 8:30 p.m. and 4/20 at 10:30 a.m..
Out in the Dark- A drama centered on the love affair between two men on opposite sides of the Mid-East conflict: Palestinian student Nimer and Roy, an Israeli lawyer. Palestinian graduate student Nimr (newcomer Nicholas Jacob) meets Israeli lawyer Roy (Michael Aloni) at a Tel Aviv nightclub. Their mutual attraction is instant, and they quickly fall in love. Torn between a homeland that would renounce him for his sexual identity, and an Israel that repudiates him for his nationality, Nimr finds a safe haven in Roy, and hopes one day to continue his studies in America. But when his Israeli student visa is suddenly revoked, he and Roy must work feverishly to keep Nimr from being deported. Out in the Dark plays 4/20 at 5:45 p.m. and 4/24 at 4:30 p.m..
Tickets for the Nashville Film Festival go on sale to the general public April 9. Stay up-to-date with the NaFF film schedules and more at nashvillefilmfestival.org or you can find them on Twitter @NaFF and Facebook