NASHVILLE FILM FESTIVAL PRESENTED BY NISSAN ANNOUNCES
Feature Films Showcasing Diverse Programming
African American, Asian, Teens with Autism, European, Islamic, Italian, Jewish, LGBT Islamic, Seniors, Veterans
Nashville, TN - The Nashville Film Festival (NaFF), presented by Nissan, is thrilled to highlight the diversity in the programming of this year’s festival, April 16 – 25th at Regal Green Hills Cinema.
Though the Nashville Film Festival is set in Music City and known for the music films it screens each year, the festival is also known for featuring creative storytelling that highlights diversity and multicultural interests for Middle Tennessee.
“These films reflect many views from around the world,” said Brian Owens, NaFF artistic director. “Some of the films will challenge the way you see things; others will transform your view completely. A movie may not directly change the world, but it can change the way you see it.”
The full schedule of feature films, as well as the festival’s short films, panels and events, is available on the Nashville Film Festival website.
African American Interests
The Black Panthers: Vanguard of The Revolution | Director: Stanley Nelson. USA. | An essential history, The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, is a vibrant, human, living and breathing chronicle of this pivotal movement that birthed a new revolutionary culture in America. Tennessee Premiere.
Duty of the Hour | Director: Tony Dancy, Reece Auguiste. USA. | A documentary on the life of Memphis Civil Rights activist Dr. Benjamin L. Hooks and his crusade to promote social justice and racial equality in the United States. Cast: Benjamin Hooks, Booker T. Jones, Jimmy Carter, Julian Bond, Lamar Alexander, Maxine Smith, Patricia Hooks, Russell Sugarmon, Steve Cohen. World Premiere.
Fresh Dressed | Director: Sacha Jenkins. USA. | Fresh Dressed is a fascinating, fun-to-watch chronicle of hip-hop, urban fashion, and the hustle that brought oversized pants and graffiti-drenched jackets from Orchard Street to high fashion’s catwalks and Middle America shopping malls. Cast: Damon Dash, Daymond John, Karl Kani, Nas, Pharrell Williams. Tennessee Premiere.
How Sweet the Sound – The Blind Boys of Alabama | Director: Leslie McCleave. USA. | Filmed over the course of ten years, How Sweet the Sound tells the story of The Blind Boys of Alabama. They met as children in the 1930’s at a state-run segregated vocational school and would become one of the last great gospel quartets, traversing the famed “gospel highway” and beyond. As the surviving band members recount their unlikely success story, we see a rare, frank view of life on and off the road with these renowned performers, now in their 70’s and 80’s. World Premiere.
Imba Means Sing | Director: Danielle Bernstein. USA, Canada and Uganda. | Moses, Angel and Nina journey from the slums of Kampala to becoming members of the Grammy-nominated African Children’s Choir. Imba Means Sing is an intimate look at the inner lives of these young people and the joys and challenges they face through this life-altering opportunity. Tennessee Premiere.
In My Father’s House | Directors: Ricki Stern, Annie Sundberg. USA. | After moving into his childhood home on Chicago’s South Side, Grammy Award–winning rapper Che “Rhymefest” Smith hesitantly sets out to reconnect with his estranged father, the man who abandoned him over twenty years ago. In My Father’s House is a stirring, multigenerational chronicle of Che’s sincere but often-fraught journey to build a future for his own family by reconnecting with his traumatic past. Southeast Premiere.
Mind/Game: The Unquiet Journey of Chamique Holdsclaw | Director: Rick Goldsmith. USA. | The compelling story of basketball phenom Chamique Holdsclaw, from her rise to WNBA stardom to her struggle with mental illness and the strength she called on to speak out about it. Cast: Chamique Holdsclaw, Holly Warlick, Jenny Moshak, Metta World Peace, Dominique Canty and William Rhoden. World Premiere.
Sweet Micky for President | Director: Ben Patterson. USA. | Music and politics collide when international music star, Pras Michel of the Fugees, returns to his homeland of Haiti following the earthquake of 2010 to mobilize a presidential campaign for Haiti’s most controversial musician: Michel Martelly (aka Sweet Micky). The politically inexperienced pair set out against a corrupt government, civil unrest, and a fixed election. When Pras’s former bandmate, superstar Wyclef Jean, also enters the presidential race, their chances seem doomed. But with the help of a few friends, including Ben Stiller and former president Bill Clinton, they never give up on their honest dream of changing the course of Haiti’s future. Cast: Pras Michel, Michel Martelly, Wyclef Jean, Ben Stiller. Tennessee Premiere.
We Were Rebels | Directors: Katharina von Schroeder, Florian Schewe. USA, South Sudan, Germany. | Agel is a former child soldier, forced to fight and kill during the Sudanese civil war. Later, he is able to escape to Australia, where he would become a professional basketball player. In 2011, he returned to his homeland to celebrate the independence of South Sudan and to become the captain of its first national basketball team. Today, South Sudan teeters on the edge of war, and Agel faces a future that may require him to once again take-up arms. North American Premiere.
Feeling the Love Flute | Director: Yinghai Deng. China. | Special Presentation by Heilongjiang Yuetong Culture Media Co., Ltd. Tian Le, a young HIV-positive boy who dreams of becoming a musician, is adopted by a kind old gentleman who wants to protect him from the stigma that can sometimes come with his diagnosis. However, when the school and village find out about Tian Le’s illness, he receives an outpouring of love and support and the entire village rallies to help him pursue his dreams. Cast: Hao Lin, Ben Niu, Xiang Wen, Jin Su, Jin Guo.
Made in Japan | Director: Josh Bishop. USA, Japan. | From Executive Producer Morgan Spurlock, Made in Japan is the remarkable story of Tomi Fujiyama, the world’s first Japanese country music superstar. It is a funny,yet poignant, multicultural journey through music, marriage and the impact of the corporate world on the dreams of one woman. Cast: Tomi Fujiyama, Elijah Wood. Southeast Premiere.
My Voice, My Life | Director: Ruby Yang. Hong Kong. | Oscar® winner Ruby Yang for My Voice, My Life, chronicles the trials and tribulations of a group of under-privileged middle and high school students as they undergo six months of vigorous training to produce their first stage musical. A journey of self-discovery and growth, their stories challenge every parent, teacher and policy maker to reflect on the ways we nurture our young people and their talents. Tennessee Premiere.
The Moso Sisters. |Director: Li Hongyu. China. | Special Presentation by Beijing Huaying Century National Film and Television Production Center. To the north of Lugu Lake where Yunnan borders with Sichuan, there is an ancient village of Moso girls. Here lives the world’s only matriarchal tribe – the Moso. For them, men do not marry and women do not wed. Sisters and brothers live together with their mothers. For over 1500 years, this ancient and mysterious ethnic group has followed the exotic custom of walking marriages. The Moso Sisters tells the intricate yet touching love story between Meiduo the Moso lassie and Gesang the Tibetan lad, with a colorful touch of primitive culture.
The Waiting Country Woman | Director: Li Yangiu. China. | Special Presentation by Beijing Li Yanqiu Culture and Arts Studio Co., Ltd. Xiulan and her childhood sweetheart Jianshe fall in love and wed. However, young men are being recruited to the front lines in order to defend the homeland. Being separated by thousands of miles only makes their love grow stronger, and when Xiulan receives a heartbreaking message, she chooses to believe that Jianshe is still alive and she will wait for his return.
Wild Desert | Director: Ren Zhen. China. | Seven young men ride their motorcycles through the vast mountains and canyons of Western China in order to reach their ultimate goal -- crossing the Gobi Desert. To do that, they will not only face the life and death issues that always arise in a desert climate, they face another unexpected danger -- one that could bring their journey to a tragic end. Cast: Dong Xuan, Shao Bing, Peng Bo.
Wolf Totem | Director: Jean-Jacques Annaud. China, France. | Special Presentation by Beijing Forbidden Film Co. On the eve of the Cultural Revolution, a young Beijing student is sent to live among the nomadic herdsmen of Inner Mongolia. Caught between the advance of civilization from the south and the nomads’ traditional enemies - the marauding wolves - to the north; humans and animals, residents and invaders alike, struggle to find their true place in the world. Cast: Shaofeng Feng, Shawn Dou, Ankhnyam Ragchaa.
Autism Community Interests
How to Dance in Ohio | Director: Alexandra Shiva. USA. | A first kiss, a first dance. These are the rites of passage of American youth that hold the promise of magic, romance and initiation into adulthood. For kids from all walks of life, these first steps toward intimacy are at once exciting and terrifying. For some teenagers and young adults on the autism spectrum, the transition can be nothing less than paralyzing. In Columbus, Ohio, a group of young people with an array of developmental challenges prepares for an iconic event – a spring formal dance. Tennessee Premiere.
Eastern European Interests
Cowboys | Director: Tomislav Mrsic. Croatia. | A successful theater director returns to his small home town to help rebuild its long-neglected theater by staging a new play. The problem? The town has no one with acting experience. Cast: Hrvoje Barisic, Živko Anocic, Matija Antolic, Ana Begic, Niksa Butijer, Rakan Rushaidat, Ivana Rushaidat. Tennessee Premiere.
Monument to Michael Jackson | Director: Darko Lungoluv. Serbia, Macedonia, Croatia. | A local barber in a small Serbian village comes up with an idea to erect a monument to Michael Jackson to attract tourists from around the world. Some locals like the idea, others do not. Cast: Mirjana Karanovic, Ljubomir Bandovic, Dragan Bjelogrlic, Natasa Tapuskovic. Southeast US Premiere.
The Ambassador to Bern | Director: Attila Szász. Hungary. | A fictional account of the 1958 attack against the Hungarian embassy in Bern. Based on a true story about the aftermath of the 1956 Hungarian revolution. Cast: János Kulka, József Kádas, Rémusz Szikszai. Southeast US Premiere. The Tribe | Director: Miroslav Slaboshpitsky. Ukraine. | A deaf mute teenager struggles to fit into the boarding school system. Cast: Grigoriy Fesenko, Yana Novikova, Rosa Babiy, Alexander Dsiadevich. Tennessee Premiere. (Contains adult content.)
Do I Sound Gay? | Director: David Thorpe. USA. | Director David Thorpe and several guests discuss the history and the culture of the “gay voice.” Cast: Margaret Cho, Tim Gunn, Dan Savage, David Sedaris, George Takei, David Thorpe. Tennessee Premiere.
Margarita, with a Straw | Directors: Shonali Bose, Nilesh Maniyar. India. | A rebellious young woman with cerebral palsy leaves her home in India to study in New York, unexpectedly falls in love, and embarks on an exhilarating journey of self-discovery. Cast: Kalki Koechlin, Revathy, Sayani Gupta, Hussain Dalal, Tenzing Dalha. Tennessee Premiere.
Naz & Maalik | Director: Jay Dockendorf. USA. | Two closeted Muslim teens have their Friday afternoon ruined by FBI surveillance when their secretive behavior and small-time scheming start to look like violent radicalism. Cast: Curtiss Cook, Jr., Kerwin Johnson, Jr., Annie Grier, Anderson Footman, Bradley Custer, Ashleigh Awusie. Southeast US Premiere.
Sand Dollars | Director: Israel Cárdenas, Laura Amelia Guzmán. Dominican Republic, Argentina, Mexico. | An older European woman becomes enchanted with a young Dominican woman who must struggle to make ends meet. Cast: Geraldine Chaplin, Yanet Mojica, Ricardo Ariel Toribio. Tennessee Premiere.
The Chambermaid | Director: Ingo Haeb. Germany. | A chambermaid discovers the number for an S&M call girl and finds her life changed when she decides to call the number. Cast: Vicky Krieps.
The Royal Road | Director: Jenni Olson. USA. | A cinematic essay in defense of remembering, The Royal Road offers up a primer on the Spanish colonization of California and the Mexican American War alongside intimate reflections on nostalgia, butch identity, the pursuit of unavailable women. Cast: Jenni Olson, Tony Kushner.
Frame by Frame | Directors: Mo Scarpelli, Alexandria Bombach. USA, Afghanistan. | When the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, taking a photo was a crime. After the regime fell from power in 2001, a fledgling free press emerged and a photography revolution was born. Now, as foreign troops and media withdraw, Afghanistan is left to stand on its own, and so are its journalists. Frame by Frame follows four Afghan photojournalists as they navigate an emerging and dangerous media landscape, re-framing Afghanistan for the world, and for themselves. Tennessee Premiere.
(T)ERROR | Director: Lyric R. Cabral, David Felix Sutcliff. USA. | Through the perspective of “Shariff,” a 63-year-old Black revolutionary turned informant, viewers get an unfettered glimpse of the government’s counter terrorism tactics and the murky justifications behind them. Taut, stark and controversial, (T)ERROR illuminates the fragile relationships between the individual and the surveillance state in modern America, and asks who is watching the watchers? Tennessee Premiere.
6 Desires: DH Lawrence and Sardinia | Director: Mark Cousins. United Kingdom, Italy. | Mark Cousins (A Story of Children and Film) delivers a meditation on one of England’s most emblematic authors and one of Italy’s most beautiful locations in 6 Desires: DH Lawrence and Sardinia. Cast: Jarvis Cocker, Mark Cousins, Gill Moreton. Tennessee Premiere.
Rosenwald | Director: Aviva Kempner. USA. | Special Presentation by the Nashville Jewish Film Festival. Chicago philanthropist, Julius Rosenwald, was the son of an immigrant peddler who rose to become the CEO of Sears & Roebuck. Later, during the era of Jim Crow, he would partner with Booker T. Washington to build over 5,400 Southern schools in African American communities, including over 300 in Tennessee. Cast: Julian Bond, Congressman John Lewis, Eugene Robinson, Clarence Page, Cokie Roberts, Rabbi David Saperstein, Maya Angelou, George C. Wolfe. Tennessee Premiere.
Lake Los Angeles | Director: Mike Ott. USA. | Francisco, a middle-aged Cuban exile working at a holding house for illegal immigrants crosses paths with Cecilia, a 10-year-old Mexican girl who has crossed the border without her family. Cast: Roberto Sanchez, Johanna Trujilo, Eloy Mendez. Tennessee Premiere.
Los Hongos | Director: Oscar Ruiz Navia. Colombia. | Like a couple of mushrooms, Ras and Calvin will sprout and wander aimlessly through the city on a journey of no return, infecting the world around them with immense freedom and hope. Cast: Jovan Alexis Marquinez, Calvin Buenaventura, Atala Estrada, Gustavo Ruiz Montoya. Tennessee Premiere.
Holbrook / Twain: An American Odyssey | Director: Scott Teems. USA. | Hal Holbrook has carved out a prolific career in film, television and theater, but one role has become indelibly associated with him: Mark Twain. For 60 years, Holbrook has been touring with his award-winning one-man show, “Mark Twain Tonight!,” in which he portrays the renowned American writer and satirist before sold-out crowds. Cast: Hal Holbrook, Emile Hirsch, Cherry Jones, Sean Penn, Robert Patrick, Martin Sheen. Tennessee Premiere.
I’ll See You in My Dreams | Director: Brett Haley. USA. | Carol, a widow in her 70’s, is forced to confront her fears about love, family, and death. After her routine is rattled she decides to start dating again and falls into relationships with two very different men. Cast: Blythe Danner, Martin Starr, Sam Elliott, Malin Akerman, June Squibb, Rhea Perlman, Mary Kay Place. Tennessee Premiere.
Radiator | Director: Tom Browne. United Kingdom. | Sooner or later we all become have to become parents to our parents. Cast: Gemma Jones, Richard Johnson. Tennessee Premiere.
Reminiscent | Directors: Justin Tandy, Dustin Brandt Hyer. USA. | A psychological thriller following retired Army Ranger, Jackson Taylor, as he fights to save himself, his family and ultimately mankind. Cast: Justin Tandy, Joseph Large, Lincoln Cissel, Rob Wilds, Rachael L. Rodgers, Phil Merriweather. World Premiere.
Stray Dog | Director: Debra Granik. India, USA. | Ron “Stray Dog” Hall lives in Southern Missouri where he owns and operates the At Ease RV Park. After seven years of living with four small dogs as his only companions, he is adjusting to life with his wife, Alicia, who is newly arrived from Mexico. As part of the legacy of fighting in the Vietnam War, Stray Dog wrestles with the everlasting puzzle of conscience, remorse, and forgiveness. Anchored by his small dogs and big bikes, Stray Dog seeks to strike a balance between his commitment to his family, neighbors, biker brotherhood, and fellow veterans. Tennessee Premiere.
Nashville Film Festival (NaFF), April 16 – 25, 2015, presented by Nissan North America, brings the world to Nashville in a 10-day celebration of film. NaFF celebrates the diversity of the human vision by curating diverse program segments. Founded in 1969 by Mary Jane Coleman, it is one of the oldest film festivals in the U.S. As an Academy Award Qualifying Event, NaFF garners notice from the Associated Press, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, MovieMaker Magazine, IndieWire, Variety, Billboard, New York and Script Magazine.
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