Livin’ Reel Project

In 2004 the Nashville Film Festival began it’s at-risk youth program Livin’ Reel.  Livin’ Reel, powered by the Gibson Foundation, is also supported by Metro Arts, the Tennessee Arts Commission, and the Memorial Foundation.  Each year, the festival partners with an organization whose efforts serve at-risk youth from diverse backgrounds.  During the Livin’ Reel program, the festival partners with filmmakers and musicians to help the teens learn to work together as a team, and express their thoughts and experiences through the art of music and film.

Now 14 years old – the Livin’ Reel Project gives at-risk teens a hands-on experience in filmmaking and songwriting. During the project, a group of teens dedicate after-school hours to write a song, telling the story of their strength and the struggles they have overcome. With help from professional musicians and songwriters, they compose a song which they later record in a professional studio. By the end of the production week, they have a finished song and a short film documenting their entire process. This film is then taken on the road to the Nashville Film Festival and various TV/radio interviews where their work and proven strength within adversity is celebrated.

This year the Livin’ Reel program partnered with Youth Villages and met with a group of girls from one of their Tennessee homes. The aim of the program is to provide at-risk teens in the Nashville community with a healthy outlet to express themselves and further explore their strengths. The groups are specifically matched with leaders and mentors within the community that would most benefit the current group of teens. The 2017 project was led by Festival Communications and Song Competition Manager, Mackenzie Robert. This year the group worked with producer/songwriter Tyler Madden, the power house sister trio, SHEL, and recorded their song at The Blueroom Studios in Berry Hill.

This year, the program was hosted by Youth Villages, powered by the Gibson Foundation, and sponsored by Metro Arts, The Memorial Foundation, and the Tennessee Arts Commission.

In past years, partners have included: the Oasis Center, the Martha O’Bryan Center, the Preston Taylor Boys and Girls YMCA Club, The Charles Davis Foundation and the Williamson County Alternative Learning Center.

Participants for 2017 are confidential.

2004-05 Reawakening
Martha O'Bryan Center

2005-06 Leap Year Nightmare
Martha O'Bryan Center

2006-07 Steppin' in the Hood
Preston Taylor Boys and Girls Club/YMCA

2006-07 The Letter
Alternative Learning Center in Williamson County

2007-08 Alone in the Real World
Preston Taylor Boys & Girls Club/YMCA

2008-09 Who’s Real
Charles Davis Foundation

2009-10 Journey
Charles Davis Foundation

2010-11 That’s How Strong My Love is
Martha O’Bryan Center

2011-12 Catastrophic Choices
Preston Taylor Boys & Girls Club/YMCA

2013-14 Believe
Northwest YMCA's Black Achievers Program

2014-15 Finally Here
Martha O'Bryan Center

2015-16 New Wave
Oasis Center

2016-17 Broken Chains
Youth Villages