NashFilm Announces Music City/Music Documentaries and Tennessee Features/Tennessee Shorts Competitions

by NashFilm

Nashville Film Festival announces its official program selections for its Music City/Music Documentaries and Tennessee Features/Tennessee Shorts Competition Programs for the 51st edition of the festival, taking place virtually from October 1-7, 2020. 

Selections for the Music City/Music Documentaries competition include: After So Many Days, Can You Hear My Voice?; Elvira: The True Story of Dallas Frazier, Jose Feliciano: Behind This Guitar; Los Últimos Frikis; Never Too Late: The Doc Severinsen Story; Oratorio; Sisters: Dream & Variations and Slim and I. Selections for the Tennessee Features competition include Belief, Bowen’s Heart, Death to Life, Nobody Famous, Rattled, Shine Service, Three Cords and a Lie, Where She Lies and You Don’t Know Me. The films represent a diverse range of inspirational stories about legendary music icons, human resilience, self-discovery and much more. Additional programming announcements for Nashville Film Festival’s virtual event will continue through early September. 

“We’re thrilled to share these incredible works as the first piece of the 2020 virtual line-up,” said Lauren Ponto, programming manager of the Nashville Film Festival. “From portraits of musicians to narrative and documentary films from right here in Tennessee, each film is unique and covers a wide range of music and film genres. We are honored to showcase these perspectives in this year’s festival.” 

 

MUSIC CITY/MUSIC DOCUMENTARIES COMPETITION PROGRAM 

 

After So Many Days, directed by Jim Hanft, Samantha Yonack 

Synopsis: After a decade of making music together, Jim and Sam, a recently married singer/songwriter duo from Los Angeles, were not the conventionally successful band they hoped they’d be. Feeling stuck and anxious about their future, the duo made a spontaneous decision to go “all in,” making a pact to play one show every day for a year. With suitcases and a guitar, the troubadours ventured out for a 365-day tour down unexplored roads and onto unexpected stages, bringing their music to new audiences throughout 14 different countries. After So Many Days, is an intimate front row seat to the highs and lows of what it’s like for two people to pursue a dream, together. 

Cast: Jim Hanft and Samantha Yonack 

Premiere Status: Tennessee Premiere 

 

Can You Hear My Voice?, directed by Bill Brummel 

Synopsis: “Can You Hear My Voice?” chronicles the one-of-a-kind Shout at Cancer choir, whose members have all had their voice boxes removed, as they prepare for their most ambitious concert – a sold-out performance at London’s historic Tabernacle theater. Along the way, choir members’ cancer stories unfold, revealing their struggles with self-identity, self-doubt and loss. Far from maudlin, “Can You Hear My Voice?” is a triumphant testimony illuminating a universal theme – the human capacity for resilience in the face of overwhelming adversity. Produced and directed by award-winning Bill Brummel, his first film since having his own voice box removed in 2016. 

Cast: Dr. Thomas Moors, Sara Bowden-Evans, Pug Halliday, Andrew Beaumont 

Premiere Status: U.S. Premiere 

 

Elvira: The True Story of Dallas Frazier, directed by Scott McDaniel 

Synopsis: Hall of Fame songwriter – Dallas Frazier – is joined by Grammy winning musical icons Charley Pride, Connie Smith, The Oak Ridge Boys and Grammy winning producer Ray Baker to share never before told stories of his successful multi-genre and unequaled songwriting career. Dallas Frazier placed more than 40 songs in the Top 20 on Billboard’s Country singles chart – including ten #1 commercial hits. Including signature songs such as Mohair Sam, There Goes My Everything, Beneath Still Waters and Elvira. His original songs have been recorded by Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Emmylou Harris, Jerry Lee Lewis, Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton and more. His songs have been covered by the Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, Peggy Lee, Keith Richards, Diana Ross, Tina Turner and the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley. 

Cast: Ray Baker, Dallas Frazier, The Oak Ridge Boys, Charley Pride and Connie Smith 

Premiere Status: World Premiere 

 

Jose Feliciano – Behind This Guitar, directed by Helen Murphy, Frank Licari 

Synopsis:Jose Feliciano – Behind This Guitar” chronicles the life and continuing career of singer/guitarist Jose Feliciano.  Voted as “the world’s greatest living guitarist” and one of the best of all time, Jose Feliciano, is also the first ever global Latin crossover artist, the first Latin American to win a Best New Artist Grammy and Best Contemporary Pop Vocal Grammy, the first to win a Latin Grammy, and he is a pioneer in the mixing of musical genres and musical interpretation. It is the story of one of the greatest and arguably most under-rated superstar music artists of all time. 

Cast: Jose Feliciano, Carlos Santana, Gloria Estefan, Rudy Perez, Emilio Estefan

Premiere Status: U.S. Premiere 

 

Los Últimos Frikis, directed by Nicholas Brennan 

Synopsis: An intimate documentary portrait of ZEUS, Cuba’s hard-rocking, communist-sponsored heavy metal band and their three-decade career spent screaming to be heard. 

Cast: ZEUS 

Premiere Status: Tennessee Premiere 

 

Never Too Late: The Doc Severinsen Story, directed by Kevin S. Bright, Jeff Consiglio 

Synopsis: After three decades as the colorful bandleader to “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson,” master trumpeter Doc Severinsen defies nature with a relentless schedule of touring, teaching and performing into his nineties. A beloved musical icon traces his groundbreaking career and personal trials underscoring a life of inspiration and obsession. 

Cast: Doc Severinsen, Questlove, Chris Botti, Arturo Sandoval, Ernie Watts 

Premiere Status: US Premiere 

 

The Oratorio, directed by Alex Bayer, Jonathan Mann, Mary Anne Rothberg 

Synopsis: Martin Scorsese reveals the story of a single performance in 1826 that forever changed America’s cultural landscape with the introduction of Italian opera to New York City — an event Mozart’s great librettist helped organize. Taking place in Scorsese’s childhood church, this watershed event was lost to history for almost 200 years, but has been rediscovered and the “lost oratorio” will be re-staged. 

Cast: Martin Scorsese, Jim Gaffigan, Teatro Lirico di Cagliari 

Premiere Status: Southeast Premiere 

 

Sisters: Dream & Variations, directed by Catherine Legault 

Synopsis: Tyr and Jasa grew up in an artistic household where art was a way of life. Quirky and insightful sisters, Tyr is a musician and singer while Jasa is an interdisciplinary artist. Inspired by their great-grandmother’s recordings of Icelandic folk songs, they have developed artistic practices that draw on their colourful imaginations and Icelandic roots. Their exploration leads them to journey to Iceland for the first time and collaborate on a project that brings together their artistic disciplines and cultural heritage.  In her debut feature film Sisters: Dream & Variations, Catherine Legault immerses us in an oneiric world made up of animation, performances and cinema vérité. More than a portrait, the film is an inspiring look at the artistic approach, its various forms and how it can simultaneously express and explore who we are. 

Cast: Tyr Jami and Jasa Baka 

Premiere Status: Southeast Premiere 

 

Slim and I, directed by Kriv Stenders

Synopsis: For over 50 years country music legend Slim Dusty and his wife Joy McKean trail-blazed their way across Australia performing, writing and collecting songs of the bush and its people. They created a musical legacy that to this day continues to entertain and inspire, a catalogue of plain speaking yet profoundly insightful music documenting the rural Australian experience. Theirs is perhaps one of the greatest partnerships in Australian music history. 

 

SLIM & I is a feature documentary that tells the incredible story of that partnership and of the woman who lived beside, rather than behind, the legend. Australia’s own “Queen of Country Music”, Joy McKean.  

Cast: Joy McKean, Keith Urban, Paul Kelly, Don Walker, Kasey Chambers, Missy Higgins, Troy Casar-Daley, Chad Morgan 

Premiere Status: US Premiere 

 

TENNESSEE FEATURES COMPETITION PROGRAM 

 

Belief, directed by Benjamin Neal, Cassidy Graves

Synopsis: Two best friends, Irma and McKenzie, live unassuming lives in their small town. However, Irma’s world turns upside down after she has a mysterious experience in the field behind her house. Not wanting to be left out of the limelight, McKenzie insists that she also had a supernatural encounter. While Irma questions the origins of what happened to her, McKenzie is adamant that they were both contacted by Jesus Christ. However, Irma soon starts to believe that she was visited by something extraterrestrial. 

Cast: Cassidy Graves, Hayley Stone, Benjamin Neal, Jacob Blizard, Valerie Nea 

Premiere Status: World Premiere 

 

Bowen’s Heart, directed by Lexi Read, Zach Read 

Synopsis: This film follows eight-year-old Bowen through his third major open heart surgery, his parents caught in the tension between hoping the surgery will make his life better and knowing it could make things much worse. 

Cast: Bowen Hammitt, Sarah Hammitt, Matt Hammitt, Emmy Hammitt, Claire Hammitt, Lewis Hammitt 

Premiere Status: World Premiere 

 

Death to Life, directed by Nate Powers 

Synopsis: 23 states in the U.S. experienced a significant rise in opioid overdose in 2019. In the newest film by Nate Powers, DEATH to LIFE shines a light on the humanity behind the statistics, as you’re introduced to people whose stories are embedded in the very heart of this crisis.  

Cast: Markus McFolling, Chelsea McFolling, Kurstie Elser, Rodney Mullins, Dalton Bishop 

Premiere Status: Southeast Premiere 

 

Nobody Famous, directed by Elizabeth Ahlstrom 

Synopsis: Set against the backdrop of a socially and politically volatile sixties, Nobody Famous traces the quick rise and steady fall of sixties folk/pop trio, The Pozo Seco Singers. Recounted through the current day lens of former member, Taylor Pie. 

Cast: Taylor Pie 

Premiere Status: Tennessee Premiere 

 

Rattled, directed by Kd Amond 

Synopsis: Upon her mother’s death, Michelle Daniels returns home where she’s unexpectedly reunited with her estranged and acutely mentally ill sister Addison. What Michelle intended to be a quick trip to settle the family succession, spirals out of control as her sister displays an increasingly sinister obsession. 

Cast: Sarah Zanotti, Elisabeth Donaldson 

Premiere Status: World Premiere 

 

Shine Service, directed by Drew Maynard 

Synopsis: Shine Service tells the incredible life story of Robert Person, a/k/a “Percy”, an 82-year-old, African American shoe shine man. Percy began shining shoes in 1947 with a small shoe stand on Nashville’s historic Jefferson Street and currently owns and operates Shine Service in the historic downtown Nashville Arcade. He is a Nashville icon and has touched the lives of many people including professional athletes and high-profile public officials. 

Cast: Percy Person 

Premiere Status: Tennessee Premiere 

 

Three Chords And A Lie, directed by Trent Atkinson

Synopsis: Hoping to heal from his difficult coming out, a rising – and gay – country singer returns to his small Tennessee hometown to perform for the first time.

Cast: Brandon Stansell, Shelly Fairchild, Cody Alan, Pam Stansell, Jeffrey James, Kent Parham, Steve Boysen, Ryan Aceto, Erik Halbig, Richard Winham, Ty Brown, Phreadom Bastion Dimas, Indigo McAlister, Jessica Christt, Melody Martinez, Andrea Y Mobley, Jessica Strong, Hannah Swann

Premiere Status: Southeast Premiere

 

Where She Lies, directed by Zach Marion 

Synopsis: WHERE SHE LIES tells the gripping true story of an assaulted teen, PEGGY PHILLIPS, who gives birth out of wedlock in Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1962. Upon giving birth, Peggy receives conflicting narratives about her infant’s fate, with one doctor claiming that her baby had passed, and another claiming it was thriving. Thirty-three years later, Peggy’s mother reveals on her deathbed that Peggy’s baby is still alive. After a series of new attempts to uncover the truth, including exhuming her infant’s alleged grave, Peggy reaches an impasse when she runs out of money.

 

Almost two decades later, the film documents Peggy uncovering the truth about what happened. Through its investigation of false narratives, memory, and motherhood, the film explores the gas-lighting and discrimination that Peggy faced as a sexual assault survivor in the 1960’s deep south. 

Cast: Peggy Philips, Zach Marion

Premiere Status: World Premiere 

 

You Don’t Know Me, directed by Jon Kent 

Synopsis: You don’t know TN death row inmate Abu-Ali Abdur ‘Rahman and the cascade of injustices that keep him fighting for his life. You don’t know Lionel Barrett, a celebrated defense attorney turned rural goat farmer, who inexplicably blew Abu’s case. You don’t know the prominent businessman whose mysterious cult orchestrated the crime or the deceitful DA who misled the jury. Know them–and the truth behind one of Nashville’s most notorious crimes. 

Cast: Abu-Ali Abdur ‘Rahman, Lionel Barrett,  Sumter Camp, Brad MacLean, Matt Pulle, Kirk Loggins, Neal McAlpin, Linda Manning, Ed Miller, Mark Garafola, Joe Ingle, Kris Sperry, MD 

Premiere Status: World Premiere 

 

TENNESSEE SHORTS COMPETITION PROGRAM 

 

Birthday Boy, Director: Cole Bankston

Bury Me at Taylor Hollow, Director: Orion Pahl

D.R.U.G.S,  Director: Colin Pierce

Data, Director: Spencer Glover

Everything Is Sound, Director: Dan Snyder 

Final, Director: Chris St Croix

Fortunate Country, Director: Kristin Jordan Tripe and Julia Hinson

Hangry, Director: Clint Till

How Great Art Thou, Director: Brian Oxley

La Sirena, Director: Matteo Servante 

Life After Death, Director: Noah Glenn

Rally George, Director: John Mofield 

Serious Matter in the Middle of the Night, Director: Josh Copeland

Son of Sun, Director: Anthony Short

Speak Again, Director: Jared LaCroix and Jacob Abell

The Little Tea Shop, Director: Molly J. Wexler & Matteo Servente

The Song, Director: Daan van den Berg 

We Can’t Wait, Director: Lauren Ready 

When Rhythm and Blues Rocked Nashville, Director: Matt Follett

Why She Smiles, Director: Caroline Sims

Wild Bill Horsecock, Director: Oliver Shahery 

 

Passes and Tickets for the 2020 Nashville Film Festival 

Virtual VIP Festival Badges are now on sale for $125 at www.nashfilm.org. VIP Badges provide unlimited access to all 200+ virtual/online film screenings and exclusive film, music and cultural content. Virtual Music Passes are also available for sale and include access to NashFilm Music Program virtual events and pro mentoring sessions. 

About Nashville Film Festival 

The Nashville Film Festival (NashFilm) is a globally recognized nonprofit organization and cultural event presenting the best in world cinema, American independent films and documentaries by veteran masters, up-and-coming directors, and first-time filmmakers. With Academy Award® qualifying status, the Nashville Film Festival celebrates innovation, music and the many voices of the human spirit through the art of film. Originally founded in 1969, the Nashville Film Festival is one of the first film festivals in the United States and will host its 51st festival from October 1-7, 2020. For more information, visit www.nashfilm.org