This year's Nashville Film Festival (NaFF), which takes place from April 15 to 22, will feature some high profile screenings including the John Lennon biopic and fest opener "Nowhere Boy" from director Sam Taylor-Wood, and the North American premiere of Radu Mihaileanu's "The Concert," starring Melanie Laurent of "Inglourious Basterds."
"Nowhere Boy," which has already gone on to win great acclaim in Great Britain, including nominations at the London Critics Circle and BAFTA awards, will open the festival. The film stars Kristin Scott Thomas and up-and-comer Aaron Johnson ("Kick-Ass") as Lennon. Adrian Grenier's documentary "Teenage Paparazzo," making its Southeast premiere, will close the festival. Grenier's film documents a 13-year-old paparazzo and his fixation with Hollywood's celebrity culture. Country music star Brad Paisley's short film, "When Mom's Away," will precede the screening.
Mihaileanu's "The Concert" and Shane Dax Taylor's "Provinces of Night" will screen as part of NaFF's Special Presentation series. Apart from Laurent, "The Concert" also stars French actress Miou Miou, and tells the story of renowned conductor of the Dolshoi orchestra, Andrei Simoniovich Filipov, who was fired for hiring Jewish musicians. "Provinces of Night" boasts an all star cast that includes Kris Kristofferson, Val Kilmer and Hilary Duff. The film is making its Southeast premiere.
Other categories at this year's NaFF include World Cinema Today, Narrative Competition, New Directors Competition, Documentary Competition and Music Films Competition.
Other film included in various categories include:
"Blue Beard" (Catherine Breillat, France)
In Catherine Breillat's retelling of this classic tale, two young sisters play together in the attic of their home in 1950s France. Catherine (a stand-in for Breillat, according to her autobiographical statement) torments her timid sibling Marie-Anne with repeated dramatic readings of Bluebeard. As she does, the 17th-century story plays out on screen. In this stylized and highly literary adaptation, Breillat perfectly captures the pleasures to be had both in being frightened and in facing one's fears head-on.
"Dogtooth" (Yorgos Lanthimos, Greece)
Three teenagers are confined to an isolated country estate that could very well be on another planet. The trio spend their days listening to endless homemade tapes that teach them a whole new vocabulary. Any word that comes from beyond their family abode is instantly assigned a new meaning. Hence 'the sea' refers to a large armchair and 'zombies' are little yellow flowers. Having invented a brother whom they claim to have ostracized for his disobedience, the uber-controlling parents terrorize their offspring into submission. The father is the only family member who can leave the manicured lawns of their self-inflicted exile, earning their keep by managing a nearby factory, while the only outsider allowed on the premises is his colleague Christina, who is paid to relieve the son of his male urges. Tired of these dutiful acts of carnality, Christina enlists the elder daughter for some girl-on-girl action, carelessly disturbing the domestic balance. Soon enough, sex has spread throughout the household like fire. Next stop: rebellion.
"Raw Faith" (Peter Wiedensmith, USA)
This surprisingly open and revealing documentary follows two years in the private life of a minister. Marilyn Sewell is successful and beloved in the pulpit, but behind the scenes she is lonely and yearning for change. As she considers leaving the ministry, she realizes she will be leaving her only social network. Yet when she falls in love for the first time, she realizes she does not trust intimacy. A study in contrasts, Marilyn must rely on raw faith as she questions her future, her difficult past, her God, and most importantly... her ability to love. Includes an original song by Sheryl Crow written specifically for the film. (World Premiere)
"Undertow" (Javier Fuentes-León, Peru, Columbia)
Winner of the Audience Award for Best in World Cinema at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, "Undertow" is an unusual ghost story set on the Peruvian seaside; a married fisherman struggles to reconcile his devotion to his male lover within his town's rigid traditions. (Southeast Premiere)
"Don't Worry About Me" (David Morrissey, UK)
Twenty-something London lad David (James Brough) travels up to Liverpool hoping to track down the girl from last night. After she gives him his marching orders, David finds himself walking the streets of a strange city with only some loose change in his pocket and a head full of nonsense. Stumbling upon a betting shop, demure sales assistant Tina gives him a hot tip on a dog. As a thank you, David invites Tina out for a coffee and persuades her to throw a sickie from work in exchange for the delights of his company. Tina shows David around Liverpool, with a surprise around every corner and a glint in her eye that hides a secret pain. As day unfolds into night, romance grows between two young people with very different pasts with music as the food of love. (Southeast Premiere)
"Black, White, and Blues" (Mario Van Peebles, USA)
Filmed in Nashville in 2009, Mario Van Peebles directed this drama of spiritual redemption against the backdrop of the Memphis blues starring Michael Clarke Duncan and Morgan Simpson. (World Premiere)
"Fish Out of Water" (Ky Dickens, USA)
Coming out of the closet can be challenging and for Ky Dickens, her experience coming out to friends at Vanderbilt University led to the making of "Fish Out of Water," a spirited documentary that explores the seven Bible passages notoriously used to condemn homosexuality and justify marriage discrimination. With the help of a cartoon narrator, animated recollections of Bible passages and witty illustrations, "Fish Out of Water"makes this polarizing subject accessible and non-threatening.
"Saturday Night" (James Franco, USA)
With unprecedented access to the behind the scenes process of the writers, actors and producers, Franco and his crew document what it takes to create one full episode of Saturday Night Live. (Southeast Premiere)
"Climate Refugees" (Michael Nash, USA)
"Climate Refugees" uncovers the unbelievable plight of people around the world displaced by climatically induced environmental disasters. The documentary illuminates the human face of climate change and the collision that civilization now finds itself at between over population, lack of resources and our changing climate. By traveling the world and interviewing several of the 25 million climate refugees now on the run, "Climate Refugees" brings to light the heart wrenching truth of what is quickly becoming mankind's greatest challenge. (Southeast Premiere)
Synopses provided by NaFF.
For the remainder of this year's lineup check out NaFF's website.