Magazine article Variety

Music City Has Room for Movie Lovers

Magazine article Variety

Music City Has Room for Movie Lovers

Article excerpt

MUSIC CITY may soon be known as Movie City if the board of the Nashville Film Festival has its way. While country music remains Nashville's signature brand, the fest is determined to transform celluloid perceptions in order to compete with similarly evolving fests like Tribeca, Woodstock and SXSW.

"We want to become one of the big players," says executive director Ted Crockett. "We want to become known as a place where deals are made."

It's an ambitious mission statement, given the ability of market/fest heavy-hitters like Cannes, Sundanee and Toronto to command first dibs on world premieres, and act as that one-stop shop for film buyers and cineastes alike.

The largely indie lineup for Nashville fest (April 16-25), on the other hand, is dominated by Tennessee or Southeast U.S. bows and comprises 286 films, including 181 shorts and 32 documentaries.

Not surprisingly, the biggest programming coups involve world bows in the Music City Feature Competition, including "Country: Portraits of an American Sound," which highlights the photography of Henry Diltz and Raeanne Rubenstein, and performers like Rosanne Cash, Merle Haggard and local hero Keith Urban; "How Sweet the Sound: The Blind Boys of Alabama"; and "Revival: the Sam Bush Story," about the Father of New Grass.

Also notable in the Music City sidebar is "Austin to Boston," about Mumford & Sons' Ben Lovett's back-to-basics tour; and "Sweet Micky for President," which follows the Fugees' Pras Michel to Haiti to mobilize a presidential campaign.

Continuing their festival rounds at Nashville are Brian Robertson's Slamdance entry "Diamond Tongues"; Gabrielle Demeestere's "Yosemite" (also Slamdance); existential Western "Slow West," which won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance; and David Gordon Green's "Manglehorn," which premiered at Venice.

Bookending the fest will be Ross Katz's "Adult Beginners" with Nick Kroll, Rose Byrne and Joel McHale, the opener; while Shira Piven's "Welcome to Me" starring Kristen Wiig opposite James Marsden, will act as the closer. …

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