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March 14, 2015

NaFF names Documentary Film competitors

NASHVILLE: The Nashville Film Festival (NaFF) today announced the Documentary films in competition for the 46th Nashville Film Festival, April 16 – 25th at Regal Green Hills Cinema.

“I believe this is the strongest documentary lineup we’ve presented since I’ve been here,” said Brian Owens, NaFF Artistic Director. “These documentaries showcase the talent, perseverance and courage of our filmmakers as they take us into dangerous war zones, to a school dance for students on the autism spectrum, and into the kitchen of one of America’s most renowned chefs. These are impressive stories with high entertainment value. You’ll see what I mean in April,” added Owens. The lineup offers two world and two Northeastern premieres.

The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young | USA (Director: Annika, Iltis, Timothy Kane) – Every year 40 runners come from around the world to a small town in Tennessee to test their limits at a cult-like, quirky, and virtually impossible trail race. With a secret application process, unknown start time, and a course that changes every year, The Barkley Marathons has only had 10 people finish in 25 years. Inspired by a historic prison escape gone awry, what follows is an oddly inspiring story where pain has value, failure is spectacular, and it only costs $1.60 to enter. Tennessee Premiere.

Off into the abyss.

For Grace | USA (Director: Mark Helenowski) – Curtis Duffy, one of the country’s most renowned chefs, is building his dream restaurant at the worst time of his personal life. Already the recipient of two coveted stars from the Michelin Guide, Duffy has ambitions for his Chicago restaurant Grace to become the best in the country. But his laser focus on his cooking career cost Duffy his marriage and two young daughters. For Grace is a story about food, family, balance and sacrifice. Tennessee Premiere.

Frame by Frame | USA / Afghanistan (Director: Mo Scarpelli, Alexandria Bombach) – 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 – reframing Afghanistan for the world, and for themselves. Tennessee Premiere.

From Fat to Finish Line | USA (Director: Angela Lee) – From Fat to Finish Line documents the incredible weight loss journey of a group of former strangers who became united through blogs, social media and friends of friends to form a very special Ragnar Relay team. Their vision was to put together a team of people who shared the common bond of losing and keeping off a significant amount of weight through lifestyle changes and running. World Premiere.

Holbrook / Twain: An American Odyssey | USA (Director: Scott Teems) – 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.

How to Dance in Ohio | USA (Director: Alexandra Shiva) – 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.

In My Father’s House | USA (Director: Ricki Stern, Annie Sundberg) – 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.

The Keepers | USA (Director: Joann Selvidge, Sara Kaye Larson) – When is the last time you heard someone say ‘I have the coolest job in the world’? The Keepers reveals a fascinating insider look at the unique subculture of zookeepers – people that really, really love their work. The film follows five keepers with unprecedented access behind the scenes to show you a part of the zoo you’ve never seen before. From the penguin keeper who sings her own hymns to the exotic birds in her care to the dungeons and dragons playing big cat keeper, they all tell the story of finding a place for yourself in work that you love. World Premiere.

Live from New York! | USA (Director: Bao Nguyen) – Saturday Night Live has been reflecting and influencing life in the United States for 40 years. Live From New York! goes deep inside this cultural phenomenon, exploring the laughter that pulses through American politics, tragedy and popular culture. Southeast Premiere.

Meru | India, USA (Director: E. Chai Vasarhelyi, Jimmy Chin) – After suffering dramatic
setbacks in their lives, three close friends who are among the world’s best professional climbers battle their complicated pasts, inner demons and nature’s harshest elements in an attempt to confront the Shark’s Fin on Mount Meru, the most technically complicated and dangerous peak in the Himalayas, one that has never been scaled to completion. Tennessee Premiere.

NaFF Rosenwald

Rosenwald | USA (Director: Aviva Kempner) – Chicago philanthropist Julius Rosenwald was the son of an immigrant peddler who rose to become the CEO of Sears & Roebuck. He would later partner with Booker T. Washington to build over 5,400 Southern schools in African American communities, including over 300 in Tennessee, during the era of Jim Crow. Cast: Julian Bond, Congressman John Lewis, Eugene Robinson, Clarence Page, Cokie Roberts, Rabbi David Saperstein, Maya Angelou, George C. Wolfe. Tennessee Premiere. Presented by the Jewish Film Festival.

Stray Dog | USA (Director: Debra Granik) – 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.

T(E)RROR | USA (Director: Lyric R. Cabral, David Felix Sutcliff) – Through the perspective of “Shariff,” a 63-year-old Black revolutionary turned informant, viewers get an unfettered glimpse of the government’s counterterrorism 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.

Top Spin | USA (Director: Sara Newens, Mina T. Son) – Set against the backdrop of one of the most under-appreciated sports in America, three teenagers battle their way through the world of competitive ping pong. While facing the unusual challenges coming of age in a niche sport, their journey reveals the passion it takes to pursue their Olympic-sized dreams. Tennessee Premiere.

NaFF leith

Welcome to Leith | USA (Director: Michael Nichols, Christopher K. Walker) – Leith, North Dakota is a small town of 24 people set against a prairie backdrop of wide-open sky and fields of wheat. In 2012, an outsider named Craig Cobb moved in and started buying up property, some empty plots of land, some with houses in various states of disrepair. People of the town figured he’d moved in to be close to the Bakken oil fields some 70 miles north. Turns out he was also a notorious white supremacist who was plotting a takeover of the city government. As his behavior becomes more threatening, tensions soar, and the residents desperately look for ways to expel their unwanted neighbor. Tennessee Premiere.

We Were Rebels | South Sudan, Germany (Director: Katharina von Schroeder, Florian Schewe) – Agel is a former child soldier, forced to fight and kill in the Sudanese civil. Laterhe was 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, however, 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.

The Nashville Film Festival (NaFF), which will be held April 16 – 25, is presented by Nissan North America. NaFF 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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