And it’s not too early to buy a badge for this year’s Chattanooga Film Festival
A sign of a thriving film community is the presence of a multitude of festivals, each with a different purpose. It seems that every year there is a new and exciting festival waiting to showcase Chattanooga talent. Last year’s debut of the Chattanooga Film Festival (CFF) was a defining moment for the city, but smaller festivals share the responsibility of fostering a strong, dynamic community.
The Scenic City has a wealth of annual events, like the recent Jewish Film Festival and the Lookout Wild Film Festival, as well as newer events like Capture Chattanooga. Very soon another festival, similar to Capture, will make its first appearance. Every year seems like the start of something new, and fans are certain to find a diverse assortment of film experiences in 2015.
54 Film Fest is a competition held in several cities, with the express purpose of giving local filmmakers a chance to practice their craft and create original, captivating projects in a short amount of time. It’s an exciting entry into the already-bustling world of Chattanooga film.
The rules for 54 Film Fest are simple: Filmmaking teams are given 54 hours from the end of the Inception Meeting until Drop Off to script, shoot, and edit a four-to-seven-minute short film. Teams are given a genre, a prop, and a line of dialogue that have to be used in their short film.
After the first 24 hours, the teams will receive a call from the “executive producer,” who will provide another element to fold into the narrative. Teams that include the “curve ball” from the producer are eligible to win a special award at the end of the process.
Films will be screened at the Choo Choo Centennial Theater at the end of the competition and judged by industry professionals in a variety of categories, including Best Directing, Best Editing, Best Production Design, Best Writing, etc. 54 Film Fest is an innovative competition for Chattanooga filmmakers—anytime Chattanooga talent can be featured is worth the time spent.
The Inception Meeting will be held on Feb. 6 at the Choo Choo and the screening will be held on Feb. 27. More information about 54 Film Fest can be found at 54filmfest.com.
As the 54 Film Fest begins, the CFF is making its own exciting announcements as it moves steadily towards its second year as a premier Southern film festival. Again, rumors are swirling around the potential films and guests that will descend upon the Majestic 12 during the first week of April.
Festival Director Chris Dortch and company have begun the planning process and Dortch is already “insanely proud of what [they] have this year,” noting that they have “23 of our 43 [film] features locked.” Three of those films have been announced on the CFF website: “Amira and Sam,” “The Keeping Room,” and “The Tribe.” These three represent a diverse cross-section of film genres, continuing the tradition of having something for every film fan in Chattanooga.
Of particular note is “The Tribe,” which is a thriller set at a boarding school for the deaf and told entirely in sign language. Dortch calls the film “a perfect example of film as a visual medium,” stating that “at no point do you not know what is going on.” It’s films of this type that make the festival experience so enthralling.
Too many times audiences are looked down on and spoon-fed easily digestible narratives without substance. Film festivals strip away those conventions and give audiences a chance to see remarkable films told in unique and complicated ways.
But beyond just the three films announced last week, Dortch snuck me a few more titles that are coming to the CFF: “White God,” “Sunshine Superman,” “Tokyo Tribe,” “Spring,” and “The Slow West.” Several of these films were first shown at Cannes and the fact that they are coming to Chattanooga so soon afterwards is nothing short of astounding. “White God” and “Toyko Tribe” are particularly exciting, as is “The Slow West,” a Michael Fassbender Western drama written and directed by John Mclean.
Dortch has been at Sundance securing more titles and inviting more guests to round out an already-strong early lineup. If you haven’t bought your badge for the festival, now is the time to do so. If you want to get involved, go volunteer.
Filmmakers should look to the 54 Film Fest to hone their skills. We should all do something to support local film in Chattanooga. Good things are happening there.
For more information about the Chattanooga Film Festival, visit: www.chattanoogafilmfest.com