It’s official. The 2016 Nashville Film Festival (NaFF) gets underway on Thursday, April 14 and with it comes the announcement of who’s walking the Opening Night Red Carpet. Additionally, throughout the next ten days I’ll be sharing my personal picks for must see films screening at the festival each day.
Starting things off for Thursday nights’ Red Carpet will be members of the creative team behind the feature film “Josephine”. Among those scheduled to walk the red carpet at 5 p.m. will be Rory Feek, the film’s director and co-writer, Heidi Feek, “Josephine”‘s music supervisor, and the film’s producer Aaron Carnahan, who also co-wrote alongside Feek. “Josephine” marks the directorial debut of Feek, who’s best known as half of country music’s Joey and Rory. Carnahan previously worked with Feek as producer on “The Joey+Rory Show” in 2012. Heidi Feek, as the last name might imply, is the daughter of “Josephine” director Rory. In addition to having appeared on her parent’s TV series, Feek garnered fans of her own with her 2013 release, “The Only”.
Following their Red Carpet appearance, the creative team behind “Josephine” will join festival attendees for the 6 p.m. premiere of “Josephine”. “Josephine” takes place in 1864, during the American Civil War and tells the story of Josephine Robison (Alice Coulthard), who, after the death of her only child and not having received any correspondence form her soldier husband in over a year, takes matters into her own hands by chopping off her hair, donning her husband’s clothes and enlisting in the Confederate Army of Tennessee as Joseph Robinson in an effort to find her husband. The drama spans the next five months as Josephine not only encounters battles with the Union Army, the men in her unit, but also her own identity in her quest for answers about her missing husband. Nearly sold-out, RUSH tickets may be available at the box office.
Red Carpet action continues on Thursday at 5:45 p.m. when creatives behind “Transpecos” join the celebration. Director/Co-writer Greg Kwedar, Co-writer/Producer Clint Bentley, and Executive Producers Jon and Linda Halbert are among “Transpecos”‘ team expected on the Red Carpet with a 6:15 premiere following in Theatre 15. Making its Southeast US Premiere and being presented in the New Directors Competition at NaFF, “Transpecos” offers up a thrill-ride of a movie at a makeshift Border Patrol checkpoint manned by three agents: expert tracker, Lance Flores (“Wicked City” and “True Detective” star Gabriel Luna); Benjamin Davis (“Perks of Being a Wallflower”‘s Johnny Simmons) who joined the patrol with dreams of riding horseback and romancing senoritas; and the trio’s more serious and storied officer, Lou Hobbs (Clifton Collins Jr., of HBO’s “Ballers” and the upcoming western/scifi/thriller series “Westworld”). Tickets for Thursday’s 6:15 premiere screening are still available. Click Here to purchase, or get them in person at the festival box office.
Next on the Red Carpet, at 6 p.m. will be cast and crew from “The Dust Storm”, including the film’s co-director/screenwriter Ryan Lacen, co-director Anthony Baldino, producer Cory Scott Allen and star Kristen Gutoskie. Making his directorial debut with “The Dust Storm”, Lacen’s production assistant credits include everything from “The Green Hornet” to Paranormal Activity 4″. Co-director Baldino, also making his feature-length directorial debut, also has a production background working on such projects as 2012’s “Last Call” and the upcoming horror/comedy, “She’s Allergic to Cats”. First-time producer Cory Scott Allen got his start as an actor in the 2012 TV movie “Outlaw Country” and ironically, playing a ‘hipster producer” in an episode of ABC’s “Nashville”.
Presented as part of the Tennessee First category, and making its Southeast US Premiere at Naff, “The Dust Storm” will definitely resonate with the Music City crowd as it introduces Brennan (Colin O’Donoghue, who’s best known as Captain Hook/Killian Jones on ABC’s hugely popular “Once Upon a Time”) a wannabe musician who, at film’s opening is wrapping his final song, “Nora” in the all-too-familiar setting of a smokey bar. The film then picks up a year later when Brennan, having put aside his musical aspirations for the mundane existence of a regular day job, ends up in Music City on a business trip and, whether by chance of fate runs into a ghost from his past, an enchanting, but complicated girl named Nora (Kristen Gutoskie, soon to be seen in The CW’s upcoming outbreak drama, “Containment”). Fans of the aforementioned “Nashville” might also recognize series regular Chris Carmack who stars ad David in “The Dust Storm”. Tickets are still available for Thursday’s 8:30 p.m. premiere. Click Here to purchase.
Opening Night’s Red Carpet kicks into high gear at 6:30 with cast and crew from four other films premieres Thursday night. First up there’s “If I Could Tell You”, included in Thursday night’s “It’s All Relative”-Short Film block and represented on the Red Carpet by the film’s writer/director/producers Rob and Ben Clyde (“Nurses for Africa”), as well as producer Mitch Yapko (“Bill Murray: No One Will Ever Believe You”), composer Gray Bashew (TV’s “Drunk History”) and film stars Jim O’Heir (Parks and Recreation”, “Strip Mall”), Sharon Lawrence (“Desperate Housewives”, “Ladies Man”, “NYPD Blue” and the upcoming series, “Game of Silence”) and Avery Clyde (who’s appeared in everything from “Dawson’s Creek” to “The Forgotten”).
“IF I Could Tell You”, premiering during the 7:45 p.m. shorts block, stars Avery Clyde as Abby Taylor, a woman who believes at her core she was meant to have a child. After expensive experimental fertility options leave her and her husband broke and seemingly without options, they travel out of town to attend a seminar lead by Sarah Linda McCormick (Lawrence). In reality, Abby is there to hook up with an anonymous sperm donor she met online, believing that’s her last chance at motherhood, regardless of what it might do to her marriage and life as she knows it.
The 6:30 p.m. Red Carpet also includes “What’s the Matter with Gerald”‘s writer/director Matt Riddlehoover (“Paternity Leave”, “Scenes from a Gay Marriage”) and co-writer Dustin Tittle (“Paternity Leave”, “More Scenes from a Gay Marriage”) as well as several members of the film’s cast, including the film’s star, Jacob York (“Bookends” “Paternity Leave”), Kathy Cash (daughter of music legend Johnny Cash), Jonathan Everett (“Flowers for Fannie”), Daniel Chioco and Emily Todoran.
Following their Red Carpet appearance, “What’s the Matter with Gerald” will premiere at 9:15 p.m.. In the film we meet Gerald, a thirty-something bit of a boozer, looser, trust-fund baby who’s also quite the hypochondriac. In an effort to pinpoint his latest ailment, he’s referred to May (Cash), a chain-smoking, foul-mouthed gemological healer, much to the dismay of his long-suffering partner Charles’ (Everett) dismay. With hopes of healing gemstones in-tow, Gerald soon finds his pain eased, but his life in need of further examination.
Next on the Red Carpet at 6:30 p.m., will be “Colin Hay: Waiting for My Real Life” co-director/co-producer/co-writer, Nate Gowtham and producer Elizabeth James. An entry in the Music Films/Music City Competition, “Colin Hay” is the real-life story of former “Men at Work” frontman Colin Hay, whose dreams of rock and roll success and fame faded as quickly as they materialized. Truly committed to his craft, Hay didn’t let fame, or the following lack, thereof, deter him from continuing to pursue music and his art. This insightful and inspiring documentary includes footage from Colin’s successful 2013 Us/Europe/Australia tour, as well as interviews with fans and friends including Mick Fleetwood, Hugh Jackman, Zack Braff, Guy Pearce and others. The film screens at 8:30 p.m.
In what might be the night’s most interesting entry, the 6:30 p.m. Red Carpet will also include David Starr, one of the subjects featured in investigative journalist David Farrier’s documentary “Tickled”. Farrier, a New Zealand-based TV and radio personality/reporter, known for his take on the more bizarre aspects of life, does just hat with “Tickled”, a doc that explores the strangely lucrative business of tickling as a fetish. Traveling to the U.S. to uncover the odd business, Farrier and his filmmaking partner Dylan Reeve find Starr, a former casting agent for a mid-90s fetish site featuring a performer known as “Terri Tickle”. Tickled” screens at 9:30 p.m. Click Here for tickles…um…tickets. With that, Thursday’s Red Carpet festivities come to a close. After all, how do you follow that sort of thing? “Want to find out? Be sure click the ‘subscribe’ tab located near the close of this article to sign up for free email alerts whenever new Nashville Entertainment content is published, or check back tomorrow for a full run-down of Red Carpet action for Friday, April 15 as the Nashville Film Festival continues.