As the 2016 Nashville Film Festival moves into the second half of its ten-day run on Tuesday April 19, word of mouth has begun to spread about films that have already enjoyed their first screening, making their second screenings must-see events. “Five Nights in Main” is one such film. Of course NaFF still has five days to go so there’s still plenty of films like “Hunky Dory” and “To Keep the Light” making not only their Nashville Film Festival debuts, but also taking their turn on the Red Carpet.
On the Red Carpet and on the screen
Up first on the Red Carpet at 5:30 p.m. will be “Hunky Dory” director/producer/screenwriter Tom Michael Curtis Johnson and producer/screenwriter/star Tom Pais. At first, “Hunky Dory” seems simply to be the story of Sidney (Pais) a down-on-his-luck wanna be LA glam rock wannabe who makes ends meet by scamming friend and family and working for tips as a drag queen in a dive bar. Things take a more poignant turn when his ex-girlfriend drops off their 11-year-old son for an unexpected visit, then simply doesn’t return. Even though he and his young son has always enjoyed a great friendship, the sudden reality of responsibility forces Sidney into a further downward spiral, putting at risk one of the only people who’s ever loved him unconditionally.
Johnson, a graduate of the American Film Institute, in a recent guest blog for Filmmaker Magazine, revealed, “Tomas Pais and I channeled our LA experiences into a project that took elements from both our lives (like my relationship with my kids and his relationship with his own dad) to create a tale about an unconventional father who can’t grow up and let go of his rock-and-roll dreams. We begged friends and family for funding and favors and set out to tell a tale about a man who walks in LA, struggling with the fear of mediocrity and raising a child while coming-of-age himself.” Following tonight’s Red Carpet appearance, then filmmakers will be present for a 6 p.m. screening as well as a post-screening Q&A. Click Here for tickets.
Also on the Red Carpet Tuesday night, at 6 p.m. will be director/writer/producer/star Erica Fae and associate producers Jordan Fletcher and Cary Stuart of “To Keep the Light”. Shot on an island off the coast of Maine, “To Keep the Light” takes place in 1876 and focuses on Abbie Burgess (Fae) whose husband falls ill, necessitating Abbie to take the responsibility of tending to a lighthouse on a remote island. Not only does this force Abbie to assume leadership in the work, but also in her relationship, causing her to confront inner tumult as rough as waters of the sea she hopes to keep safely lit for passing ships.
Inspired by true stories of female lighthouse keepers, who like the fictional Abbie, took the responsibility of working lighthouses when their husbands or fathers died, or took ill, the filmmakers literally and figuratively shine a light on these well-before-their-time feminist trailblazers. “To Keep the Light” screens at 8 p.m. followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers. Click Here for tickets.
Best of the Fest for Day 6
Having seen “Five Nights in Maine” play to a packed theater during its debut screening on Monday, the film’s second screening on Tuesday April 19 at 3:30 p.m. gets my Best of the Fest pick for Day 6. Delicately peppered with both humor and heart, director/writer Maris Curran has woven together a “Terms of Endearment” for a new generation. Upon learning the news of her oft-estranged daughter’s sudden and tragic death, Lucinda (Dianne Wiest) invites her son-in-law Sherwin (David Oyelowo) to visit. Lost and uncertain of life without his wife, Sherwin unexpectedly sets out to visits his mother-in-law. Once there, he witness a woman fragile, yet still domineering. Initially the two bicker and basically avoid each other, but eventually they begin to bond in their shared grief.
Beautifully filmed by cinematographer Sofian El Fani, the audience is reminded that autumn in Maine is simply gorgeous. Even more than that, there’s a scene in which Oyelowo’s Sherwin is sitting on the front steps of Lucinda’s house and a ladybug lands on his hand. As the ladybug walks the path of his lifeline, the shot in intercut with a memory of Sherwin tracing his hand around his wife’s face. Then, as quickly as the memory fades, the ladybug flies away. A stunning exemplification of life’s fleeting existence. Click Here for tickets to “Five Nights in Maine”‘s encore screening.
As always, NaFF has a full schedule of features, documentaries and shorts screening on Day 6 of the festival. Click Here for the full schedule or to purchase individual movie tickets.
If you’ve enjoyed this preview of Day 6 of Nashville Film Festival, be sure and click the ‘subscribe’ tab located near the close of this article to sign up for free email alerts whenever new content is published, or check back tomorrow for details about Day 7’s Red Carpet schedule, as well as my picks for the day’s Best of the Fest.