The Nashville Film Festival (NaFF) announced the Special Presentations line-up for the 45th annual Festival, taking place April 17 to 26th 2014. Films on opening day include the World Premiere of THE IDENTICAL directed by Dustin Marcellino and starring Blake Rayne, Ashley Judd, Ray Liotta, Seth Green, Joe Pantoliano, Amanda Crew, Brian Geraghty. THE IDENTICAL is the story of a young couple, who give birth to identical twin boys in the depths of the Great Depression. Unable to care for both, the couple gives one son to be raised and adopted by an evangelist minister and his wife. The film tells the story of the separated twins, Drexel Hemsley and Ryan Wade, and the very different lives they lead–different except for a shared passion for music. Other films include the Tennessee Premiere of CHASING GHOSTS directed by Josh Shreve, and THE CASE AGAINST 8 directed by Ben Cotner and Ryan White.
Brian Owens, NaFF’s Artistic Director, programmed Opening Day with Nashville in mind. These are films made in or near the city, by a Tennessee filmmaker, or by a filmmaker well-loved by the NaFF festival audience.
Opening Day Selections:
The Identical | Director: Dustin Marcellino. USA. 88 minutes.
Starring: Blake Rayne, Ashley Judd, Ray Liotta, Seth Green, Joe Pantoliano, Amanda Crew, Brian Geraghty
The Identical is the story of a young couple, who give birth to identical twin boys in the depths of the Great Depression. Unable to care for both, the couple gives one son to be raised and adopted by an evangelist minister and his wife. The film tells the story of the separated twins, Drexel Hemsley and Ryan Wade, and the very different lives they lead–different except for a shared passion for music. WORLD PREMIERE.
Chasing Ghosts | Director: Josh Shreve. USA. 93 minutes.
Starring: Toby Nichols, Frances Conroy, Robyn Lively, W. Earl Brown, Tim Meadows.
Lucas, an eleven-year-old boy mourning his brother’s death, seeks answers by filming funerals. When his camera captures something unexpected and extraordinary, he and his family are thrust into the spotlight and he forms an unlikely friendship with an author who survived a near-death experience. TENNESSEE PREMIERE.
The Case Against 8 | Directors: Ben Cotner, Ryan White. USA. 112 minutes.
Shot over five years, this behind-the-scenes look at the case against California’s Proposition 8, follows the unlikely team that took the first federal marriage equality lawsuit to the U.S. Supreme Court. TENNESSEE PREMIERE.
TN Shorts 1 & 2 – A selection of Tennessee Shorts, to be announced in a later release
American Commune | Directors: Rena Mundo Croshere, Nadine Mundo. USA. 90 minutes.
Raised on The Farm by a Jewish mother form Beverly Hills and a Puerto Rican father from the Bronx, filmmakers and sisters Rena and Nadine Mundo return to the rural Tennessee commune for the first time since leaving in 1985. Ready to face their past after years of hiding their unique upbringing, they chart the rise and fall of America’s largest utopian experiment. TENNESEE PREMIERE.
Dom Hemingway | Director: Richard Shepard. United Kingdom. 93 minutes.
Starring: Jude Law, Emilia Clarke, Kerry Condon, Richard E. Grant, Demian Bichir.
After spending 12 years in prison for keeping his mouth shut, notorious safe-cracker Dom Hemingway is back on the streets of London looking to collect what he’s owed. TENNESSEE PREMIERE. A Fox Searchlight Release.
Field of Lost Shoes | Director: Sean McNamara. USA. 94 minutes.
Starring: Luke Benward, Lauren Holly, Nolan Gould, Max Lloyd-Jones, Jason Isaacs, David Arquette, Keith David, Gale Harold, Zach Roerig, Tom Skerritt.
Based on a true story of the American Civil War, culminating at the Battle of New Market, May 1864, a group of teenage cadets sheltered from war at the Virginia Military Institute must confront the horrors of an adult world when they are called upon to defend the Shenandoah Valley. Leaving behind their youth, these cadets must decide what they are fighting for. WORLD PREMIERE.
Happy Christmas | Director: Joe Swanberg. USA. 78 minutes.
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Lena Dunham, Melanie Lynskey, Joe Swanberg, Mark Webber.
Irresponsible 20-something Jenny arrives in Chicago to live with her older brother Jeff, a young film-maker living a happy existence with his novelist wife Kelly and their two-year-old son. Jenny’s arrival shakes up their quiet domesticity as she and her friend Carson instigate an evolution in Kelly’s life and career. SOUTHEAST PREMIERE. A Magnolia Pictures Release.
Ida | Director: Pawel Pawilkowski. Poland. 80 minutes.
Starring: Agata Trzebuchowska, Agata Kulesza, Dawid Ogrodnik, Jerzy Trela, Adam Szyszkowski.
18-year old Anna, a sheltered orphan raised in a convent, is preparing to become a nun when the Mother Superior insists she first visit her sole living relative, her Aunt Wanda – a worldly and cynical Communist Party insider, who shocks her with the declaration that her real name is Ida and her Jewish parents were murdered during the Nazi occupation. This revelation triggers a heart-wrenching journey into the countryside, to the family house and into the secrets of a repressed past. TENNESSEE PREMIERE. A Music Box Films Release.
Locke | Director: Steven Knight. United Kingdom. 85 minutes.
Starring: Tom Hardy.
Ivan Locke has worked diligently to craft the life he has envisioned, dedicating himself to the job that he loves and the family he adores. On the eve of the biggest challenge of his career, Ivan receives a phone call that sets in motion a series of events that will unravel his family, job, and soul. TENNESSEE PREMIERE. An A24 Release.
Lucky Them | Director: Megan Griffiths. USA. 97 minutes. CLOSING NIGHT SELECTION.
Starring: Toni Collette, Ryan Eggold, Thomas Haden Church, Ahna O’Reilly, Oliver Platt, Amy Seimetz
More interested in partying and flirting with young musicians than work, veteran rock journalist Ellie Klug has one last chance to prove her value to her magazine’s editor: a no-stone-unturned search to discover what really happened to long lost rock god, Matt Smith, who also happens to be her ex-boyfriend. Teaming up with an eccentric amateur documentary filmmaker, Ellie hits the road in search of answers in this charming dramedy set against the vibrant Seattle indie music scene. SOUTHEAST US PREMIERE.An IFC Films Release.
Obvious Child | Director: Gillian Robespierre. USA. 83 minutes.
Starring: Jenny Slate, Gaby Hoffmann, Jake Lacy, David Cross, Richard Kind.
For aspiring comedian Donna Stern, everyday life as a female twenty-something provides ample material for her incredibly relatable brand of humor. On stage, Donna is unapologetically herself, joking about topics as intimate as her sex life and as crude as her day-old underwear. But when Donna gets dumped, loses her job, and finds herself pregnant just in time for Valentine’s Day, she has to navigate the murky waters of independent adulthood for the first time. TENNESSEE PREMIERE. An A24 Release.
Words and Pictures | Director: Fred Schepisi. USA. 111 minutes.
Starring: Clive Owen, Juliette Binoche, Amy Brenneman, Bruce Davison, Keegan Connor Tracy.
Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche headline this playfully comedic drama about an English teacher who challenges the school’s art teacher to a battle of wits. Jack Marcus is annoyed by his students’ obsessions with good grades over actual learning. Once a thriving novelist, Jack hasn’t published in years and has a tendency to drink his frustrations away. Dina Delsanto is an abstract painter who, like Jack, once was celebrated for her art. Her arthritis has made the act of painting too painful. With teacher reviews impending, Jack decides to inspire the English students by declaring “war” on pictures, believing that the written word gives more meaning to life. Dina accepts Jack’s challenge and the battle begins. TENNESSEE PREMIERE.
The Amazing Catfish | Director: Claudia Sainte-Luce. Mexico. 89 minutes.
Starring: Lisa Owen, Ximena Ayala, Sonia Franco, Wendy Guillen.
Lonely young twenty-something Claudia, meets ailing matriarch Martha in a hospital room after Claudia is admitted with appendicitis. The women bond over a shared bag of potato chips. Martha has four kids from three different fathers. Claudia has been alone all her life. When Martha spots Claudia walking home after her surgery, she offers her a ride in her over-crowded Beetle – and their lives will never be the same. TENNESSEE PREMIERE.
Butter on the Latch | Director: Josephine Baker. USA. 63 minutes.
Starring: Isolde Chae-Lawrence, Stephan Goldbach, Charlie Hewson, Sarah Small.
Sarah reunites with her old friend Isolde at a Balkan folk song and dance camp in the woods outside Mendocino, California. They sing a song she learned years before about dragons who entwine themselves in women’s hair, carrying them off through the forest, burning it as they go. When Sarah pursues fellow camper Steph, her nights of secrets and singing with Isolde come to an abrupt end. TENNESSEE PREMIERE.
The Enemy Within | Director: Yorgos Tsemperopoulos. Greece. 107 minutes.
Starring: Manolis Mavromatakis, Maria Zorba, Ilias Moulas, Thanasis Papageorgiou.
Kostas is a progressive ideologist living a good life with his wife, son and daughter and running a successful flower shop despite the turmoil of the Greek economy. When their home is invaded by a gang of thieves, the violence shatters his family’s peace. Morally demolished, Kostas struggles to get his family back to normal. US PREMIERE.
Long Way Home | Director: Gergory Hadden. Sweden / USA. 87 minutes.
Starring: Elizabeth Cook, Viktor Åkerblom, Jason Alexander, Phil “The Mangler” Kaufman, Rhondi Reed.
When Nashville star Molly Rhodes meets Swedish music producer Vincent Deuce, their plan is to create a new genre from scratch – Super-Country. Their new single, “This Is Not Your Country,” becomes a hit, but Molly isn’t convinced that this blend of country and Swedish House music is the best direction for her career. NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE.
Manakamana | Director: Stephanie Spray, Pacho Velez. Nepal / USA. 117 minutes.
From the makers of Leviathan, comes this sensorial documentary that takes us on a cable-car ride up and down the vast landscapes of Nepal’s Trisuli valley, where the world-famous Manakamana Temple attracts Buddhist pilgrims from around the world. TENNESSEE PREMIERE. A Cinema Guild Release.
Metro Manila | Director: Sean Ellis. United Kingdom / Philippines. 115 minutes.
Starring: Jake Macapagal, Althea Vega, John Arcilla.
Seeking a brighter future in megacity Manila, Oscar and his family flee their life in the rice fields of the northern Philippines. But the capital’s intensity quickly overwhelms them, and they fall prey to the rampant manipulations of the locals. Oscar catches a break when he’s offered steady work for an armored truck company. Soon, the reality of his job’s danger sets in and Oscar must confront the perils he faces in his new life. TENNESSEE PREMIERE. An Oscilloscope Release.
A Story of Children and Film | Director: Mark Cousins. United Kingdom / France. 101 minutes.
Following up his epic documentary The Story of Film: An Odyssey, Mark Cousins presents a globe-spanning rumination on the way the lives of children are presented in cinema, surveying such classics as E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, The 400 Blows, Fanny and Alexander, Los Olvidados, andThe White Balloon. TENNESSEE PREMIERE.
Vic + Flo Saw a Bear | Director: Denis Côté. Canada. 95 minutes.
Starring: Pierrette Robitaille, Romane Bohringer, Marc-André Grondin.
Victoria and Florence are two ex-cons trying to make a new life for themselves in the backwoods of northern Quebec. Seeking peace and quiet, the couple slowly begin to feel under siege as Vic’s parole officer keeps unexpectedly popping up and a strange neighborhood woman turns out to be a menacing presence from Flo’s past. TENNESSEE PREMIERE.A Kimstim release.
When the World’s On Fire | Director: James Clauer. USA. 70 minutes.
Starring: James Cooke, Joshua Elrod, Leo Kling, Travis Nicholson.
Javier, a Guatamalan immigrant, finds himself homeless and living on the fringes of society in a hardscrabble Southern city. With his loyal dog as his companion, Javier encounters a revolving cast of charcaters, each more colorful than the last – rugged souls trying to break free from their suffocating predicaments and hoping to catch some glimmer of their American Dream. TENNESSEE PREMIERE.