A Perfectly Normal Family, directed by Malou Reymann
A Perfectly Normal Family, directed by Malou Reymann

Nashville Film Festival announced its official program selections for its Narrative Features, New Director Features and Documentary Features Competition programs for the 51st edition of the festival, taking place virtually from October 1-7, 2020.

Selections for the Narrative Features competition include A Perfectly Normal Family, Contactado, Cowboys, Electric Jesus, Kuessipan, Materna, Minyan, One of These Days, Our Own and The Outside Story. Selections for the New Director Features competition include A Dog’s Death (La Muerte de un Perro), Milkwater, Moving On, Raf, Tahara and The Night of the Beast (La Noche de la Bestia). Selections for the Documentary Features competition include Born To Be, Finding Yingying, Medicine Man: The Stan Brock Story, Sapelo, The Donut King, The Mystery of D.B. Cooper, The Reunited States, Two Gods, We Don’t Deserve Dogs and Wildflower. The films represent a diverse range of stories from across the world and a variety of backgrounds and perspectives.

“These films span 14 countries and a range of complex narrative and real life stories,” said Lauren Ponto, programming manager of the Nashville Film Festival. “Connection is more important now than ever, and each of these films and their characters and subjects offers people a sense of community, comfort and perspectives through a lens they may not have seen before.”

NARRATIVE FEATURES COMPETITION PROGRAM

A Perfectly Normal Family, directed by Malou Reymann

Synopsis: Emma (11) has a perfectly normal family until one day it turns out her dad, Thomas, is transgender. As Thomas becomes Agnete, both father and daughter struggle to hold on to what they had, while accepting that everything has changed.
Cast: Kaya Toft Loholt, Mikkel Boe Følsgaard, Rigmor Ranthe, Neel Rønhol
Premiere Status: Tennessee Premiere
Country: Denmark

Contactado, directed by Marite Ugas

Synopsis: ALDO, a reclusive man, is enticed by a young man, who claims to be a follower, into preaching again. He is weary of reliving his past as a Contactee, the leader of a famous UFO cult. When vanity overcomes his fear, the ambitious young man will turn the tables on him.
Cast: Baldomero Cáceres, Miguel Dávalos
Premiere Status: Southeast Premiere
Country: Peru

Cowboys, directed by Anna Kerrigan

Synopsis: In rural Western Montana, a troubled but well-intentioned father tries to liberate his young transgender son by taking him to Canada.
Cast: Steve Zahn, Jillian Bell, Sasha Knight, Ann Dowd, Gary Farmer, Chris Coy, John Reynolds, Bob Stephenson
Premiere Status: Southeast Premiere
Country: USA

Electric Jesus, directed by Chris White

Synopsis: Alabama preacher’s daughter runs off with a touring Xian hair metal band during the summer of 1986.
Cast: Brian Baumgartner, Judd Nelson, Andrew Eakle, Shannon Hutchinson, Wyatt Lenhart, Gunner Willis, Will Oliver, Caleb Hoffmann
Premiere Status: Tennessee Premiere
Country: USA

Kuessipan, directed by Myriam VERREAULT

Synopsis: Two girls grow up as best friends in an Innu community. While Mikuan has a loving family, Shaniss is picking up the pieces of her shattered childhood. As children, they promised each other to stick together no matter what. But as they’re about to turn 17, their friendship is shaken when Mikuan falls for a white boy, and starts dreaming of leaving the reserve that’s now too small for her dreams.
Cast: Sharon FONTAINE-ISHPATAO, Yamie GRÉGOIRE, Étienne GALLOY, Cédrick AMBROISE, Caroline VACHON, Mike INNU PAPU MCKENZIE, Douglas GRÉGOIRE, Brigitte POUPART
Premiere Status: Tennessee Premiere
Country: Canada

Materna, directed by David Gutnik

Synopsis: A closely observed psychological portrait of four women, whose lives are bound together by an incident on the New York City subway.
Cast: Kate Lyn Sheil, Jade Eshete, Assol Abdullina, Lindsay Burdge, Rory Culkin, Sturgill Simpson, Michael Chernus
Premiere Status: Southeast Premiere
Country: USA

Minyan, directed by Eric Steel

Synopsis: In 1980s Brooklyn, a Russian Jewish teenager wrestles with his identity, faith, and sexuality, all of which seem irreconcilable until he befriends two closeted men in his grandfather’s senior housing complex.
Cast: Samuel H. Levine, Ron Rifkin, Christopher McCann, Mark Margolis, Richard Topol, Brooke Bloom, Alex Hurt
Premiere Status: Tennessee Premiere
Country: USA

One of These Days, directed by Bastian Günther

Synopsis: In a small US southern town, the annual ‘Hands On’ endurance contest offers the chance of a lifetime to win a brand-new pickup truck. Each contestant has their own reasons for entering, but the true cost of the competition is higher than it appears.
Cast: Carrie Preston, Joe Cole, Callie Hernandez
Premiere Status: US Premiere
Country: Germany

Our Own, directed by Jeanne Leblanc

Synopsis: When faced with life’s challenges, Ste-Adeline’s community has always stuck together. But this time, a scandal sends shockwaves through the quiet little town’s very foundation, testing its inhabitants. At the center of the storm are Magalie, a teenager with a girlish pout; Manuel, the foster child of the beloved mayor; and Isabelle and Chantale, the powerless yet protective mothers. In Ste-Adeline, appearances are deceptive. And the town’s carefully maintained social veneer will come to crack, slowly revealing the true nature of its residents.
Cast: émilie Bierre
Premiere Status: Tennessee Premiere
Country: Canada

The Outside Story, directed by Casimir Nozkowski

Synopsis: After locking himself out of his apartment, an introverted, heartbroken editor finds himself on an epic journey up, down and around his block with life-altering ramifications.
Cast: Brain Tyree Henry, Sonequa Martin-Green, Asia Kate Dillon, Sunita Mani, Olivia Edward Maria Dizzia, Michael Cyril Creighton
Premiere Status: Tennessee Premiere
Country: USA

NEW DIRECTOR FEATURES COMPETITION PROGRAM

A Dog’s Death (La Muerte de un Perro), directed by Matías Ganz

Synopsis: Silvia and Mario enjoy a bourgeois life in Montevideo, until two events disrupt their peaceful life. A dog surgery goes wrong for Mario and Silvia discovers retirement. They will then be dragged from paranoia to violence and from violence to nonsense.
Cast: Guillermo Arengo, Pelusa Vidal, Soledad Gilmet, Lalo Rotaveria, Ruth Sandoval, Ana Katz
Premiere Status: Tennessee Premiere
Country: Uruguay, France and Argentina

Milkwater, directed by Morgan Ingari

Synopsis: Seeking direction and purpose, Milo (Molly Bernard) rashly decides to become a surrogate and egg donor for an older gay man she meets in a bar (Patrick Breen). However, as Milo becomes increasingly attached to him, she starts leveraging the pregnancy as a means of staying embedded in his life.
Cast: Molly Bernard, Patrick Breen, Robin DeJesus, Jiggly Caliente, Brita Filter, Ava Eisenson, Ade Otukoya
Premiere Status: Southeast Premiere
Country: USA

Moving On, directed by YOON Dan-bi

Synopsis: Okju and Dongju move into their grandpa’s house during their summer vacation after their father went broke. While young Dongju well adapts to his new home, Okju rather feels awkward about this new environment. Soon after their soon-to-be-divorced aunt also moves in, and as Okju spends time with her family, the house and her grandpa are starting to grow on her. However, when her grandpa gets sick, father and aunt decide to send him to the sanatorium and sell the house.
Cast: CHOI Jung-un, YANG Heung-ju, PARK Hyeon-yeong, PARK Seung-jun
Premiere Status: US Premiere
Country: Korea

Raf, directed by Harry Cepka

Synopsis: In the twilight of her 20s, Raf works two jobs and spends her free time playing board games with her boyfriend’s roommates. Privately, she fantasizes of a life of performance art and dance clubs. Through several chance encounters, Raf makes friends with a charismatic and wealthy woman named Tal. Raf becomes infatuated with Tal’s take-no-prisoners lifestyle. With Tal as her guide, Raf begins to see a new vision of herself, until a humiliating weekend at Tal’s country home reveals the true power balance between them.
Cast: Grace Glowicki, Jesse Stanley
Premiere Status: Southeast Premiere
Country: Canada

Tahara, directed by Olivia Piece

Synopsis: A queer, coming-of-age drama set in Rochester, NY about an anxious teen girl who is manipulated into a romantic encounter with her best friend during the funeral service of their former Hebrew school classmate.
Cast: Madeline Grey DeFreece, Rachel Sennott, Daniel Taveras, Shlomit Azoulay, Bernadette Quigley
Premiere Status: Tennessee Premiere
Country: USA

The Night of the Beast (La Noche de la Bestia), directed by Mauricio Leiva Cock

Synopsis: Using some of Iron Maiden’s most famous tracks, such as Aces High or The Trooper, Mauricio Leiva-Cock tells the story of two young metalheads coasting aimlessly through Bogota’s alleys on the day of Iron Maiden’s first-ever concert in Colombia. Their day is wrecked and their friendship is tested when hoodlums steal their most valued possession: the tickets to see their favorite band perform live.
Cast: Daniel Reyes, Esteban Galindo, Edna Paredes, Verónica Mosquera, Jairo Vargas, Yaima Morfa
Premiere Status: US Premiere
Country: Colombia/Mexico

DOCUMENTARY FEATURES COMPETITION PROGRAM

Born To Be, directed by Tania Cypriano

Synopsis: BORN TO BE follows the work of Dr. Jess Ting at the groundbreaking Mount Sinai Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery in New York City–where, for the first time ever, all transgender and gender non-conforming people have access to quality transition-related health and surgical care. With extraordinary access, this feature-length documentary takes an intimate look at how one doctor’s work impacts the lives of his patients as well as how his journey from renowned plastic surgeon to pioneering gender-affirming surgeon has led to his own transformation.
Cast: Jess Ting, Mahogany Phillips, Garnet Rubio, Cashmere Vassor, Jordan Rubenstein, Al Rubenstein, Shawn Kamari Frederick Sr.
Premiere Status: Southeast Premiere
Country: USA

Finding Yingying, directed by Jiayan “Jenny” Shi

Synopsis: After a young Chinese student goes missing on a university campus, her family travels to the U.S. for the first time. While unraveling the mystery of her disappearance, they discover how much her life has touched others.
Cast: Ronggao Zhang, Yeli Feng, Xiaolin Hou, Xinyang Zhang
Premiere Status: Southeast Premiere
Country: USA

Medicine Man: The Stan Brock Story, directed by Paul Michael Angell

Synopsis: A documentary adventure recounting the incredible life story of British-born Amazonian cowboy turned US TV star, Stan Brock, who sacrificed everything to bring free healthcare to people in need. At once a heart-warming tribute to the unifying power of volunteerism, and an exploration of a perennial outsider’s search for meaning through giving of himself. This film is a challenging and inspirational tale of an unlikely man on an improbable and unwavering mission to resolve one of the biggest social issues of our time; the US healthcare crisis.
Cast: Stan Brock
Premiere Status: World Premiere
Country: UK

Sapelo, directed by Nick Brandestini

Synopsis: Sapelo is a documentary that journeys within a unique American island to tell the story of its matriarchal griot, Cornelia Walker Bailey, and her adopted sons coming of age in the last remaining enclave of the Saltwater Geechee people.
Cast: Cornelia Walker Bailey
Premiere Status: Southeast Premiere
Country: Switzerland

The Donut King, directed by Alice Gu

Synopsis: The Donut King’s story is one of fate, love, survival, hard knocks, and redemption. It’s the rags to riches story of a refugee escaping Cambodia, arriving in America in 1975 and building an unlikely multi-million dollar empire baking America’s favorite pastry, the donut.
Cast: Ted Ngoy
Premiere Status: Tennessee Premiere
Country: USA

The Mystery of D.B. Cooper, directed by John Dower

Synopsis: This is the extraordinary tale of the only unsolved commercial airplane hijacking in US history, an audacious heist that has taunted the FBI for decades. This feature-length documentary explores the stories of several key suspects, and the hijacking itself, through first-hand testimony, archive and original drama.
Premiere Status: Tennessee Premiere
Country: UK/USA

The Reunited States, directed by Ben Rekhi

Synopsis: While the country is split into two warring factions, The Reunited States is an urgent documentary that follows four everyday heroes on the difficult journey of bridging our political divides. Along the way, each of these bridge-builders face immense challenges and make incredible sacrifices in their effort to bring both sides of the country together, realizing our divisions run deeper than they ever could have imagined. Based on the book of the same name, the film urges audiences to consider that when it comes to polarization, we are all either part of the problem or part of the solution.
Cast: Susan Bro, David Leaverton, Erin Leaverton, Steven Olikara, Greg Orman
Premiere Status: Southeast Premiere
Country: USA

Two Gods, directed by Zeshawn Ali

Synopsis: Hanif is a Muslim casket maker and ritual body washer in Newark, NJ He mentors two kids— Furquan, a confident 12- year-old who comes from a rough home and Naz, a 17-year-old who has been fighting through his own struggles as a young black man growing up in Newark. Hardship comes when Furquan’s home life becomes more turbulent and Naz gets caught up in a serious arrest. Hanif fears he has failed as a mentor and begins to fall into a downward spiral. During each of their darkest moments, they take what they’ve learned from their pasts and from each other to pull through. And through faith, brotherhood and redemption they find their purpose.
Cast: Hanif Muhammad, Furquan Maynard, Nazir Powell
Premiere Status: Tennessee Premiere
Country: USA

We Don’t Deserve Dogs, directed by Matthew Salleh

Synopsis: A contemplative odyssey across our planet, looking at the simple and extraordinary ways that dogs influence our daily lives. People need dogs, and perhaps they need us, but what do humans do to deserve the unconditional love they provide?
Cast: Akumu Filda, Maarit Haapasaari, Hugh “Shug” Harkness
Premiere Status: Tennessee Premiere
Country: USA

Wildflower, directed by Matt Smukler

Synopsis: A high school honors student and track & field star must decide whether to leave for college or stay at home with her mentally handicapped parents.
Cast: Christina Stahl, Sheila Stahl, Mike Stahl
Premiere Status: World Premiere
Country: USA

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