Knoxville Film Fest highlights artists

By Mitch Moore, Celebrate Knoxville Contributing Writer.
The Second Annual Knoxville Film Festival, four days of pure cinematic bliss for lovers of independent film ran September 11-14, 2014 at Regal Cinemas Downtown West Theater.

Highlights included the opening-night screening and Knoxville premier of the film Something, Anything, which was produced locally by Nest Features and written and directed by local filmmakers Paul Harrill and Ashley Maynor. Prior to the screening, the festival bestowed its Lifetime Achievement Award to local television pioneer Ross K. Bagwell, Sr., who was an executive producer of Something, Anything.

photo 1

A full house awaits the start of the 2014 Knoxville Film Festival’s opening-night film, Something, Anything. Photo by Mitch Moore for Celebrate Knoxville.

Other highlights of the weekend included panel discussions on the advantages of shooting film projects in Knoxville as well as a one-on-one conversation between festival director Keith McDaniel and Knoxville-born actress Dale Dickey, best known for her roles in My Name Is Earl, Winter’s Bone and True Blood.

“It meant a lot to us to have Dale here this weekend,” McDaniel says. “She not only participated in the workshop, but she hung out with us all four days, attending screenings and interacting with her fans.”

Throughout the festival, dozens of short and feature-length films, both narrative and documentary, were shown on two of Downtown West’s screens. Filmmakers represented not just the best of the local and statewide film communities but also artists from around the country and even overseas. One participating filmmaker actually hailed from Italy.

“We had a bunch of filmmakers show up that I wasn’t even expecting to be here,” McDaniel says. “I think that’s an indication that this festival is gaining a reputation for showing quality work and treating its filmmakers right.”

On Saturday night, the festival screened entries from the Seven-Day Shootout competition, in which 30 teams of filmmakers had one week to write, shoot, edit and deliver a seven-minute film. Twenty-five teams completed the feat, which took place in August.

On Sunday evening, more than 30 awards were handed out, both to the best of the festival’s general entries as well as to the highest achievers of the Seven-Day Shootout films.

photo 2 (1)

Knoxville Film Festival director Keith McDaniel hosts a one-on-one conversation with actress Dale Dickey. Photo by Mitch Moore.