by Stephen Lackey, NaFF Contributing Writer
This is a year of innovation and evolution for the Nashville Film Festival and it all started before the festival’s first day. In order to give more Tennessee filmmakers a chance to see their work screened before a live audience, NaFF experimented with a new event called the "Final Cut.” At NPT Studios, in a program sponsored by “Native” Magazine, the final seven films were screened to festival members, families and friends. The audience voted on their favorite film and the winner was given the last spot available to a local short film in the festival.
The winning short, Still Here, is about a man who believes he is living in a post-apocalyptic environment. The man sends out daily radio broadcasts searching for other survivors but more importantly these broadcasts are a way for him to document his existence. A group of hikers discover his broadcasts and one of them decides to tell the man the truth about his world.
We were able to chat with the directors of Still Here, David Lavender and Tyler Evans, about their film and their experience with the festival so far. The filmmakers say they always start with big ideas so the challenge for them was to take a complex story down to a base level: "Tyler and I have a tendency to think big and complex. We wanted to challenge ourselves to strip this story down as far as we could, and really just tell a fraction of it as well as possible. And since this was all self-financed, the minimalistic nature of it helped us, you know, not lose our shirts." David explained.
Still Here was totally a hometown production and the filmmakers were determined to start their festival run in Nashville: "We really wanted to be in our hometown film festival. We were both more or less born and raised here, and we thought NaFF would be a sweet goal to aim for. We filmed in December, then edited our faces off to finish in time for the extended NaFF deadline. It was totally NaFF or bust for us'"
The filmmakers weren't aware of the Final Cut initiative but they were definitely shocked when they were given the opportunity to be a part of it, "Being part of Final Cut was a good reality check – we still had a chance to get into NaFF, which was certainly preferable to having no chance at all. I hate that that sounds ungrateful – I think it's because we weren't aware of the Final Cut initiative, so when we got an email from NaFF that said "Congratulations!" ... we thought that was it, we were in. That being said, we were very grateful to be considered alongside some great directors.'” Tyler commented.
The Final Cut screening was the first time the filmmakers had screened Still Here for strangers. "The event (Final Cut screening) was run really well, and it was cool to see what other filmmakers in the state were up to. Lots of good folks all pulling for Nashville to take strides forward in film, and that's fun to be a part of."
The filmmakers are now most excited about seeing some "sweet films" at NaFF and meeting other filmmakers. Buy Tickets Here