2020 all-virtual Nashville Film Festival
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced film festival organizations to make a decision: Do we cancel? Or must the show go on?
While many film festivals decided to cancel or indefinitely postpone, the Nashville Film Festival (NashFilm) chose to reinvent — and quickly — the way it does things. For festival executive director Jason Padgitt, that meant creating a safe, all-virtual event that comes close to maintaining the same great energy of the physical event.
“There is so much value in this organization and the depth of talent in Tennessee. I had to make it work,” Padgitt said in a phone interview.
The 2020 edition of NashFilm, which celebrates its 51st anniversary this year, features live and pre-recorded content you can enjoy online from the comfort of your home, including digital screenings of more than 200 independent films from over 40 countries, filmmaker Q&As, creators conference panels and more. The event runs Oct. 1-7.
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Filmmakers and film lovers will be given unique opportunities to connect and enjoy digital screenings, panels, award ceremonies, filmmaker Q&As, musical performances and other original content online during the 2020 Nashville Film Festival. (Photo: Submitted)
The online format has been challenging to pull off, but Padgitt said it has enabled greater accessibility and new ways for filmmakers and fans to connect.
“Viewers have access to more content and more people than ever before. Without the constraints of travel and other physical limitations, over 50 filmmakers have signed on to participate in the virtual Q&As. Nowhere near that many could have participated in the physical festival.”
NashFilm also features a virtual edition of the popular music program, a 20th anniversary celebration of the film, “O Brother Where Art Thou,” and guided “virtual social opportunities.”
For more information about the events and to purchase tickets, visit nashvillefilmfestival.org.
EXO:DUS, detail of “Blood at the Root,” 2020, mixed media installation. (Photo: Aaron Mrozik)
Ongoing protests across the U.S. have forced Americans to reckon with their culpability in systemic racism and police brutality. If you’re motivated to continue broadening your awareness of these issues, “Blood at the Root,” opening on Oct. 1 at the Frist, offers viewers an opportunity to examine how issues of race and cultural heritage were — or were not — addressed in their own upbringings.
Created by interracial Nashville artist couple Elisheba Israel Mrozik and Aaron Mrozik, otherwise known as EXO-DUS, the installation immerses viewers in an eerily familiar domestic scene complete with furniture, household items, family portraits and audio recordings. A closer look reveals racist undertones hidden in plain sight — for instance, the eyes of people in many of the photographs have been replaced by what look like white flames.
Inspired by the recent protests, the artists created the installation to explore how implicit bias can develop over time in families.
“Paradigms and worldviews are not built in a day but slowly over time,” the artists said in an artist statement. “They hold us to our group and heritage, and in little ways inform our identity over time. White supremacy is no exception.”
The installation will be on view in the Frist’s Turner Courtyard 1-4 p.m. Thursdays-Sundays, Oct. 1-Nov. 1. Admission is free.
For more information, visit fristartmuseum.org.
“Please Post,” artist unknown, from Los Angeles, California, USA. (Photo: Courtesy of Jason Brown)
‘VOTE!! A Mail Art Project’
Social distancing measures and the USPS funding crisis have galvanized a revival of mail art. The tradition follows simple rules — create a work of art, add postage and mail it to someone. This year, mail-art opportunities have afforded sequestered artists a safe way to collaborate. They’ve also emerged as a way to support the struggling USPS and defend the role it will play in the 2020 presidential election, the results of which will be determined, in part, by a record number of mail-in votes.
“VOTE!! A Mail Art Project” is one such opportunity. Started by Nashville-based artist Jason Brown, the project aims to support the postal service while fostering a creative conversation about the importance of voting.
“This project allows us to think more broadly about democracy, why we vote and how it impacts us all,” Brown said in an email interview.
Mail art can take many forms, but it’s almost always counter-cultural in spirit, bucking the traditional art market and maintaining a democratic ethos of inclusivity. It’s what Brown loves about the tradition.
“All you need to be a mail artist is your imagination and a stamp,” he said.
Participation in “VOTE!! A Mail Art Project” is free and you can submit any medium in any size, as long as it can get through the postal system. The deadline is election day —submissions must be postmarked by Nov. 3.
After its completion, the project will be donated to the special collections at Vanderbilt University Library.
For more information, visit votemailart.wordpress.com.
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