Here is a selection of the photographs I shot using a Mini Diana Lomo camera, 35mm with natural light. You can see the whole roll on the Disco Facebook page so get yo butt over there!
Yesterday began with a brunch held for the filmmakers as part of closing the festival. Awards were handed out in the feature category and rightfully so to ‘Inuk’ for Best Film by a New Director and also for best Breakout Performance by the actor that played Inuk in the film. There were lots of honorary awards including 2 for feature film, Jess + Moss which I saw later that day.
Jess + Moss played at Sundance earlier in the year and started out life as a short, it then grew into a feature film as the small crew kept shooting without a script in Kentucky. It looked absolutely beautiful having been shot on partially expired and many different types of film stock. The freewheeling and experimental narrative wasn’t totally my thing but it was a really interesting and lyrical film.
I hung out for a bit to kill some time before heading to a Q&A with Gustavo Santaolalla, multi academy award winning composer of Brokeback Mountain, Amores Perros, 21 Grams, Babel and more, including most recently, Biutiful. The hour he spent talking and playing music on a small Latin instrument called a Ronroco, was completely captivating and poetic. He talked about getting a guitar at age five, about conquering different instruments and the simplicity, minimalism and silence in his music. He’s one of my very favourite composers, so it was amazing to hear him play and talk about his collaborations with Ang Lee, Innaritu and Walter Salles among others. I briefly got the chance to meet him and he was very humble and modest. Here he is in the studio with the Ronroco.
So next up was the big one, the final screening of Disco!
It was a really great screening, audience numbers were good and the film looked and sounded even better than the last screening. I’d like to thank Zack and the projectionist on that front as I asked them to crank up the volume, as a result I’ve never ever heard it sound so amazing.
Incredibly, after the program was finished, there was a demand for a repeat screening of ‘Disco’ as new audience members filed in. Despite being as late as 11pm, we screened the film again to a fresh audience. The feedback from the film was overwhelming and wonderful so I thank everyone that came out to see it here all three times including the bonus screening! Especially my fellow filmmakers who have made some absolutely brilliant films and their respect and opinion means so much to me.
After Disco we all went to Melrose for the ‘Septien’ after party, I’m seeing the film today so I don’t know much about it. All I know is, we went to easily the coolest place I’ve been since being in Nashville. Hank William’s apparently favourite hang out, it was a smoky, underground, speak easy pool hall. We listened to bands, played pool and drank and I had a great time.
Tonight is the closing night party, and I fly home tomorrow. It’s been a hell of an experience and I’d like to thank the 42nd Nashville Film Festival, 2AM Films, Virgin Media Shorts and all the filmmakers for their support. Most importantly however, thanks to all of you lot for reading this and being supportive and enthusiastic about the film, it is invaluable to me to know that people are excited about it.
I shot a roll of film documenting my week in Nashville and I’m off to Wallgreens to get a 1 hour photo on that bad boy . I’ll let you know how they turn out.
Until the next stop on the festival train!
PEAS UP A TOWN DOWN NASHVILLE
Yesterday was a very chilled out day, I walked down to Jack White’s record shop Third Man Records. It’s tucked away just beyond a building site and you have to buzz the door to be let in. Once inside, you get it instantly, the concept, the music, everything. Nearly all of the records have been recorded and pressed in the same building, there is a recording studio and live area in the back of the shop. The idea that you’re buying music that was made there is fantastic, especially as some of the stuff is pretty rare and most produced by White himself. I decided on the new ‘Greenhornes’ album, my fascination with them has grown since I heard them play with Holly Golightly on the ‘Broken Flowers’ soundtrack.
Next I rode the bus uptown to the festival where I saw ‘Inuk’ with a bunch of the filmmakers from the festival. It was brilliant. A huge achievement considering the hardships and challenges. Made for little money, with a small crew, out on the ice in greenland, shot in only 17 days the film is a genuine triumph of filmmaking over adversity. The writing and performances are great too, considering all the cast were local non actors. I’m not sure about UK distribution but keep your eye out for it.
After this we hung out at the tent where I met the festival director Brian and some other people that had seen Disco. It was really nice to hear from people that they liked it and found it funny and enjoyable.
Then I went inside the Gibson tour bus which is a massive thing complete with recording equipment and guitars (obvs). The driver was called Wiss and was an ex Black Sabbath roadie. I was entertained by the fact that the lights were snare drums and also that this thing could actually be driven around. It totally made me want to live on a bus full of guitar stuff.
Today there is a filmmaker brunch at 11am then the second screening of Disco takes place tonight at 9PM.The audiences are growing daily and the night slots seem to be getting more and more full, so fingers crossed we’ll have a great audience.
So yesterday was real good. I began the day by having the most amazing breakfast at the famous Nashville Pancake Pantry, it was called the Chef’s Medley and was the most delicious thing I’ve eaten since I’ve been here. Admitedly it’s less appetizing in photo form but trust me it was totally tasty yeah.
Next me and filmmakers Miguel, Rob and Eliza walked through Hillsboro for about an hour taking in suburban Nashville to get more of a sense of the place and it’s architecture. We walked to the festival which took about an hour, helped burn off the medley let me tell ya.
Next I basically saw a triple bill of films including Venice winner ‘Summer of Goliath’, Clio Barnard’s ‘The Arbor’ and finally ‘Le Quattro Volte’.
I was completely engaged with ‘The Arbor’, it was incredibly intense and dramatic. However ‘Le Quattro Volte’ was utterly magnificent. Masterful, in fact. I urge you to see it.
After the triple header, my eyes were sore but there just so happened to be a latin film party on in the VIP tent so I met up with some other filmmakers that I’ve gotten to know over the last few days including New Yorker Ron from Slamdance winning feature ‘Stranger Things’, Mike from inuit film ‘Inuk’ along with his producer and star Ole. Ole had flown in from Greenland where the film was shot and was embracing every opportunity to have fun and LOLS.
With this in mind, we decided it was about time we checked out a Honky Tonk bar and headed Downtown to Roberts. It was exactly what I had expected, great music, beer and cowboy boots lining the wall. And people actually wear cowboy hats. Properly. I actually started to feel weird not wearing one. I think I may buy one. It’ll help me fit in. Yep, I’ll buy one.
The music scene along these honky tonks is such that country musicians as prolific as Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton have played and still play there after big shows. They simply show up and take over, playing into the early hours with the band. There is a seat in ‘Tootsies’ permanently reserved for Nelson such is the dedication to these artists.
Last night however we saw the house band and couples took it in turns to take to the dance floor and two step.
Today I’m gonna head down 7th which is right next to my hotel, If I keep walking I’ll eventually get to Jack White’s record shop ‘Third Man Records’ which is way down from the razzle dazzle of Broadway. They release rare and limited vinyl presses so I’m hoping to pick something up as I’m a big fan of his work. Then I’m gonna see ‘Inuk’ which I’m really looking forward to!
So yesterday was super fun times. The screening went great, and the reaction to the film was brilliant too, people laughed and clapped which you kind of always hope for! It looked absolutely amazing up there on the big screen, I’ve never seen the 35mm print look so massive and awesome. It was playing in a program among other shorts loosely termed ‘Grow Up Already’. It was a real mixed bag in terms of the tone and I realised when Disco played, how proud I am of what we’ve created. Also, I realised how glad I am that it’s a film that seems to make people feel fuzzy and warm as opposed to sad and depressed. (Or at least I hope so). But the thing which I most often take away from watching the film, is the performances. I’m so proud of Bill, Izzy, Charlie, Lil, Louie, Mark and Bradley as well as everyone else that features in the film. Well done homies.
I’m looking forward to the screening on Wednesday now, when you feel the buzz of watching something you’ve made with an audience, you just want more, it’s very moreish.
Now look at everyone having fun with the token British guy!
Whey hey! So aside from the Disco screening, I watched a bunch of other stuff including cult filmmaker Monte Hellman’s new film ‘Road To Nowhere’ and Brian Crano’s ‘A Bag of Hammers’. I’d seen Crano’s short ‘Rubberheart’ a few years ago and really loved it, so it was great to come and see his first feature. I really enjoyed it and I think he’s definitely a director to keep an eye on.
So today I’ve got plenty to choose from including documentary An African Election as well as The Arbor, Le Quattro Volte, The Sleeping Beauty, Stranger Things and The Troll Hunter. First, though, I’m going to grab breakfast with a few New York based filmmakers at the historic Pancake Pantry. Apparently they have every type of Pancake ever invented. Incredible. I’m totally gonna have my pan-cake and eat it.
See you later yeah?
It’s 7 am here as I write and I can’t seem to shake off GMT (It’s 1pm in London) so I’ve decided to fill you in on my first day at the festival.
After sleeping off the gargantuan journey I got up and set about exploring downtown Nashville, my first screening wasn’t until four so I had a few hours to kill. I got Breakfast at this place called ‘Puckett’s Gro’. I had ham, eggs and gravy which was a new one on me. It was super delicious and a very manly restaurant. You could tell it was manly because the juice comes in JARS.
I loved it.
Next I took a stroll along Church and took a right on 5th Avenue down towards Broadway. As I walked I couldn’t help but notice that music was coming from somewhere on the street. My ears gravitated towards a small black, box shaped bin on the side of the road that was pumping out country music from a small speaker. Now that’s what I call rock n’ roll.
I continued to walk and as I did, several people I’d never met before said hello and asked how I was. It’s strange that we just don’t do this in London, but it’s so quiet and clean here, everyone is so warm and welcoming, that it feels easy and familiar. It certainly didn’t take long for me to catch on and I was basically high fiving strangers after that.
The charm and friendliness doesn’t stop with your average Nashville citizen, I ran into a few homeless people yesterday and they were equally courteous and polite. I later learned from the festival’s transport manager that they are some of America’s most well read homeless people, as they convene in public libraries throughout the day to keep warm. A side effect of this is that they must read inside and so have become incredibly well read. Apparently this leads to increasingly poetic and inventive methods of begging. Fascinating.
I headed down to the festival and picked up my passes. The lobby was littered with posters and filmmakers milling about. Aside from the usual publicity materials there seemed to be a slightly more extreme call for attention from the filmmakers behind feature sci fi ‘PIG’.
Throughout the day I saw a bunch of short films and I can honestly say that among them were some of the best shorts I’ve ever seen. Pick of the bunch was Eliza Hittman’s ‘Forever’s Gonna Start Tonight’ and Ariel Kleiman’s Sundance winner ‘Deeper Than Yesterday’ – both were excellent.
Another highlight was Cannes winner ‘Mary Last Seen’ which has been made into a feature called ‘Martha Marcy May Marlene’ if the short’s anything to go by it’ll be chilling and absolutely compelling.
So after the shorts were done there was a car shooting flames out it’s bum, outside on the red carpet. The car is called the Medusa and was featured in one of the films.
I’m starting to think I should’ve brought a disco ball. Or at least some Panda Pops.
Anyway after the flaming car incident, I sat down to watch ’13 Assassins’. Basically it was epic. I think my tweet about it kinda sums it up actually:
Today is the big day. Disco plays at 3pm Nashville time (9pm UK) and I cannot wait. The last couple of shorts on the program I saw yesterday were projected from 35mm prints and they looked spectacular so I’m sure Disco will look great.
I’M SO EXCITED.
After a 21 hour mammoth journey that went from London to Dallas to Nashville I have finally arrived in Nashville, Tennessee!
First up the journey itself. Tubes were suspended to Heathrow which sucked, but being a sensible traveler I made it in time. The flight from London to Dallas was pretty straightforward, happily I’d remembered the crucial ingredients to a successful flight.
I passed the time by watching David O. Russell’s ‘The Fighter’ which genuinely had me gripping my plastic tray table in the upright position. I thought it was incredible. Then I tried to stomach ‘Dinner for Schmucks’ and ‘Little Fockers’ but instead resorted to playing Crash Bandicoot and yawning.
The lovely lady sat next to me lent me a pen and sounded EXACTLY like Marge Gunderson from Fargo.
“Here ya go hon. Yoo knock yourself oot”
Next I got off at Dallas only to discover a huge queue for customs and only 45 minutes to board my connecting flight. Needless to say it was mental, I ran for miles with my shoelaces untied, flinging two bags and my belt around (hadn’t had time to redress myself after security). I then boarded a Sky Train to my Terminal and hit the desk, in true Hollywood fashion, with one minute to spare. Panting, red and sweating like a loon, I handed over my boarding card, a smile plastered to my face.
“You’re in the right place. About two hours to departure. Sorry for the delay.”
Apparently a Tornado had struck in Nashville. A Tornado…
Two hours later I boarded my flight to Nashville.
This was pretty much uneventful, aside from the fact that everyone seemed really welcoming and friendly. I was really starting to look forward to exploring the city.
As we came down to land, a huge thunderstorm hit the clouds outside, illuminating them in bursts, it was really cool. The man next to me was watching ‘Taken’ with Liam Neeson so he didn’t seem too bothered.
When I arrived I was driven to my hotel by a man named Robert, born and raised in Nashville. It was a chance meeting and me being awake for nearly 20 straight hours, I immediately obliged when he offered to take me in his cab.
We drove downtown and cruised along Broadway, which houses, or so I’m told, some of the finest live bluegrass and country music venues in America. Can’t wait to check them out.
Finally I arrived at the check in desk, absolutely shattered when I ran into Joe, a guy that works at the hotel. He told me that a bunch of people from the festival are staying here and asked a bit about the film. It was then that I started getting really excited, on Sunday I get to see Disco for the first time in front of a paying audience. What with all the commotion I’d almost forgotten.
With this rush of adrenaline I hit my pillow and smashed into sleep.
Today I’m gonna go grab some breakfast, go down to the festival and see whats happening. Tonight I’m seeing Takeshi Miike’s new film ’13 Assassins’. I loved ‘Audition’ so I have high hopes.
Stay tuned for more gossip!