‘The Intouchables’ and ‘Beauty is Embarrassing’ Grab Audience Awards as Nashville Film Festival presented by Nissan Wraps
43rd Edition of Longest-Running Festival in the South Edges Past Attendance Record; Gets lift from Tennessee-centric Opening Day, visits from Nicole Kidman, Famke Janssen, Lizzy Caplan and more.
The 43rd Edition of the Nashville Film Festival presented by Nissan wrapped last night with a closing night party at the W.O. Smith School and the announcement that the “The Intouchables” and “Beauty is Embarrassing” grabbed the two major Southwest Airlines “Freedom to Choose” Audience Awards. Director’s Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano’s “The Intouchables,” the funny, moving and based-on-a-true story film about the friendship between a paralyzed aristocrat and an immigrant from the Paris projects, was tops in the Narrative Feature category. Director Neil Berkeley’s “Beauty is Embarrassing,” the charming, irreverent and inspiring story of one of America’s most important artists and puppeteers, Wayne White, snagged the best Documentary distinction. The ensemble-directed “V/H/S” and director Potsy Ponciroli’s “Super Zeroes” were co-winners of the Graveyard Shift Audience Award.
The switch to an opening day celebrating Tennessee films and filmmakers, giving the festival a 57% increase in ticket sales over last year’s opening night, set the Festival off on a high note. Attendance for the entire eight days of NaFF, which includes all films and events connected to the Festival, is estimated at close to 26,700, a two percent increase over last year’s record-breaking 14.7% increase.
“Opening with our ‘Tennessee First’ program really brought out the community,” said Ted Crockett, executive director of the Festival. “It introduced a lot of people to the Festival who may not have joined us before, and they kept coming back. (Artistic director) Brian Owens’ programming once again won over filmgoers and critics – ‘The Intouchables’ and ‘Beauty is Embarrassing’ may both have some of the highest audience award ratings we’ve ever had.”
The 43rd Nashville Film Festival presented by Nissan opened on April 19 at the Regal Green Hills Cinemas with “Tennessee First,” a full day of programming focused on Tennessee Films and Filmmakers, with sold-out houses for Deja Brandeis’ “Hell or High Water: The Story of the Nashville Rollergirls,” jeff obafemi carr’s “He Ain’t Heavy” and Berkeley’s “Beauty is Embarrassing.” Notable guests at the Festival included Nicole Kidman, Famke Janssen, Beth Grant and Carrie Preston, who joined together for a panel discussion on “The Evolution of Women Behind the Camera.” Janssen also brought her directorial debut, “Bringing Bobby.” Preston brought “That’s What She Said” and Grant escorted her short, “The Perfect Fit.” Lizzy Caplan, who had two films in the Festival — director Michael Mohan’s “Save the Date” and Ryan Page’s “Queens of Country” – attended, as did Delia Ephron, Martin Starr, Blayne Weaver and Natalie Morales.
The Festival included several World Premieres this year, including “Butch Walker: Out of Focus” with Walker and directors Shane Valdés and Peter Harding in attendance; “Hank Cochran: Living for a Song,” with Lee Ann Womack, Mark Chesnutt and members of Cochran’s family in attendance; and “Major Rockstar” with director Jared Morgan in attendance. The Festival closed last night, April 26, with co-closing films “Paul Williams Still Alive” with director Stephen Kessler and Williams attending, and “BIG EASY EXPRESS” with members of Old Crow Medicine Show walking the Red Carpet. The Brooklyn Brothers, from THE BROOKLYN BROTHERS BEAT THE BEST, performed at the closing night party. An encore screening of “BIG EASY EXPRESS,” in partnership with the Nashville Scene and the Americana Music Association, took place at the Centennial Park Bandshell.
Nashville Film Festival is also proud to announce the addition of Novare Digital, a digital advertising agency, as a Platinum Sponsor. Launched with InsideWorld.com, Novare Digital is a free online news service that in partnership with Reuters provides daily news on a country-by-country basis. InsideWorld.com has quickly became a premier advertising vehicle for businesses targeting the local expat community and business executives, including Marriott, Sheraton, Lufthansa, SAS, Citibank and Nokia.
“With sales offices in Chattanooga, Nashville, and numerous locations in Europe, Novare continues to expand our business into cities with a progressive attitude while maintaining a corporate philosophy to give back to the communities we are a part of,” said Mark Siedlecki, president of Novare Digital. “Our experience with the Nashville Film Festival this year solidified our desire to be involved as a Platinum sponsor next year. We look forward to working with Nashville Film Festival in making next year an even better success.”
A complete list of previously announced jury prizes is available at nashvillefilmfestival.org.
Nashville Film Festival is a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation and receives funding from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, Franklin Brooks Philanthropic Fund and William N. Rollins Fund for the Arts of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, Ann & Lance Krafft Charitable Lead Trust, The Memorial Foundation, Nashville Metro Arts Commission, Tennessee Arts Commission, the National Endowment for the Arts and its generous patrons and sponsors.