UT Cinema Studies Faculty and Students at the Big Ears Film Festival
Flicker and Wow is a poster John McAmis sketched for the kids screening at flicker and wow at the KMA
Knoxville’s Big Ears Festival, which the New York Times has called a “music festival with a rare vision,” has—thanks to Cinema Studies Professor Paul Harrill and his Public Cinema co-curator Darren Hughes—expanded its film offerings the last two years. The festival, held from March 23 to 26, had a dazzling array of films thanks to their efforts, and a number of Cinema Studies students helped make it happen.
Four Cinema Studies students helped coordinate screenings during the festival—Colleen Alley, Ashley Baker, Adrian Hargrave, and Kerry Fillers. In addition, Jeffrey Chastain photographed some events for the Knoxville Mercury, Nathan Smith did an installation on the FAST AND FURIOUS film franchise that was praised on rogerebert.com, and John McAmis attended a variety of the events and even provided a poster for a special kids showing at the Knoxville Museum of Art. Thanks to all the students for their contributions.
Paul Harrill introducing the documentary JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE AND THE TENNESSEE KIDS at the Tennessee Theater
In addition, Paul Harrill did a bunch of introductions for the various screenings, including the Thursday night screenings of two Jonathan Demme concert films at the Tennessee Theater: Justin Timberlake and the Tennessee Kids and Stop Making Sense on the Talking Heads. Friday Cinema Studies Chair Chuck Maland introduced Georges Rouquier’s Farrebique, which won best film award at the first Cannes Film Festival in 1946. A restored version of the film was played last year at the 70th anniversary of the film’s premiere; the Big Ears screening was the American premiere of the restoration. The film was shown in part to honor James Agee, who praised the film in the Nation. A complete edition of Agee’s movie reviews and essays, edited by Chuck Maland, will be released soon by the University of Tennessee Press, and the screening of Farrebique was followed by an Agee Amble, a stroll around downtown Knoxville led by Jack Neely, who pointed out a variety of places connected to Agee’s life.
Besides the Jonathan Demme retrospective (Who Am I This Time? an early Demme film starring Susan Sarandon and Christopher Walken, was an audience favorite), the film program of Big Ears included films by former UT Artist in Residence Kevin Everson, by Jem Cohen, and by Janie Grieser. One of the truly unique screenings took place at the Knoxville Museum of Art when Roger Beebe—acting like an energizer audio-visual D.J.--presented his work, Films for One to Eight Projectors. Two of Jeffrey Chastain’s photographs—one showing Beebe operating multiple projectors, and the other showing what audiences were seeing—give an idea of what the screening was like.
Roger Beebe running the projectors at the KMA screening (credit Jeffrey Chastain)
Roger Beebe in a picture of what he was projecting with the multiple projectors (credit Jeffrey Chastain)
Thanks especially to Paul Harrill and Darren Hughes and our Cinema Studies students who participated. They all helped make possible Fandor’s conclusion about these film offerings: “active moviegoing lives and breathes at Big Ears.”