What happens when you attempt to fit 75 movies into four days? A first for the city of Knoxville.
The first film in the Knoxville Film Festival opens on Thursday. The festival, which will run from Sept. 19-22 at Regal Downtown West Cinema 8, will feature independent films with a variety of lengths and topics.
"We screen independent films from all over the country," Keith McDaniel, executive director and co-founder of the festival, said. "There are narrative features, documentaries, short films. All over the course of one weekend."
However, movies are not the only item on the festival's schedule.
"In addition to the films, we also offer workshops on Saturday," McDaniel said. "We have four workshops that are free to the public that are about the different aspects of film-making."
At the end of each feature film will exist an opportunity for a question and answer session with the filmmaker.
"It's fun to hear filmmakers talk about how they went about making their movies, we don't get a chance to do that very often," Charles Maland, English and cinema studies professor, said.
The festival also features films that are the result of two film competitions. The Seven Day Shootout challenged teams of filmmakers to create a seven-minute film in seven days. The Battle Cry of Freedom Competition was aimed towards high school and college students who competed to make films about the Civil War.
Although this is Knoxville's first film festival, east Tennessee is no stranger to such events.
"I founded the Secret City Film Festival 10 years ago, and last year I moved it from Oak Ridge to Knoxville," McDaniel said. "I was approached by the folks at the Dogwood Arts Festival. They were interested in adding a film component to the things that they do."
The Dogwood Arts Festival is now a full partner in the film festival. As part of that partnership, Downtown West was chosen as the location of the festival.
"We are lucky in Knoxville to have a theater that shows a lot of independent films, even ones that might be financed partially through smaller Hollywood studios," Maland said. "Downtown West shows mostly independent films, foreign language films or documentary films.
"They usually don't show the mainstream movies that will be at the Riviera or at Pinnacle or West Town (Mall). It is a perfect venue for it."
The festival has grown quickly since moving to Knoxville.
"It's the first time it's ever been this big; it's really impressive," Maland said. "If you look at the schedule, there are some points where three screens are running concurrently with films, so you kind of have to choose which one looks best."
Regular ticket price for the festival is $75, but discounted student tickets are on sale for $50. Tickets can be purchased on-site at the festival. One ticket gives access to every event of the festival, including the film screenings and workshops.
"There aren't any specific goals, other than to offer really good films and make sure people know about it," McDaniel said. "Hopefully we will have a lot of people come out this weekend and watch these films and enjoy them."