The Knoxville community came together to enjoy stories from all over the world through the medium of film this weekend.
Regal Entertainment Group, Dogwood Arts and Secret City Films hosted Knoxville's first international film festival, which showed 75 films from three countries and 15 states, according to Erin Slocum, marketing manager for Dogwood Arts.
"This is our first year being involved with anything so (we're) very focused on film and we're thrilled we got to partner with Keith McDaniel of Secret City Films," Slocum said. "The response has been huge from both filmmakers and film lovers. The quality of the films is just fantastic."
One of these films was shot entirely in Knoxville with a budget of $2,500. It was directed by 2011 graduates of Hardin Valley Academy, Grant Douglas Bromley and Benjamin Neal. Bromley also played the lead role and said Neal kept him in check.
"[Neal] was running the camera and I wrote the script," Bromley said. "He had to let me know if I was sucking."
The directors and students at Watkins School of Art Design and Film in Nashville, Tenn., went into production on a strict budget with experience in short films, leaving room for growth, according to Neal.
"It was really a learning experience," Neal said. "We're still in college. We didn't really make too many short films before this. We were just going all in and hoping it turned out OK."
UT's Kung Fu club was in attendance to view the documentary, "Pui Chan: Kung Fu Pioneer," which was complete with live drum performance. Coach Marian Sing studies under Chan and said everyone should hear his story.
"(The film) is amazing, truly inspiring," Sing said. "Whether you do Kung Fu or not, everybody should see it just to hear the beautiful life story of this man who came from nothing and created an empire."
Sing was accompanied by some of her students in the hope of bringing determination and historical knowledge to the club.
"(Chan) brought Chinese martial arts to America," Sing said. "I tell these guys the history, the lineage of where we come from, where we're going and I hope they enjoy what they're doing with the club.
"It's just wonderful to have some of them here so they can see my awesome grand master."
Michael Massey, vice-president of the Kung Fu club, expected the film to expand on what Sing teaches regularly.
"The biggest thing we learn is how to practice," Massey, senior in mechanical engineering, said. "Doing something over and over again and working hard to accomplish a goal that you set for yourself."
Another documentary with Tennessee ties, "Granny's Got Game," featured a North Carolina-based basketball team made up of women more than 70-years-old. Director, producer and editor Angela Alford drew inspiration for the film from her own experience playing basketball for Vanderbilt University.
She said the women of "The Fabulous 70s" team are serious athletes.
"It's not a story about cute old people," Alford said. "I wanted to treat them as athletes ... I thought they were all going to be genetic anomalies and then I realized that they have the same aches and pains that we all do, but they're playing despite it because of the benefits they get – the exercise and the camaraderie of the team."
The women of the team play with broken ribs, sprained ankles and replaced knees. Alford considers these women to be among the top athletes as far as intensity goes.
"It's a little more intense than what the Lady Vols would play," Alford said with a laugh.
This art festival will be the first of many, if the aspirations of Slocum come true.
"Hopefully it will get bigger and better, and this has been a really amazing start," Slocum said. "We just have these wonderful dreams of like 10 years from now like, 'What could this be? Will it be at all the theaters around town?'
"This is definitely a wonderful starting point and we're thrilled."