On June 16 the Knoxville independent film community was represented in full force at the Bijou Theatre downtown. The red carpet was rolled out while film crews arrived, some arriving in limousines, and one even in a 1959 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud; some dressed wildly in top hats, one man showing a noticeable resemblance to Abraham Lincoln.
The event, The Third Annual Knoxville 24 Hour Film festival, is a competition in which local filmmakers are given twenty-four hours to write, shoot, and edit a short four-minute film. Filmmakers are presented with four elements that they must incorporate into their films at the beginning of the twenty-four hour period, this year's elements being a hula hoop, 15 seconds of music, a lover, and the phrase "How do you like me now?"
The Festival actually began June 2, when filmmakers received these elements, their work being due the next day at 1p.m. This past Saturday, the films were shown and the awards were handed out. The event featured Nashville indie-rock band Heypenny, who kept things lively with their tight dance beats and infectious melodies, eventually leading the audience in a march down to the after-party at Preservation Pub with a triumphant acoustic version of Elton John's "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road."
Michael Samstag, the executive of the festival who most notably directed and produced the special features for the first three Harry Potter DVDs as well as the features on the 2004 film, "Van Helsing," did some great promotion for the
Awards ranged in categories from the unusual Pimpest Film Award, given to Team Fanboy for their film "White Dolemite," a spoof of the 2009 spoof, "Black Dynamite" to Best Lead Actress, awarded to Amy Casterline who starred in the film "Beautiful Snow" and whose daughter just shot her first feature-length motion picture.
But one film stood out from the pack: Brandon Langley's "Tonight We Are Born As Stars" which swept the Best Director, Best Lead Actor, Best Film, and Audience Favorite awards. The film followed the story of two young men and their attempt to rob a pawn shop and was delivered with a presentation that made it hard to believe the film was made completely in twenty-four hours. Chusy Jardine, a member of the judges' board and Award Winning director at Festivals such as Sundance, Cancun, and Strasbourg, said to Langley before presenting him the award, "Anywhere you want to go,
Festival staff member Lance Gaido sees the festival as being up-and-coming.
"I gotta say this festival is really taking off," Gaido said.
After Saturday it would be hard to disagree, especially considering the festival is only in its third year. But with a competition like this, you can expect some dedicated people who work well with time constraints, as the filmmakers and festival staff both demonstrated.