Preview the Nashville Film Festival 2021 coming to campus Monday, showcasing Belmont student documentary and more
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Preview the Nashville Film Festival 2021 coming to campus Monday, showcasing Belmont student documentary and more

A current events documentary about 2020 filmed and produced by Belmont students will hit the silver screen when the Nashville Film Festival makes its way to campus Monday.

“How Did We Get Here? Nashville Surviving 2020” is the 32-minute piece produced by a team of eight students, one of several films coming to campus as part of the festival. Belmont will serve as the second host venue of four in the week-long event showcasing independent feature-length movies, short films and work by college students.

Lauren Ponto, director of programming for the festival, said the work set to feature in Belmont’s Johnson theaters was curated specifically for the student body.

“It was a combination of what students find the most engaging: topical issues that are going on currently with politics, race and history,” she said.

Starting off the Monday program is “Thistle,” a documentary about the Thistle Farms rehabilitation center for female victims of sex trafficking in the Nashville area.

Next will be the “Next-Gen Mixtape” compilation, which will feature several short student documentaries — including “How Did We Get Here?”

The documentary covers the last year and a half in Nashville and Belmont’s involvement in the challenges the city has faced. The piece covers many events, including the tornado that hit Nashville in March, the COVID-19 pandemic, the Christmas Day bombing in downtown Nashville and the presidential debate held on campus in October 2020. 

The students who produced the documentary also highlighted interviews with prominent Nashville figures, including Mayor John Cooper.

“I think they did a fantastic job of weaving all of these different incidents together and turning it into a great piece about this specific moment in time in Nashville,” Ponto said.

Following “Next-Gen Mixtape” will be a selection of short-format and feature films. 

“Beta Test,” a horror film, will be shown late at night, along with “Petite Maman,” a film by the director of the Oscar-nominated drama “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” Céline Sciamma.

Comedy, politics, thrills: these films are curated for a college campus and designed to draw student engagement.

Belmont students are getting involved in the event itself, with over 50 student volunteers assisting the festival while it is on campus. 

“Getting students involved has always been a goal of ours, but we’ve kind of also struggled. We can provide students as many tickets as we want, but sometimes the location is a barrier. Being on campus during the school hours felt like a great way to try and boost student attendance,” Ponto said.

Belmont students will be allowed into any screening in the Johnson theaters, as space allows, with their student ID.

The Nashville Film Festival kicks off Friday at Rocketown and will move to Belmont University on Monday, continuing on to Marathon Music Works on Tuesday. The festival will conclude on Wednesday at the Belcourt Theatre.

The complete schedule can be found on the Nashville Film Festival website.

PHOTO: The promotional poster for “How Did We Get Here?” Courtesy of Belmont University and Ducklings Production.

This article was written by Margot Pierson.

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