Thursday, October 30, 2008JOHNSON CITY – With the continuing sponsorship and support of East Tennessee State University, and the added support this year of the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies (TnCIS), Pellissippi State Technical Community College (PSTCC) and the Knoxville Museum of Art (KMA), the third annual Southern Appalachian International Film Festival (SOAPIFF) is expanding its outreach this November.
The celebration of cinema showcases over 100 films – some of which are world, United States or Tennessee premieres – as well as related lectures and exhibits. SOAPIFF 2008 runs Nov. 13-16 in Johnson City, and Nov. 21-23 in Knoxville. All films are free and open to the public.
Included among the offerings are Appalachian films, international and foreign language films, features, documentaries, children’s films, art/experimental films, animation, gender issues and LGBTQ films, classic silent movies, horror films, minority issue films and environmental films.
In Johnson City, films will be screened on ETSU’s campus, at the Acoustic Coffeehouse on West Walnut Street, and at Numan’s on East Main Street. In Knoxville, films will be shown at the KMA and at Pellissippi State’s Goins Auditorium and Clayton Performing Arts Center.
The 2008 SOAPIFF Opening Gala takes place on Thursday, Nov. 13, at The Charles, 308 E. Main Street, featuring food and assorted beverages, entertainment with live music, and the announcement of winning films in the 2008 juried competition. Tickets for this 7 p.m. event are $20 at the door.
Among SOAPIFF highlights this year is the popular Appalachian screen, which is showcasing a number of works including the Tennessee premieres of “Egg Fight” and “Thoughts in the Presence of Fear,” plus filmmakers from Appalshop who will speak at ETSU and PSTCC.
ETSU alumnus and current New York resident Daniel Perry’s “Egg Fight” is about nearby Elizabethton’s legendary 185-year-old Peters Hollow Easter Egg Fight. The documentary mixes interviews of participants with news footage of the event. And although there should be a number of “egg fighters” present for the film’s screening, don’t expect them to reveal any of their secrets about how to win the annual battle where competitors of all ages go toe-to-toe and egg-to-egg!
Filmmaker Herbert “Herb” E. Smith’s “Thoughts in the Presence of Fear” is “a visual companion” to an essay written by renowned Kentucky author Wendell Berry in response to the nation’s tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001. His post-911 essay has been reprinted in 73 countries and translated into seven languages. The film features a voiceover of Berry reading from his work, accompanied by music, artwork and “moving images” from Smith’s films over the years. Smith will be on hand to present this Appalshop film on Friday, Nov. 14.
Another highlight of the Appalachian screen is the world premiere of “Holding the Line,” a documentary capturing the struggle of 900 nurses in eastern Kentucky and West Virginia who “hold the line” against their corporate employer to maintain quality patient care. Director Sue Hagedorn will be in attendance for this premiere as will a number of the nurses involved in the fight on behalf of their patients.
A full slate of International Films features works from Scotland, England, France, Latvia, South Korea, Taiwan, The People’s Republic of China, Canada, Spain, Cuba, New Zealand and Italy.
Festival organizers credit Scottish Screen for generous support and assistance with contacting outstanding filmmakers from the United Kingdom. The connection with East Tennessee was established this past summer at the Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF), when SOAPIFF Executive Director Mark Compton taught film