ETSU to screen film about ‘do-it-yourself’ filmmakers battling Hollywood


JOHNSON CITY (August 30, 2013) – The Mary B. Martin School of the Arts at East Tennessee State University will present the film How to Make Movies at Home on Monday, Sept. 9, at 7 p.m. with filmmaker Morgan Nichols as part of the South Arts Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers. The film is the first in the school's 2013-14 series of six South Arts independent films, three in fall and three in spring.

After the free screening of the film in the D.P. Culp University Center's Martha Street Culp Auditorium, Nichols will lead the audience in a discussion about the film and his work as a filmmaker. A reception will follow.

"It sounds like it's an instructional movie but it's actually a narrative," says Mary B. Martin School of the Arts Director Anita DeAngelis. "It's kind of a lighthearted, more comic approach."

The "micro-budget, crowd-funded, do-it-yourself cinematic event of a generation" pits a group of do-it-yourself (DIY) filmmakers against the professionals of Hollywood with dramatic and humorous results. "The wall between 'pro' and 'am' has crumbled to the ground and a new wave of folk cinema is rolling in," the film's website says.

In the film, Jonah and her band of local DIY filmmakers are threatened when a Hollywood team comes to sign Hillport, Maine, as a location for a big TV show. Jonah goes to war with Hollywood, but her real problem might be with her best friend, who has designs on the Hollywood producer's girlfriend.

"How to Make Movies at Home was shot in the part of Maine many of us grew up in, and is about the incredible rewards of being part of an underground creative tribe. A story very close to home," the website says.

Filmmaker Morgan Nichols' first feature, Jesus Freak, premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival in 2003 and won the Milagro Award - Best Southwest Film at the Santa Fe Film Festival.

The Little Death followed in 2006, premiering as the closing night gala film at the Atlanta Film Festival and going on to garner awards for best actor, best actress, best screenplay and best cinematography as it traveled the festival circuit.

In addition to his large body of work as a true independent filmmaker, Nichols has worked for various subsidiaries of Viacom, Warner Bros. and Disney. He holds an M.F.A. in cinema from the University of Southern California and a bachelor's degree in theater arts from Brandeis University.

For more information on the film, visit

The Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers is a program of South Arts. Southern Circuit screenings are funded in part by a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.

South Arts, a nonprofit regional arts organization, was founded in 1975 to build on the South's unique heritage and enhance the public value of the arts. South Arts' work responds to the arts environment and cultural trends with a regional perspective. South Arts offers an annual portfolio of activities designed to address the role of the arts in impacting the issues important to our region and to link the South with the nation and the world through the arts. For more information, visit

For information about the ETSU Mary B. Martin School of the Arts, call (423) 439-TKTS (8587) or visit "Like" ETSU Mary B. Martin School of the Arts on Facebook and follow it on Twitter at TheArtsAtETSU.

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