Forget about long lines and sold-out screenings this year — the 2020 Nashville Film Festival went virtual. The 51st annual festival was offered online on the Eventive platform Oct. 1–7, making the films, discussions and live-streamed content accessible to more audiences than ever before.
This year’s festival featured 200-plus films, as well as pre-recorded discussions with the filmmakers and actors following each screening to give viewers a behind-the-scenes look. Moderators of these discussions will include local film experts and film professors.
“LBGTQ+ stories are always a part of the Nashville Film Festival, and this year is no exception,” said Lauren Ponto, NFF director of programming. “We are proud to offer a platform for these voices to be heard.”
Following are a few of the NFF films that highlighted LGBTQ+ themes:
Milo, a directionless 20-something, strikes up a conversation with Roger, an older gay man she meets at her local bar. Roger reveals that he’s always wanted a family and Milo decides to become his surrogate. Over time, Roger distances himself and Milo must grapple with boundaries, emotional entanglement and the weight of the decision she has made.
When their former Hebrew school classmate commits suicide, two teenage best friends go to her funeral as well as the “Teen Talk-back” session designed to help them understand grief through the lens of faith. Soon, an innocent kissing exercise turns Carrie’s world inside out.
Three Chords and a Lie
A modern adaptation of the 1913 Willa Cather novel, O Pioneers! this naturalistic drama follows one young woman who is restlessly trying to reconcile her past so that she can escape her hometown, and another clutching to a quiet life in the country. Preceded by Fortunate Country, a story about the love we choose and the love that chooses us.
Two Little Boys
A boy’s secret love for his closeted bully drives him into an unconventional road to confession — and its consequences. Preceded by My Hero, which tells the story of what happens to 8-year-old Brandon when last-minute plans for a babysitter fall apart, and he is left alone to oversee his younger brother.
Kapaemahu tells the hidden history of four healing stones on Waikiki Beach and the legendary transgender spirits within them. Narrated in an ancient Hawaiian dialect, this 8-minute film brings this powerful legend back to life in vivid animation. Kapaemahu is included in an animated shorts program, parental discretion advised.
Born to Be
Born to Be captures the emotional and physical journeys of five patients under the care of pioneering gender surgeon Dr. Jess Ting at the Mount Sinai Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery in New York. This documentary takes an intimate look at how one doctor’s work impacts the lives of his patients as well as how his journey from plastic surgeon to pioneering gender-affirming surgeon has led to his own transformation.
1994 in Escondido, California. It’s the end of summer and Gene is preparing for his high school drama friends’ final murder mystery slumber party before they leave for college. He wants to come out of the closet – but is terrified of what his sheltered Christian confidants might think. Jonathan Wysocki’s nostalgic, funny debut feature is a poignant love letter to drama nerds, late bloomers and the intense friendships of youth.
A troubled but well-intentioned father takes his young transgender son on the run from rural Western Montana to Canada to escape the child’s conservative mother. Starring Steve Zahn and newcomer Sasha Knight.
A Perfectly Normal Family
Emma, age 11, has a perfectly normal family, until one day it turns out her dad, Thomas, is transgender. As Thomas becomes Agnete, both father and daughter struggle to hold on to what they had, while accepting that everything has changed. Loosely based on the life of director-writer Malou Reymann.
A young Russian Jewish immigrant in Brighton Beach meets his grandfather’s new neighbors, two elderly closeted gay men, who open his imagination to the possibilities of love and the realities of loss. Set in the East Village in the late 1980.
A queer “Romy and Michele” for the 21st century, Apricot is your fruity summer obsession, packed into 10 dreamy 1-minute episodes. Featured this year at Outfest.
Originally founded in 1969, the Nashville Film Festival is one of the first film festivals in the United States.