What a neat day this will be at the Tennessee! We are looking forward to hosting Southern Exposure: The Great Smoky Mountain Film Festival in partnership with Tennessee Archive of Moving Image and Sound, East Tennessee Historical Society, and Friends of the Library as part of the 2015 East Tennessee History Fair.
Wondering what it’s all about? Well, the Tennessee Archive of Moving Image and Sound houses the largest and most diverse collection of Smoky Mountain home movie footage in the state of Tennessee. It’s impressive, their collection. A diverse array of films shot by professional photographers and vacationing families capture the scenic beauty and rich culture of our beautiful East Tennessee landscape. We will be screening choice selections from the archive for this festival, many of which have never been seen and who knows if or when they’ll be shown again! Having been built as a movie palace in 1928, it will be special to see our beautiful Smokies in the Tennessee Theatre. Rare films in a movie palace! You can do more than just imagine it! Join us!
A free program runs from noon until 5:00 p.m., beginning with The Motion Picture Films of Jim Thompson, 1915-1950, a fascinating look at the work of the pioneering Knoxville filmmaker and photographer, who was instrumental in the founding of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Following will be Picturing the Smokies, an hour-long assemblage of film clips from the collections of Jack Huff, the Smoky Mountain Hiking Club, Arrowmont School and others. The film unfolds a unique history of the Smokies as told through newsreel footage and home movies dating from the 1920s to the 1960s.
An East Tennessee institution, The Heartland Series told our stories and gave us up close visits with our neighbors for more than 25 years. Culling 40 minutes of outtakes from raw footage, The Rolling Store offers an extended look at one episode devoted to a vanishing way of life.
The free portion of the screenings culminates in Sounds and Silents: Found Footage and Mountain Melodies, featuring three short films with live accompaniment by local musicians Todd Steed, Dave Ball and The Swill Sippers.
We’re also very excited to share Paramount Picture’s 1927 feature Stark Love in glorious 35mm film! Inducted in 2009 to the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, this silent classic was lost for decades before turning up in a European archive, of all places. Recently restored by the Museum of Modern Art, it’s fitting that the new print will screen downtown, as Knoxville teenager Helen Mundy was discovered in a local drugstore by Paramount talent scouts and cast as the lead. In fact, Stark Love was cast almost exclusively with amateur actors and filmed entirely in the Great Smoky Mountains, near Robbinsville, North Carolina. Rex Ward, house organist for Bristol’s Paramount Theatre, will improvise a live score at the Tennessee’s Mighty Wurlitzer to accompany the film. How fun! Knoxville History Project director Jack Neely will introduce Stark Love, a film he has researched and written about extensively. Preceding the film will be Lost Masterpiece, a documentary about the making of Stark Love, introduced by filmmaker and historian Dr. John White. This will likely be a once in a lifetime experience you don’t want to miss!
It’s a singular, special day designed to celebrate a singular, special region.