Big Ears Festival Announces Expanded Film Programming Screenings and Special Events

Posted on: Monday - Dec 12, 2016


December 6, 2016 Knoxville, TN – The Big Ears Festival continues to expand film programming and collaboration with the Public Cinema, a Knoxville-­‐based group dedicated  to sharing vital works of contemporary American and international film.  The weekend will feature a variety of screenings of ground

breaking work, a few classics, and several cinema-­‐related live musical performances as well.  All film events will be open to all Big Ears passholders  – with a film program only pass on sale Friday, December 9 at 10:00am Eastern at

Big Ears Festival film programming is made possible by support from Regal Entertainment Group, Visit Knoxville Film Office, Tennessee Entertainment Commission, and Tennessee Department of Tourism Development. Films will be screened  at the Historic Tennessee Theatre, the Bijou Theatre, the Knoxville Museum of Art, the downtown Regal Riviera Stadium 8 Theater, and UT’s Downtown Gallery.

Big Ears is proud to welcome Jonathan Demme for a carefully-­‐curated ten-­‐film retrospective, JONATHAN DEMME: LIFE IS PERFORMANCE/PERFORMANCE IS LIFE, including a double-­‐feature of the legendary Talking Heads concert film Stop Making Sense and a rare theatrical presentation of 2016’s widely acclaimed Justin Timberlake + The Tennessee Kids at the official state theater of Tennessee: Knoxville’s historic Tennessee Theatre.  A humble giant of American cinema, Demme has crafted a humanistic, multicultural vision of America throughout his long career — a place where lives are shaped by the roles we perform, and where diverse expressions of music are an ever-­‐present reminder of our differences and commonalities. LIFE  IS PERFORMANCE/PERFORMANCE IS LIFE juxtaposes some of Demme’s most acclaimed narratives and documentaries (including the Oscar-­‐winning Silence of the Lambs) alongside hard-­‐to-­‐see gems (2015’s Another Telepathic Thing) to present a filmmaker whose vision is as generous, unified and protean as any American filmmaker of the last forty years.

The 2017 festival will feature  independent filmmaker Jem Cohen and his Big Ears-­‐specific project, Gravity Hill Sound+Image. Cohen will join forces with a special selection of versatile and adventurous musicians to collaboratively explore image and sound in a wide range of combinations:  scored and improvised, indoor and outdoor,  quiet and loud. Collaborators will include Jace Clayton, Guy Picciotto, festival alumni Xylouris White, Jessica Moss, Matana Roberts, Todd Griffin, Katherine McRae, Mira Billotte, and multimedia tech team, Dawn of Man, who will be projection mapping site-­‐specific images on Knoxville architecture throughout the weekend. Cohen says, “The combination of moving images with music is too often taken for granted or left unexamined. Gravity Hill Sound+Image will explore how the union of music and film can avoid elevating one at the expense of the other.” Cohen’s indoor show will be an intimate experience that encourages close, contemplative looking and deep listening. The outdoor project will be an adventure in dissolving usual conceptions of cinema and concert with musicians responding both to unusually displayed images and to the overall Knoxville environment. In addition to the multimedia performances, Big Ears will also include several of Cohen’s films in its feature  program at the Regal Riviera Stadium 8 Theater including World Without End (No Reported Incidents), which premiers at the upcoming Sundance Film Festival, and Instrument, which chronicles 11 years of Fugazi from its early days to the peak of its success in the mid 1990s.

One of America’s most critically acclaimed and prolific experimental filmmakers, Kevin Jerome Everson will return to Knoxville to present a program of short films and install a new, multi-­‐screen work in UT’s Downtown Gallery. Everson’s films challenge traditional notions of documentary form and are concerned, primarily, with the everyday experiences of African American life. The Surface Below: Short Films by Kevin Jerome Everson is a sample of his work curated specifically for Big Ears that includes eight films, beginning with Ring (2008) and ending with the award winning Ears, Nose and Throat (2016). Everson is a Professor of Art at the University of Virginia and a recipient of the Alpert Award in Film/Video as well as numerous grants, commissions and fellowships. His work has screened at major American and international film festivals and been exhibited at museums, galleries and art biennials, including, most recently, selection in the 2017 Whitney Biennial. A retrospective at the Tate Modern, London is planned for fall 2017.

Named one of the top avant-­‐garde filmmakers on Film Comments “Best of the Decade” list, Janie Geiser will join Big Ears for a program of recent short films, Double Vision.  Geiser’s work includes multiple disciplines, such as film, installation, visual art, sound, and performance, often working and reworking bits of discarded materials. Janie is on the faculty at CalArts, and her work has been recognized with a Doris Duke Artist Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and an OBIE Award. Her films have screened at the Whitney, the Guggenheim, MOMA, the Centre Pompidou, Pacific Film Archives, and at major film festivals in New York, Rotterdam, London, Oberhausen, and Hong Kong.

Roger Beebe will perform Films for One to Eight Projectors, an immersive audio/visual experience that Creative Loafing called “both erudite and punk, lo-­‐fi yet high-­‐brow shorts that wrestle with a disfigured, contemporary American landscape." Roger has screened his films around the globe at such unlikely venues as

the CBS Jumbotron in Times Square and McMurdo Station in Antarctica as well as more likely ones including Sundance and the Museum of Modern Art with solo shows at Anthology Film Archives, The Laboratorio Arte Alameda in Mexico City, and Los Angeles Filmforum among many other venues. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Art at the Ohio State University.

The Big Ears Festival continues  to blur the lines between film and music with multiple live score performances set to take place over the festival weekend. Gavin Bryars’ Ensemble will perform the classic experimental piece Sinking of the Titanic with turntablist Philip Jeck and projection design by Big Ears alumnus Bill Morrison.   In addition, Xiu Xiu will perform the music of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, which Pitchfork described as “one of their most beautiful and listenable albums.” Rounding out the live score performances during Big Ears will be Dave Harrington Group performing a live, improvised score to the Coen Brothers’ on-­‐screen adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men.

The Big Ears film program will also present important cinema from the past. Events will include a celebration  of the recently-­‐published Complete Film Criticism of James Agee with critic and Agee scholar Charles Maland introducing the North American premiere  of the new restoration of Georges Rouquier’s groundbreaking Farrebique (1946). Agee raved about Farrebique, calling it “the finest and strongest record of actual people that I have seen.” The Tennessee Theatre will host a rare 35mm screening of Meredith Monks 1988 experimental feature film Book of Days, which Monk describes as “a film for the ears.”

Finally, the Public Cinema will present three Flicker & Wow programs of experimental short films, including Flicker & Wow: Kids!, a free program curated for the youngest cinephiles.

All this and more information, including full lineup, ticketing, and other details can be found at, by “liking” Big Ears Festival on Facebook, by following @BigEarsFestival on  Twitter, and by joining the newsletter.

Regal Entertainment Group
Headquartered in Knoxville, TN, Regal Entertainment Group (NYSE: RGC) operates one of the leading and most geographically diverse theatre circuits in the United States, consisting of 7,310 screens in 565 theaters in 42 states  along with Guam, Saipan, American Samoa and the District of Columbia as of September 30, 2016. The Company operates theaters in 46 of the top 50 U.S. designated market areas. The size, reach and quality of the Company’s theater circuit not only provide its patrons  with a convenient  and enjoyable movie-­‐going experience, but is also an exceptional platform to realize economies of scale in theater operations.

Visit Knoxville Film Office
The mission of the Visit Knoxville Film Office is to strengthen Knoxville’s economy through the promotion of the city as a premiere  filming location. By attracting motion media companies to Knoxville through the marketing of our locations, accommodations, services, crew, and talent, we can foster the creation of jobs in the area, stimulate business opportunities and generate exposure. The VK Film Office mediates  the permitting process between federal, state,  and local agencies and the film industry.

Tennessee Entertainment Commission
One look at the dramatic natural beauty that is Tennessee and you'll get a sense of what's behind our passion for storytelling and song within our state. We're experienced industry leaders, with the utmost appreciation for the creative talent and business environment found in Tennessee. As fellow artists, producers, thought leaders and innovators, our Commission team and its members strive to make sure your business thrives in Tennessee, ensuring our state continues to own all things film, music and entertainment.

Tennessee Department of Tourism Development
Tennessee is the birthplace of the blues, bluegrass, country, gospel, soul, rockabilly, and rock ‘n’ roll— delivering an unparalleled experience of beauty, history, and family adventure, infused with music, that creates a vacation that is the “Soundtrack of America. Made in Tennessee.”  Tennessee’s tourism industry generates $18.4 billion in economic impact, more than $1.6 billion in state and local sales tax revenue and more than 157,400 tourism-­‐related jobs. Learn more at

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