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Big Ears Festival announces film programming screenings and special events, curated by Public Cinema

February 1, 2018

For the third year, 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. Films will be screened at the Knoxville Museum of Art, the downtown Regal Riviera Stadium 8 Theater, and the University of Tennessee Downtown Gallery, with several cinema-related live events presented during the festival weekend.  All film events will be open to Big Ears pass-holders – and a “film program only” ticketing option is on sale now at

Big Ears will host artist LEWIS KLAHR and present a multi-program selection of his films, including an installation at the UT Downtown Gallery.  Named one of the greatest avant-garde filmmakers working today by Film Comment, Lewis Klahr has been making films since 1977. He is known for his uniquely idiosyncratic films, which use found images and sound to explore the intersection of memory and history. Klahr’s films have screened extensively in the United States, Europe and Asia – in venues such as New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Biennial, the New York Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival, and the LA County Museum of Art. Klahr was The Wexner Center for the Arts 2010 Media Arts Residency Award Winner, the 2013 Brakhage Vision Award winner, and a 1992 Guggenheim Fellow, among many other honors. He lives in Los Angeles, where he teaches at the California Institute of the Arts. His work is represented by The Anthony Reynolds Gallery in London.

The 2018 Big Ears Festival will feature A SENSE OF PLACE: AMERICAN REGIONAL CINEMA, 1960-1989, a survey of groundbreaking films by artists living and working outside the commercial film production centers of Los Angeles and New York. Made with small budgets and minimal crews, these filmmakers helped lay the foundation of today’s American independent cinema. The retrospective includes major auteurs (Pittsburgh’s George A. Romero, Baltimore’s John Waters, and Portland’s Gus Van Sant), genre films with a deep sense of place (Victor Nunez’s neo-noir A FLASH OF GREEN), formally adventurous works like Trent Harris’s THE BEAVER TRILOGY, and seminal films like Eagle Pennell’s THE WHOLE SHOOTIN’ MATCH, which inspired Robert Redford to launch the Sundance Institute. Taken together, these films point the camera where it had not been pointed before and do so with a passion and style that continues to speak to us today.

In celebration of 50 years since CANYON CINEMA’s incorporation we will present three shorts programs curated by David Dinnell. Canyon Cinema began in filmmaker Bruce Baillie’s Canyon, California backyard in 1961 as a forum for filmmakers to share work with each other and the community. In late 1966, the filmmakers founded Canyon Cinema Co-op. as a distribution company – established as a cooperative, owned and operated by filmmaker members (it was formally incorporated in 1967). Canyon Cinema’s unique collection of artist-made films – comprised of digital media, 8mm, Super 8, 16mm and 35mm prints – traces the vital history of the experimental and avant-garde filmmaking movements from 1921 to the present.

 A survey of 3D cinema — experimental and mainstream, short and feature-length, contemporary and historical — STEREO VISIONS will encompass and demonstrate the full visual and affective capacities of our favorite on-again/off-again format. From Norman McLaren to Johnny Knoxville, Ken Jacobs to Alfred Hitchcock, Lillian M. Schwartz to Jodie Mack, the filmmakers showcased here have been unpacking the creative potential of 3D image-making for decades, with each representing unique incarnations, moments, and impulses. As reality and media increasingly steer toward the virtual, augmented, and multiple, Stereo Visions is an opportunity to experience where these drives came from, and where they presently reside. STEREO VISIONS has been curated in collaboration with Blake Williams, whose acclaimed new 3D feature, PROTOTYPE, will be a centerpiece of the program.

The Big Ears Festival continues to explore harmony between music and film with multiple live score performances set to take place over the festival weekend. Bang On A Can All-Stars will present Field Recordings, including Michael Gordon’s score Gene Takes A Drink with film by Bill Morrison, Christian Marclay’s Fade to Slide and Nick Zammuto’s film and composition Real Beauty Turns, and more. Celebrated violinist Jenny Scheinman  and ensemble will score H. Lee Waters’ hypnotizing Depression-era portrait footage in KANNAPOLIS: A MOVING PORTRAIT.  Focusing on children, dance, labor and community, a smile in slow motion, the Washington Post calls this moving film and score “beautifully coordinated.” Wordless Music, in partnership with Knoxville ensemble Nief-Norf, will score the documentary film BRIMSTONE & GLORY, with original music written by Dan Romer and Benh Zeitlin, the creative team of Beasts of the Southern Wild. Brimstone & Glory offers a glimpse inside the National Pyrotechnic Festival in Tultepec, Mexico, a wild, 10-day celebration of explosive festivity unlike any other in the world. Big Ears also hosts Atlanta-based artists, Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel, who will sonically represent the celluloid explorations of filmmaker Robbie Land.

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.

Additional Information:

Big Ears Festival
Described as “one of the most quietly earth-shattering, subtly luminous festivals the world over” by the Oxford American, Big Ears Festival has established itself as one of the most exciting and imaginative cultural gatherings in the world, bringing together a virtual who’s who of established and acclaimed iconoclasts, innovators and influencers with younger artists who are synthesizing their own experiences into fresh, new creative work.  Located in the heart of downtown Knoxville – and taking place in its world-class historic theaters, excellent clubs, and unique alternative performance spaces – all within easy walking distance of one another and intermingled with superb restaurants, bars, and shops – Big Ears offers an unparalleled experience for adventurous artists and audiences alike.  While primarily focused on music, Big Ears is also developing a strong independent / experimental film component while also presenting installations, exhibitions and interactive experiences.

Big Ears is created and produced by AC Entertainment, recognized as one of the foremost independent promoters in the United States. Founded in 1991 by Ashley Capps, the company books, markets and presents over 1,000 events per year. In addition to Big Ears, AC Entertainment is the force behind internationally renowned events including Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival®, Forecastle Festival, and many more.  For more information on AC Entertainment, visit

The Public Cinema
Co-founded by Darren Hughes and Paul Harrill, The Public Cinema exists to share vital works of contemporary international and American cinema, works that might otherwise be unseen or overlooked by Knoxville audiences. Often playing host to Tennessee, regional, and even North American premieres, The Public Cinema aims to create a space for cinema as an art form and to promote discussion among discerning moviegoers. Found on the web at, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

Big Ears film programming is made possible by support from Regal Entertainment Group, Visit Knoxville, and the Tennessee Department of Tourism.

Big Ears film programming is made possible by support from Regal Entertainment Group, Visit Knoxville, and Tennessee Department of Tourism.

The Big Ears Festival  is made possible by the generous support of The Aslan Foundation, ArtWorks/NEA, Visit Knoxville, Tennessee Department of Tourism, The Royal Norwegian Consulate General, Regal Entertainment Group, the Jig and Reel, Pilot/Flying J and The Clayton Foundation.

Film:  Michael Lieberman
[email protected]

Music:  Carla Parisi
[email protected]