Big Ears: A World-Class Film Festival, As Well 

Big Ears and the curatorial masterminds over at Public Cinema are thrilled to announce the film program for the 2020 festival — nearly 30 screenings and more than 60 films — set to run over the entirety of the festival weekend at Regal Cinema in downtown Knoxville. Like the music programs at Big Ears, the film festival offers a fascinating and discerning breadth and depth that is sure to intrigue and inspire cinephiles from all over.

One of several programming themes for the film festival, Standard Definition, explores the transition from celluloid to digital film and will host work from Agnès VardaChantal AkermanAbbas Kiarostami, and Hal Hartley, along with several U.S. theatrical premieres and rarely shown films from around the globe.

Another festival theme, Stereo Visions, presents boundary-bounding uses of 3D in film, and features CunninghamAlla Kovgin’s new 3D film on the iconic dancemaker Merce Cunningham, along with a half-dozen other 3D screenings — some cheeky, some austere — each coming with the requisite viewing glasses.
As part of the music program at Big Ears, the legendary and enigmatic British alternative rock band Tindersticks will give their first stateside  performance in nearly a decade — and in addition to that live performance, the film lineup will showcase four of the band’s collaborations with extraordinary French auteur Claire DenisBastards, Let the Sunshine In, and High Life, plus a rare theatrical screening of The Waiting Room, a “visual album” of videos that accompanied Tindersticks’ 2016 release of the same name.
Argentine-British artist Jessica Sarah Rinland and New Orleans based director Lily Keber will receive spotlights as filmmakers in residence at the festival. The festival will screen nearly all of Rinland’s evocative films, and host an installation of her mixed-media work at the UT Downtown Gallery. Keber will have three films in screening —  including Bayou Maharajah, her documentary on NOLA piano king, James Booker — and a work-in-progress documentary on Santeria and Palo religious rituals in Cuba.

In addition to these curated screenings, there will also be a number of live performances that have an indispensable film component. These include Kronos Quartet and filmmaker Sam Green’s A Thousand Thoughts a “live documentary” on the the five decade history of Kronos, a hit at Sundance; Kim Gordon’s Sound for Andy Warhol’s Kiss, a soundtrack to Warhol’s infamous hour-long 1963 film Kiss by Sonic Youth frontwoman Kim Gordon and a quartet of ace rock ‘n’ noise collaborators. Film programming at Big Ears closes out with Electric Appalachia, a collaboration harpist Mary Lattimore, guitarist William Tyler, and film archivist Eric Dawson of the Tennessee Archive of Moving Image and Sound (TAMIS) — a film and music meditation on electricity and modernity in East Tennessee.

The program will be screened at 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


Knoxville, TN · USA



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