Big Ears Festival teams up with filmmakers and curators Lily Keber and Zac Manuel to present a full docket of feature-length films and shorts for the 2024 festival, returning to the Regal Riviera in downtown Knoxville.

Music is an integral component of any piece of cinema. This year’s film program is an ode to all that music and cinema together can unlock- the intricacies of the human experience, the complexities of love and loss, the emotional depths of sickness and healing, and the transformative power of creation. This curation of films explores the remarkable story behind the creation of 1990’s psychedelic rock, the sonic innovations of Detroit techno, the untold histories of Black Appalachia, and the mythos of Americana through archetypal interpretations of cowboy iconography and real life pioneers. These intersections of cultural histories and personal narratives depict the interconnectedness of our lives, both here on earth and in realms beyond. We are excited to share this collection of films for 2024’s Big Ears Music and Film Festival and together witness the universal resonance of music as the heartbeat of storytelling.

22 Mar Fri 09 AM / EST Sisters with Transistors

Sisters with Transistors

Written and Directed by Lisa Rovner

22 Mar Fri 09 AM / EST Mississippi River Styx

Mississippi River Styx

Co-directed by Tim Grant and Andy McMillan

22 Mar Fri 11 AM / EST The Tuba Thieves

The Tuba Thieves

Directed by Alison O’Daniel



Directed by Kristian R. Hill, Produced by Jennifer Washington

22 Mar Fri 02 PM / EST Charles Lloyd: Arrows into Infinity

Charles Lloyd: Arrows into Infinity

A film by Dorothy Darr and Jeffrey Morse

22 Mar Fri 03 PM / EST Kite Zo A

Kite Zo A

Directed by Kaveh Nabatian

23 Mar Sat 09 AM / EST ANCIENT VOICES: A Film for George Crumb

ANCIENT VOICES: A Film for George Crumb

Directed by Tristan Cook (World Premiere)

23 Mar Sat 10 AM / EST The Other One

The Other One

Written and Directed by Henry Threadgill

23 Mar Sat 11 AM / EST Home of the Brave

Home of the Brave

Written and directed by Laurie Anderson

23 Mar Sat 12 PM / EST The Elephant 6 Recording Co.

The Elephant 6 Recording Co.

Directed and Produced by C.B. Stockfleth 

23 Mar Sat 02 PM / EST O Pioneer

O Pioneer

Directed by Clara Lehmann and Jonathan Lacocque

23 Mar Sat 03 PM / EST Not Not Jazz

Not Not Jazz

Directed by Jason Miller (Tennessee Premiere)

24 Mar Sun 10 AM / EST American Symphony

American Symphony

Directed by Matthew Heineman, Produced by Lauren Domino

24 Mar Sun 11 AM / EST Artist Talk: Deconstructing the Soundtrack with Blake Leyh

Artist Talk: Deconstructing the Soundtrack with Blake Leyh

24 Mar Sun 12 PM / EST Music for Black Pigeons

Music for Black Pigeons

Directed by Jørgen Leth and Andreas Koefoed (US Premiere)

24 Mar Sun 12 PM / EST Allen Toussaint: The Songwriter Tapes

Allen Toussaint: The Songwriter Tapes

Exclusive Sneak Preview

24 Mar Sun 03 PM / EST Carpet Cowboys

Carpet Cowboys

Directed by Emily MacKenzie & Noah Collier (Knoxville Premiere)

24 Mar Sun 03 PM / EST Liberated Landscape: Black Appalachian Ohio

Liberated Landscape: Black Appalachian Ohio

Directed by William Isom II (World Premiere)

Lily Keber, Curator

Lily is a filmmaker and educator based in New Orleans. Her directorial debut, Bayou Maharajah, premiered at SXSW in 2013 and has since won many awards including the Oxford American Award for Best Southern Film and Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities’ Documentary Of The Year.  Lily is a co-founder of New Orleans Video Voices, a women-led collective dedicated to increasing media literacy across the Gulf South. In 2015, she was commissioned by Time Inc. to contribute to their coverage of Hurricane Katrina’s 10-year anniversary. The resulting film, Everything Is To Be Continued, exposes how Black working musicians have been excluded from New Orleans’ economic recovery. Lily’s second feature documentary Buckjumping premiered in October 2018 to the largest audience ever assembled at the New Orleans Film Festival.

Zac Manuel, Curator

Zac Manuel (b. 1989) is a director and cinematographer from New Orleans, Louisiana. Zac’s work in documentary draws from complex legacies of Southern identity, with particular interest in the impacts of history and inheritance on Black communities. Zac uses his camera to create bridges of intimacy and transparency between himself and his films’ participants, with a collaborative and improvisational shooting style inspired by the movements and rhythms of jazz. 

Knoxville, TN · USA



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