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.

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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