June 12, 2021

Knoxville Film Festival showcases UT talent

Movie goers and filmmakers alike united at Downtown West from Sept. 11-14 for the Knoxville Film Festival.

Keith McDaniel (end right), Executive Director of the festival, moderates a Q&A session with filmmakers.
Keith McDaniel (end right), Executive Director of the festival, moderates a Q&A session with filmmakers.

Movie goers and filmmakers alike united at Downtown West from Sept. 11-14 for the Knoxville Film Festival.

The festival featured several international films however; more were filmed and produced in Tennessee. Including the opening night film “Something, Anything” that was directed and written by UT associate professor Paul Harrill.

Alongside the Tennessee talent were students from UT. A film block on Saturday featured films produced by UT’s Cinema Studies and Art students. The segment was moderated by Paul Harrill.

Among those shown was an animated short called “The Collector” by UT student Carlos Cantalapiedra Vaquero.

Dylan Moore, former Cinema Club president, loved the animated short. “The collector was probably the one I enjoyed the most,” Moore said. “The art style was grimy, but darkly beautiful. And the concept of an old man going so far in his collection to preserve his dead wife and then his own death was disturbing, but moving.”

Another short presented was Andrew Swisher’s film “Mother.” The black and white piece emulates some German expressionism with no dialogue and shots focused on various abstract objects. Swisher made the short based on an assignment given by Harrill to create something that captured beauty during a state of change.

“I wanted to build around this type of abandoned character whose humanity and compassion is so pure in intent, that it suggests the idea of a person who would endure their own self-destruction and demise for a sliver of a chance someone else would find happiness,” Swisher said. “A mother was easily the first image that came to mind as a loving and nurturing symbol, and I knew I’d have an easier time getting my mom to shoot something for a school project rather than someone else.  And it just went from there.”

Swisher, who works at Downtown West, didn’t get a chance to see his film on the big screen but hopes it created a sense of unnerving empathy in the audience.

If you want to see Paul Harrill’s “Something, Anything” for free it will be presented by the UT Cinema club on Monday Sept. 15 at 7 p.m.  in the Art and Architecture building Rm. 109.

Edited by Ryan McGill

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