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PUSH! Film Festival Wraps Up a Successful Third Year

October 25, 2017

PUSH! Film Festival is a wrap! The festival hosted a variety of curated movies, workshops and presentations about film, along with screenings of juried films including shorts and feature-length films focused on Tennessee and Virginia over the course of the three-day festival weekend.

“This has been the best year yet!” said PUSH! Programming chair, Jessica Barnett. “PUSH! has grown in audience size, in the amount of films that have been submitted, the number of filmmakers that attend the Festival, and so much more. The quality of films that we received for the Festival has been the best we’ve seen thus far. We had filmmakers in attendance from Maryland, Nashville, Charlotte, and everywhere in between. PUSH! has really opened the doors for folks to come to Bristol.”

Over 40 hours of film was selected for screening by the Festival’s Programming committee. The 2017 film jurors then screened each film and rated each film based on a rubric. The festival hosted its Awards Ceremony at the Paramount Center for the Arts, after its Producers Party, to announce the following films that were selected by the festival’s jurors to receive awards in their film category:

  • Feature Films: Forgive-Don’t Forget
  • Virginia Films and Filmmakers: Werner Sensbach: An Artist on the Russian Front
  • Tennessee Films and Filmmakers: American Sock
  • Short Films: CUBS
  • Best in Show: American Sock

The Breaks: Centuries of Struggles won the Audience Award. Attendees had the chance to rate each feature film they attended. The Breaks received the most votes over the course of the weekend earning it the Audience Choice. The film was directed by Andrew Reed and Curtis Martin. This award-winning film beautifully rekindles a genre from yesteryear to chronicle the struggle between those seeking to exploit the Breaks and those trying to protect it.

The festival added a new category to awards: PUSH! Pioneer. The PUSH! Pioneer award is given to an industry veteran that embodies the mission of PUSH!. "We program a very diverse lineup of films, and we always seek to showcase films that somehow 'push' the envelope,” said Rusty Sheridan, PUSH! Film Festival Programming Chair. “At the 2016 festival we hosted filmmaker Bobby Farrelly on opening night. Based on the feedback from that event, our programming committee thought it necessary moving forward to create an award to honor a recognized industry professional who embodies our mission to always 'push' forward."

The inaugural PUSH! Pioneer recipient was Kevin Smith. Smith accepted the award and spoke to the PUSH! audience at the awards show at the Paramount Center for the Arts during Saturday night's Award Ceremony via video remote from Hollywood. Smith, who gained fame in 1994 after his self-financed ultra-low budget comedy "Clerks" screened at the Cannes and Sundance film festivals, spoke about the PUSH! mission and the importance of film festivals like the one in Bristol.

"I love anyone who starts a film festival. I love anybody that wants to think outside the box. It's important that we come up with ideas and do things ourselves, that we PUSH ourselves ... towards something new and creative. I will keep pushing. You always keep pushing, as well," said Smith.

PUSH! Film Festival will be held again October 2018 in Historic Downtown Bristol, VA/TN.

For more information about PUSH! Film Festival and how you can be involved, please visit www.pushfilmfest.com or contact Maggie Bishop at 423-573-2201, pushfilmfest@believeinbristol.org.