Filmmaker’s dream comes true seeing his film on the big screen

Knoxville Film Festival celebrates local talent at Regal Downtown West Cinema.
Knoxville Film Festival celebrates local talent at Regal Downtown West Cinema.
Published: Sep. 18, 2022 at 6:21 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 18, 2022 at 11:15 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - On Sunday, the annual Knoxville Film Festival hosted its final day supporting local filmmakers by screening their work.

The three-day festival took place at Regal Downtown West Cinema.

Keith McDaniel, the founder of the Knoxville Film Festival, said he started it in 2004. The goal was to build a community in Knoxville focusing on love for cinema while giving creators a way to feel supported artistically.

“We have spent the last 20 years really trying to build that community and build an opportunity for young artists, young filmmakers and seasoned filmmakers to be able to work creatively within the community and create new and show them and celebrate them,” McDaniel said.

For one filmmaker, who shot his new film entirely in Knoxville, the festival represented an opportunity to have his 8-year-long dream come true.

Chris Easterly, writer, producer and director of Devil’s Hollow, explained that festivals like the Knoxville Film Festival allow smaller films like his a chance to be seen on the big screen.

“I’m looking forward to it. I’m excited. I haven’t seen it on anything bigger than my TV, so it’ll be awesome just to see it with an audience,” Easterly said.

A panel including the cast and crew of "Devil's Hollow" answers fan questions on Sunday at the...
A panel including the cast and crew of "Devil's Hollow" answers fan questions on Sunday at the Knoxville Film Festival.(Richard Mason)

Aside from having multiple film blocks showing different short, feature and documentary films, the festival also hosted two workshops on Sunday.

The cast and crew of Devil’s Hollow hosted a panel discussion with the audience explaining the process of making the film. The second workshop focused on explaining to aspiring filmmakers or actors how to pursue a career in the film and television industry.

The festival also gave aspiring filmmakers a chance to put their skills to the test by hosting a competition it calls a seven-day shootout, where competitors had to create a short film in just seven days.

On Sunday night, an awards ceremony will celebrate the creators and a panel of industry professionals will decide who wins in each category.

Easterly explained how an Orson Welles quote helps to remind him of all the hard work that goes into making a film. By celebrating his cast and crew.

“‘A poet needs a pen, a painter needs a brush, but a filmmaker needs an army,’” Easterly said.