The new Chattanooga Film Festival will begin accepting film submissions on Wednesday. The festival's website, chattanoogafilmfest.com, is also up and running.
Twenty main films will be selected for the four-day festival, slated for April 3-6, including showcases for regional, national and student films.
The festival is the brainchild of Chris Dortch, founder of local indie film club Mise En Scenesters, in partnership with the Chattanooga Film Society.
"If you're serious about film, we want to hear from you," says Dortch. "We know there is a lot of buried treasure from around the region."
Joining Dortch are Grey Watson, a Chattanooga native who now works for Warner Brothers in Los Angeles -- "It's funny how much more quickly people respond to emails when it's from a Warner Brothers address," Dortch jokes -- and Mara Tasker, a friend of Watson who works for Vice Media in L.A.
Tasker was sniffing out picks for the Chattanooga festival while attending Sundance Film Festival last week in Park City, Utah. To create CFF's posters they nabbed L.A.-based artist Tai Yii Yeh, who designed posters for "The Dark Knight Rises" movie and the TV show "True Blood."
Planners have their eye on major independent films -- some never before seen in the country -- as well as some classic picks and movies by film students and unknown producers. An audience choice award and at least one monetary award will be given to the favorite films in the festival.
There is a fee to submit films -- $15 for students, $40 for others. Early submissions -- sent by Feb. 14 -- receive a discounted $25 fee. The fee for submissions after March 15 is $50.
The festival will kick off with an opening night gala at the Hunter Museum of American Art, and movie screenings will be in the Carmike Majestic Theater downtown. Five panels, movie discussions and four parties are also on the agenda for the weekend. Ticket prices will range from $10 for individual movies to a $200 VIP pass.
Knoxville, Nashville, Atlanta and Birmingham host their own film festivals, but Dortch expects the Chattanooga Film Festival to carve out its own niche with a distinctly Chattanooga vibe.
"We want to create that pipeline from Chattanooga to Hollywood," say Dortch. "But we also want Chattanooga to be the first place people think of when they think of movies and the Southeast."