If you've finished watching Netflix and Hulu and are looking for something new and different to watch, there is good news, at least this weekend.
The Chattanooga Film Festival, which was set to take place April 16-19 at Songbirds, will now take place online Friday-Monday, May 22-25, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Festival organizers are working with Microsoft and its partners MediaKind, Evergent, VisualOn and Slalom, to present a full, four-day interactive, virtual version of the festival. As with the actual festival, online attendees will have the ability to connect, discuss and network in real time while enjoying feature films, shorts, panels and live events by using communications and media technology in new, collaborative ways.
"In addition to the films we screen every year, the heart and soul of the festival are the friends we make and the community," said the executive director and lead programmer, Chris Dortch II.
"When Microsoft approached us with this idea, we knew it meant the difference for the Chattanooga Film Festival surviving as an arts nonprofit. We are excited to innovate with Microsoft and MediaKind to deliver a virtual film festival that helps our community connect during these times."
The festival's feature and short films, which will only be accessible during the festival's four days, will be streamed through MediaKind's MediaFirst TV Platform hosted on Azure. Microsoft Teams live events will power post-film Q&As, panels, and live events. Supported by integrations with Evergent and VisualOn, the film community and cinephiles in the United States will be able to purchase badges that allow them to access the event from any device and interact with up-and-coming filmmakers and industry experts.
Panel guests will include Alex Winter, who will discuss his deep dive into the works of musician Frank Zappa, and producer David Lawson, who will listen as seven hand-selected filmmakers give five-minute pitches on their projects.
One winner will then get a one-on-one session with Lawson. Also, patrons will be able to participate in a Q&A session with members of heavy metal act GWAR, as well as a session with actor/rapper Ice-T and filmmaker Ernest Dickerson, who will discuss the making of "Remembering the Game."
Among the many films to be shown will be "I Don't Do This for Love, I Do This for Love," a 12-minute documentary film by Scottish filmmaker John Dower on Chattanooga singer-songwriter Nathan Bell.
Proceeds from the sale of the badges will benefit the Chattanooga Film Festival. To help the filmmakers who participate, the festival will split part of the proceeds with them. Virtual badges will be capped at 30,000 attendees and are $10 for one-day access, $30 for full four-day access and VIP access for $100. The VIP pass will allow folks to gain access to a few additional titles and provide the opportunity to give extra support to the festival and the filmmakers.
More information can be found at chattfilmfest.org.