"I Don't Do This For Love, I Do This For Love," a short documentary following local singer/songwriter Nathan Bell during a tour last year in the United Kingdom, will make its premiere this weekend as part of the Chattanooga Film Festival's virtual festival.
John Dower is a British director whose credits include several episodes of "EastEnders," a soap opera for the BBC, as well as a short called "The Day After Stonewall Died," which he did with Chattanoogan Anthony Sims.
Bell provided the soundtrack for the latter and following that collaboration, which won the Best Score award at the Dublin International Short Film and Music Festival in 2013. Dower and Bell have talked about doing a music video together. A year or so ago, Bell suggested Dower simply follow him around during one of his annual tours of the United Kingdom, where Bell regularly performs to sold-out audiences.
"The audiences there are different than they are here in the U.S.," Bell said. "They still appreciate storytelling."
Dower said that during his visits to the South with Sims, he was struck with "how present the past is in the South. The shadow of the Civil War is everywhere."
A history buff himself, Dower said the British are likewise tied to their history, and the stories that go with it, so he felt a kinship with Sims and Bell, who is a skilled musician and storyteller.
"He is a man coming to a foreign country and telling the stories of his life and where he comes from. Nathan's work goes down very well here. We love being told a story. Preferably a tragic one, and he is really good at that. But, he is also an amazingly compassionate and loving soul."
The nearly 12-minute film is comprised of performance pieces, as well as interviews conducted by Dower and his daughter Eden. She filmed some of the footage, along with friend Spike Wright, and the two young filmmakers were given the chance to learn the trade on the project.
She also did the graphics and the poster for the project.
The crew followed Bell around the U.K. filming his various performances.
"It's not a wham-bam film like some others. It's a rather quiet film. A poetic film," Dower said of the film, adding that "it's about how an outsider perceives his role as a storyteller."
Veteran sound engineer Steve Chase did the audio editing and Dower said after sending him the film to edit, Chase called and said, 'He is the real deal.' That's who worked on this film. People who wanted to.'
Contact Barry Courter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6354.