Cookeville’s Historic West Side to Host the Inaugural WCTE-PBS Downtown Film Festival

Press Release # State
The inaugural WCTE-PBS Downtown Film Festival poster

COOKEVILLE, TN – The inaugural WCTE-PBS Downtown Film Festival, in partnership with the Cookeville Performing Arts Center and The Storyteller Agency will take place Aug. 29 at Cookeville’s Historic West Side. The festival is a celebration of the best in non-fiction film, including a one-minute competition of viewer-submitted content via the PBS American Portrait digital platform, starring Upper Cumberland locals.

Everyone has a story, and this year those stories will be told in a big way with a full schedule of festival award-winning documentaries, interesting talkbacks, engaging workshops with filmmakers, and delicious food and drink from area restaurants, bars, and area favorite food trucks.

The festival will bring cinema under the stars for an after-dark film walkabout, with the top local videos from the American Portrait video categories projected onto the sides of Cookeville's landmark west side buildings.

The PBS American Portrait video project is open to anyone and everyone who would like to submit, requiring only a one-minute video look into your life, guided by prompts such as "I was raised to believe . .. " and "What gets me out of bed in the morning is ... " Now is the time to tell your story and see your face on the big screen! Submitting your American Portrait video is simple, and because the short films are glimpses into real, everyday American life, non-professional cell phone video submissions are encouraged. The national American Portrait storytelling project will be featured online and on PBS channels around the country. For submission information, visit www.pbs.org/american-portrait/create.

Downtown Film Festival is open to submissions from filmmakers around the world, and winners will receive recognition and a direct pipeline to public media with work featured on WCTE. Awards will be given for Best Documentary and Best Mini-Documentary, as well as special awards including the Stanger Award (honoring and celebrating the best unfinished documentary), the Young Filmmakers’ Award (celebrating and honoring works submitted by filmmakers ages 14-19, and the American Portrait Awards (honoring the best one-minute video submissions to the PBS American Portrait storytelling project).

Submission for this festival can be made by visiting: https://filmfreeway.com/WCTE-PBSDowntownFilmFestival.

Downtown Film has been an idea in the works for years, and WCTE is proud to partner with Cookeville Performing Arts Center and The Storyteller Agency to offer a new community initiative and creative outlet, something that can continue to offer a voice and storyteller platform for our region and home.

Careful consideration is being given to current community, state, and national precautions regarding COVID-19. The goal for Downtown Film is to make sure everyone stays safe and healthy, and special precautions of will be taken at the festival to encourage social distancing and offer sanitation opportunities.

Downtown Film’s walking cinema tour is free and open to the public, with no ticket purchase required. Workshops, screenings at CPAC, and other festival happenings will incur a separate ticket cost. VIP wristbands are available for festival-goer purchase and include a full schedule of happenings, festival merchandise, discounts at local restaurants during the festival, and more. VIP wristbands will be available for $75/individual or $125/couple. These wristbands will go on sale on Friday, July 17. Sponsorship opportunities are available and can be found by visiting the festival webpage. For more information, please email Laura Holloway lholloway@wcte.org.

WCTE has served the Upper Cumberland for more than 40 years as the region’s premier storyteller and is the only television station in a 75-mile radius of Cookeville, Tennessee, making it a strategic partner in education, health services, government, arts and music. WCTE is a 501(c) 3, and is owned and operated by the Upper Cumberland Broadcast Council. WCTE is one of only 350 PBS member stations nationwide.

Dr. Gwen Ford I Believe Ministries