The Louisville Film Society’s Flyover Film Festival, now in its ninth year, was started to celebrate the often-overlooked film industry in town. The festival has always been a draw for artists and those interested in indie filmmaking, but thanks to a hefty tax incentive put in place by former Gov. Beshear, the film industry in Kentucky has been growing by leaps and bounds.
This year’s festival, which starts Sunday, features a crop of great-looking films, with full-length features and intriguing documentaries. Insider has the low down on those films, as well as a closer look at one of our favorites in the fest.
“Beauty Mark” is a film addressing poverty and abuse. It’s set — and was filmed — in the Portland neighborhood. We talked with the writer/director of the film, Harris Doran, to find out how he chose Louisville to shoot, why the film’s subject interests him, and how the movie is being received at festivals across the country.
“Originally when I wrote the script, it was going to be a rural setting, and then I met Gill (Holland) and Gill loved the script, and he was the one who said, ‘You know, you should really think about Portland,’” says Doran.
Harris warmed up to the idea fast, finding that the urban setting helped underline the themes of the film.
“It felt like it was more powerful to set it there than somewhere rural, because this happens underneath our noses in all of our cities,” says Doran. “And there are people in positions where there is no support — there’s no governmental support, there’s no societal support and even no familial support, and then you get in a position where, what do you do when there are no safety nets?”
While parts of the cast and crew were imports, many came from right here in the 502.
“We got a great group together of people,” Doran says. “Some of our key people flew in from New York and L.A., but then everyone else were people who live in Louisville. We had a sensational crew, and it really felt like a family.”
“Beauty Mark” also is giving back to Louisville by partnering with a nonprofit that helps those who face the same kinds of problems that play a key role in the film’s story.
“We partnered with Family and Children’s Place … We’re donating a portion of the proceeds to them, and we are going to be having an event just before our screening on the 28th,” explains Doran.
Inviting the charity to the screening also serves one of Doran’s main goals in producing “Beauty Mark.”
“I hope the film starts a conversation of these multi-intersectional issues so that things that are really difficult in our world start to be talked about,” he adds.
The film premiered last month at the L.A. Film Festival.
“It got rave reviews, and Auden Thornton, who plays the lead role Angie, she got a special jury award for Breakout Performance,” Doran says. “So it’s been very thrilling to see the response to the film be so strong.”
Hopefully with that kind of heat, “Beauty Mark” will screen at a lot of festivals, showcasing not only an important story but also the great and growing film scene in Louisville.
Another movie Insider is particularly excited about is “Fermented,” a documentary featuring Louisville’s favorite celebrity chef Edward Lee. The film follows Lee as he travels the world learning about how different cultures and cooks utilize fermentation.
The rest of the festival looks just as enticing.
Feature film “And Then I Go” was also shot in Louisville at Fern Creek High School. The coming-of-age drama examines friendship and power dynamics in high school.
“One Hundred Thousand Beating Hearts” documents one rural farmer’s struggle to keep up with the changing demands of sustainable food.
“Most Beautiful Island,” which won the Grand Jury Award for Narrative feature at SXSW, is a devastatingly human look at the hot-button social issue of immigration, following the journey of one woman’s struggles. It’s a Gill Holland-produced film as well.
But the world of film isn’t all highbrow art and informative documentaries. “Tragedy Girls,” shot in Springfield, Ky., is an updated take on the slasher genre. If you’re a sucker for horror films, this is the movie for you.
Rounding out this year’s offerings is “Serenade for Haiti,” a documentary by Louisville’s own Owsley Brown III. The film delves into post-earthquake life in Haiti, showing how music can help heal the wounds of a nation.
The Flyover Film Festival runs July 23-July 28, and films will be screened at the Kentucky Center for the Arts and Speed Art Museum. You can find the complete schedule and purchase tickets on the website.