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Heritage House hosting Gig City Film Festival

Most Chattanoogans probably won’t attend the Cannes or Sundance Film Festival this year, but a new local festival is bringing high-quality films to the Scenic City this February that doesn’t require a plane ticket.

The Gig City Film Festival, which is being held at the Heritage House in East Brainerd as a part of the Nashville Film Festival, is Saturday, Feb. 2 from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m. It features five highly acclaimed films across a variety of genres, panel discussions and an entrance fee of $15 for the entire day or $5 per film.

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From left, Emily Bowman, Chris Holley and Kris C. Jones of Heritage House Arts and Civic Center prepare for the upcoming Gig City Film Festival that features five highly acclaimed films.

“These films are going to be hard to see anywhere else,” said Heritage House Director Chris Holley. “This is where you can get a full screening of the film and the opportunity to talk to the people who were involved with it.”

The new festival and several other efforts around town to promote a local film culture are a relatively recent addition to the Chattanooga arts culture, she said.

“The film community fairly recently just became aware of itself,” said Holley. “Before, it was this underground community where nobody knew each other, so in the last seven or so years we have grown tremendously as a community because we realized we were a community.”

Chattanooga’s involvement in film includes everything from students studying film and people who just love to watch it to production professionals who have a lot of experience in the business, actors, screenwriters and production companies that produce work locally.

Holley said things like festivals and blockbuster movies including “42” and “Water for Elephants” that were filmed locally help energize the local film community and bring the city new opportunities.

“Everyone that gets involved with these helps promote the city and helps promote us as a film community,” she said.

To help facilitate more events like this festival and generate even more opportunities for the film community in Chattanooga to network, Holley said Heritage House will begin hosting a monthly meeting called The Back Lot. The first session is Monday, Feb. 18 from 6-9 p.m. and additional meetings will fall on the third Monday of each month at the same time, she said.

“This will be a coffeehouse setting for all those different film-related groups to come together,” she said. “It will be a great opportunity to bring all the different groups together to cross-pollinate and network.”

For more information about the upcoming Gig City Film Festival visit www.chattanooga.gov/education-arts-and-culture.

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