Filmmaker Keith McDaniel Steps in Front of the Camera for New TV Show

This Sunday at 3 p.m. on East Tennessee PBS, Keith McDaniel—the auteur behind Oak Ridge's annual Secret City Film Festival—will debut his new monthly talk show featuring Tennessee filmmakers. It's named, coincidentally enough, Tennessee Filmmaker With Keith McDaniel. On each one-hour episode, McDaniel will interview independent filmmakers from the area and screen their work, giving viewers their firsthand tales of making movies (both narrative and documentary) in our fair state. McDaniel will be drawing from his sizable address book to book guests.

"Running the Secret City Film Festival for the past eight years has given me an opportunity to get to know, or at least meet, most of the filmmakers from East Tennessee. So, I know their work," he writes in an e-mail interview. "As far as filmmakers from across the state, I will being doing some research and relying on recommendations from other filmmakers and film festival directors. The bottom line is I want to interview as many filmmakers and show as many films as possible, but with the show just airing once a month, that might take a while."

First up are East Tennesseans Mitch Moore (writer) and Leigh Ann Jernigan (director and producer) of the short film The Personal Day as well as Emmy-nominated Nashville documentarian Zac Adams. McDaniel says his goal for the show is to give attention to homegrown filmmakers who often get overlooked, particularly by the state's own incentive program for movie productions.

"We hear a lot about the state incentives for films to be brought into the state, but, honestly, in my opinion, that has very little impact on the independent filmmaking community," McDaniel says. "Don't get me wrong, I support a strong incentive program for filmmaking in Tennessee but it must include some kind of incentives for people who already live here, work here, do business here and pay taxes here. But unfortunately, I have found that local filmmakers just don't get much recognition. Hopefully, this program will expose Tennesseans to these hardworking artists who are our neighbors."

A documentary filmmaker himself, McDaniel will have two of his most recent projects air on ETPBS as well. First, his look at Roane State Community College, 40 Years of Class, will premiere Sunday at 6 p.m.; second, his history of Grainger County, Valley of Independence, will air Thursday, Jan. 26, at 9:30 p.m. Tennessee Filmmaker With Keith McDaniel will broadcast a new installment the second Sunday of every month.