Knoxville Films Premieres 24-Hour Film Festival

This Friday, Knoxvillians will once again witness teams of sweaty filmmakers scrambling around downtown to make short films in a short amount of time. But the competition won't be the familiar Marble City 10-Hour Film Festival, which dissolved after five years; taking its place will be the Knoxville 24-Hour Film Festival. Local filmmaker collective Knoxville Films stepped in with the new festival to keep the original's filmmaking spirit alive, and instituted a few changes along the way.

First, filmmaking teams will now have 24 hours to complete a four-minute (rather than a three-minute) mini-masterpiece incorporating three mystery items that won't be revealed until the competition kicks off in Market Square on Friday, Aug. 20, at 7 p.m. The next day, the finished films must be submitted between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at Latitude 35 (16 Market Square).

"It's the most fun you can have in one day, 100 percent pure adrenaline," says festival director Michael Samstag. "Knoxville Films has always had a blast competing in other film shoot-out competitions, and we feel with 24 hours, teams can easily produce better films which can be submitted to other film festivals."

Another difference this year is that the public screening at the Bijou Theatre will happen five days later, on Thursday, Aug. 26 at 7 p.m. Samstag says this gives contest judges more time to make careful decisions while allowing organizers more time to plan the screening itself. Also, the prizes are substantial—a claimed $10,000 worth of stuff in 15 prize categories—with items such as free camera equipment rentals for directors or talent representation for actors, donated by local film-related companies like Jupiter Entertainment and Talent Trek. It's a credible sign that Knoxville's filmmaking community is becoming more cohesive.

"While it's difficult to gauge if the filmmaking community is getting bigger, it's definitely getting better," Samstag says. "When we compare the quality of the submissions over the past years, it's incredible how much the films have improved. It's been fun watching young filmmakers find their stride and we love seeing what the more seasoned filmmakers will produce. This year, we expect to showcase some incredible short films!"

Samstag estimates a total of 30 teams will be competing in the festival; if you'd like to join them, you can register at or at the event.