Michael Samstag and I would like to personally invite you to attend the 2017 Scruffy City Film & Music Festival.

This year we have nearly 30 filmmakers, producers, and music composers flying in to Knoxville to support their films. The festival has become one of the premiere film festivals in the world for music composers. Films will be playing at Scruffy City Hall Thursday and Friday evening, and all day Saturday and Sunday. And of course, there will be incredible music at Preservation Pub and Scruffy City Hall after the last film screening each day. We'll see you at the shows!

Peace and freedom,

-- Scott West

Celebrating the Music of Film

A celebration of film and music, Film Score Festival features live musical performances, music documentaries, music videos, animation, shorts and feature films.

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Check out this short video featuring the artists and film makers from last years event

So, here’s a few films and bands you don’t want to miss!

Adele and Everything After, Thursday, July 27 ay 7:00pm

The moving story of a lonely, isolated woman with a heart condition, whose life is transformed by a service dog, and what happens when she has to let go of the loyal companion who changed her life.

After the film there will be a short Q&A with director Melissa Dowler, Producer Tom Dowler and subjects and experts from the film.

Paper Lanterns, Sunday, July 30 at 7pm

On August 6th, 1945, among the tens of thousands who lost their lives in the bombing of Hiroshima were 12 American POWs. Shigeaki Mori witnessed the blast and survived, but was forever changed.

Paper Lanterns explores Mori’s lifelong calling to tell the story of not only the many Japanese victims of the bomb, but of Normand Brissette, Ralph Neal and the ten other US airmen caught in the hell on earth of that day.

After the film there will be a short Q&A with Director Barry Frechette and Composer Chad Cannon.

MORE FILM LISTINGS: http://www.scruffycityfilmfest.com/2017-feature-films/

FULL FILM & MUSIC SCHEDULE: http://www.scruffycityfilmfest.com/2017-film-music-festival-schedule/

See you at the festival!

It should come as no surprise that Columbia, S.C.'s light-hearted fun-time rock outfit Villa*Nova began life in a darker place. When frontman Brian "B.C." Conner founded the band in 2007, his older brother Chris -- a longtime Columbia music scene fixture -- had recently passed after a battle with lung cancer.

When the band subsequently signed a record deal with Universal Republic, the label expressed a decided preference for the heavier songs in the band's diverse repertoire. Pressed for a name change, as well, Villa*Nova became Weaving the Fate -- the moniker having been cribbed from one of the elder Conner's song lyrics -- and released their lone major label effort, "The WTF EP."

Touring with the likes of FM radio stalwarts such as Korn, Staind, and Five-Finger Death Punch, WTF did a more than passable impression of a post-aughts, post-nu-metal heavy rock act. complete with manic-depressive vocal caterwauling and bottom-end-y guitar crunch.

But Conner tells there was something missing from that incarnation of the band-- namely, the jovial spirit and joie de vivre that was truly their default setting, not to mention their erstwhile fondness for funk.

"That first release was a little heavier," Conner says. "We went out and played some shows with Korn and Avenged Sevenfold, which was fun. But at the same time, our songs are more of a mixed bag. There's a lot of funky stuff, a lot of danceable, relatable music you can have a good time to.

"I like to write songs in that 'tortured artist' mode sometimes, but even then I like to put a listenable twist on it. I'm more into hard rock bands that have a little funky thing going on, bands like the Arctic Monkeys or Awolnation."

But Conner says the band sensed its shelf life as a major label recording act probably had an imminent expiration date. "We kind of knew it wouldn't last, so we milked it for all it was worth," he says.

And thus when the band split from UR in 2014, they reverted back to Villa*Nova, and set about recording a more representative platter in "Thread of Life," released independently in 2015.

Now two years gone from that release, Conner says the band will put out a stripped-down quasi-acoustic record next, a platter featuring spare renditions of songs from across every era of the their career, the retreads bolstered by a cover song or two and a pair of new original songs.

Villa*Nova are also laying up a stash of new songs for an early '18 full-length record. Between now and then, though, Conner is prepping for a heavy touring schedule as the band seeks to stir up interest anew among its not-inconsiderable fan base.

"We always see a big spike in our social media whenever we hit the road, and we've got pretty big numbers for a mid-level band," he says. "I think a lot of bands don't travel, they just put out content. But we believe you have to get out there and play for people in the real world if you want them to pick up your records.

"People still need that live, in-person contact to connect with you. You have to shake hands and say hello. When you've done that, that's when they'll take your music and bring it into their lives and into their homes."

Villa*Nova will play Preservation Pub Saturday, July 29 at 10 p.m.

The Cody Blackbird Band ~ FRIDAY JULY 28 @ Preservation Pub

https://youtu.be/GoSlUEmPgfM Native American flutist Cody Blackbird's mesmerizing instrumental flights of fancy are wondrous to behold -- soothing, majestic, and dazzling all at a stroke -- but they're only part of the magic that makes the Cody...

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Neither a surfing saga nor a family drama nor a proper history lesson, director Mark Christopher Covino's "The Crest" combines elements of all three as it illuminates the strange and wonderful ties that bind two surfers to one another and to their Irish ancestors, in spite of generational and geographic gulfs that separate them.

"It's a really hard film to describe," says Corvino in a recent phone interview. "People see the surfing element, but it's not really a surfing movie. I guess if I had to pin down one thing that it's about, I'd have to say it's about family. All of my films tend to have a family element."

That would include Corvino's previous film, "A Band Called Death," a 2012 documentary he co-directed with Jeff Howlett that put the two men on the filmmaking map. The movie explores the underground legend of Death, a circa-1970 rock 'n' roll power trio comprising three African-American Michigander siblings who pioneered a powerful brand of proto-punk, in much the same vein as their Detroit-area contemporaries the Stooges and the MC5.

"That one really exploded," says Covino with chuckle. "We've been playing film festivals five years straight with it, which is kind of unheard of."

It was during his travels in support of "ABCD" that Covino stumbled onto the notion that eventually morphed into "The Crest."

It began at an "ABCD" showing in Vermont in 2012, when Covino was introduced by an old friend to Andrew Jacob, a Cape Cod surfer boy with a weird story to tell. Through a bizarre chain of happenstance, Jacob had discovered he had a cousin named Dennis "D.K." Kane in San Diego, and that both men could trace their lineage back to Ireland. More specifically, both were descended from the country's storied Blasket Islands, and from a man known as "An Ri," the Blasket Islands King.

And what began as a series of fascinating coincidences turned into a full-fledged film project, as Covino and his crew sought to film the two men as they journeyed to the Blaskets on a sort of full-circle quest to surf the waters that surrounded their ancestral home.

"It was interesting in that they discovered so many similarities and parallels between themselves, and then between themselves and their ancestors," Covino says. "They're both surfers, and they both work on surf boards. They both build boats, like their ancestors.

"Those guys are so similar. They think alike. They speak alike. They tell the same kinds of jokes. You'd think they were brothers, not cousins."

Covino says shooting took place over an 18-day period in Ireland in spring of 2013, coinciding with an extended Kane family reunion, and with the advent of The Gathering, a sort of national Irish heritage celebration.

The natural beauty of the remote Irish countryside made for an awe-inspiring shoot, Covino says. "There were tons of green hills and trees, razor-sharp rocks, waters that were so crystal clear they looked tropical," he says.

But the production was also fraught. Due to fickle winds and rough seas around the islands, and because of the isles' distance from the nearest large mainland city, the Blaskets were evacuated in the 1950s. 

With naught but an old ferry to carry them from the mainland to the islands, the film crew was continually thwarted in its efforts to cross the bay and shoot the climactic surfing scenes.

"We'd get on the boat, and the ferry captain would say, no, it's too windy," Covino says. "I don't want to give away what exactly happens, but let's say the luck of the Irish finally caught up to us."

All's well that ends well, though, and "The Crest" wrapped with a test screening in Dingle, the tiny town nearest to the islands, and where many modern-day descendants of the Blaskets live today. "That was a magical moment," Covino says. "A lot of tears and hugging. I think the people of the town were really proud that we'd done justice to their story."

"The Crest" will screen Saturday, July 28 at 6:30 p.m.  at Scruffy City Hall.

Check out Ned and the Dirt's : Dear Liza

As wistful children of the ’90s, Los Angeles-based outfit Ned and the Dirt vend a tasty, tuneful, unabashedly pop-friendly brand of post-grunge rock ‘n’ roll in the vein of latter-day FM radio stalwarts like Live and the Goo Goo Dolls. It’s the kind of rock that everyone likes but no one likes to admit to, for fear of losing cred.

With the band’s new single “Toothache,” however — due out July 21 — Ned and the Dirt are, well, dirtying things up just a little, in a way that’s in keeping with the ’90s revivalist playbook.

“To me, ‘Toothache’ sounds a lot like a Ned and the Dirt version of a Nirvana song,” says NATD frontman Ned Durrett. “It has that kind of grit and crunch to it, like Nirvana or maybe an old Weezer tune. And to a great extent, that was a conscious decision.

“For me, the ’90s were my formative years in terms of listening to music; all of those sounds are very inspiring to me. I still listen to ‘Nevermind’ all the time. So Chris (Clark, NATD bassist) and I were sitting for a coffee not too long ago, bouncing ideas off one another. Asking, who are we as a band at this point in the game, and what do we want to sound like? And we decided to move toward a grittier, crunchier sound.”

Durrett actually founded NATD back home in his native South Carolina, but he says the band truly took off when he moved to Los Angeles some nine years ago. Durrett’s wife, an aspiring comedienne, quickly made new friends on the L.A. comedy circuit, and it was through her network that Durrett met Clark, now his longtime partner in crime.

“We took to each other so much; it just felt right,” Durrett says. “He went out on the road with me two weeks after we met. We were fast friends. Or really, more like fast family.”

They eventually met another kindred spirit in Atlanta ex-pat/music school graduate/drummer Joseph Freeman. The threesome bonded over the notion of “make really interesting music that’s kind of a throwback to the music we grew up listening to.”

NATD have released two full-length albums to date: 2014’s “Giants,” and the 2015 follow-up “Wild Pack: Haunt These Woods.” Both records are full-to-bursting with the hallmarks of ’90s alternative pop-rock — sharp dynamic contrasts; soaring, Vedder-esqe vocal melodies; jangly rhythm guitars that give way to potent power-chord crunch.

True to Durrett’s promise, the new single “Toothache” ups the ante on all of that. Like a musical version of Jolt Cola, its punchy chorus brings all of the tuneful sugar with twice the caffeinated crunch. Durrett says the song should serve as an announcement of sorts, the herald of a new record, and of NATD’s newer and more formidable sound.

“We’ve got a batch of new songs already locked and loaded, probably for release around the end of the year,” Durrett says. “I think we’ve gotten even more back to our roots, to stuff like the Lemonheads and the Pixies. This is going to be an even more in-your-face ’90s alt-rock-sounding record.”

Ned and the Dirt will play Preservation Pub Thursday, July 27 at 10 p.m.


Scruffy City Film & Music Festival 2017

"What makes the festival special is the genuine sense of hospitality from the festival and venue staff. Thank you Scruffy City!"

Here’s the day by day rundown:

Day 1 of the Scruffy City Film & Music Festival Scruffy City Hall

Mixer: Scruffy Main Bar


7 PM 

Adele and Everything After (The moving story of a lonely, isolated woman with a heart condition whose life is transformed by a service dog) Q&A after the 7pm film

9pm shorts


MEOB (Knox Indie Rock)
Sweet Years - band (Knox Indie Rock) at Pres Pub 
Ned and the Dirt (Los Angeles, CA 90's Alt-Revival)

Day 2 of the Scruffy City Film & Music Festival Scruffy City Hall

Mixer: Scruffy Main Bar

No Roads In Screening at Scruffy City Film Festival - Knoxville (An abandoned homestead, twelve songs and five days to cut an album. A journey into how the power of music transforms our life.)
Q&A after the 7pm film

8:30 shorts


Milkshake Fatty (Funk/ Soul/ Jazz from Knoxville) Preservation Pub:

The Cody Blackbird Band (Alter-Native Blues Rock fusion band)

*repeat repeat (East Nash surf rockcandy)

Tristen Brooke Band (Detroit, MI Percussive gypsy funk rock)

Day 3 of the Scruffy City Film & Music Festival Scruffy City Hall


1pm shorts

3pm When to Die (political and social themes through the lens of Civil War reenacting)

5pm Scoring When to Die

6pm Main Bar Mixer

6:30pm The Crest (Two cousins meet for the first time in Ireland on a quest to explore their shared heritage, and to surf the waters of their ancestors.)

8pm End Film portion of day, set up and sound check for Music Portion


Scroof party


Alanna Royale (rock, pop, funk and soul)

Electric Darling (Knox Soul-Infused Rock)

Ex-Gold (Knox Indie)

Preservation Pub:

VillaNova (Columbia, SC funky pop rock)

SoulRevue featuring Chelsea Samples (Knox Soul R&B Funk)


Final Day of the Scruffy City Film & Music Festival Scruffy City Hall


2pm Shorts

4pm Actors Of Sound (the viewer is transported into the dark, cluttered prop rooms where Foley artists make their magic)

6pm Main Bar Mixer

7pm Paper Lanterns (The image of President Obama and embracing Mori-san defines what this project has been all about.)

Awards Ceremony on the Scroof

Preservation Pub

Brandijo Kistler (Irvine, CA soul)

Charles Walker Band (Milwaukee, WI Neo Funk)

No Roads In Screening at Scruffy City Film Festival - KnoxvilleFriday, July 28 at 7pm
Sound engineer Adam Naugler was fascinated by a nearby abandoned homestead.
Hunkered against battering winter winds, adrift on summer wheat seas, the building was so forgotten the road in had long faded. Yet, year in and out, the building seemed, like a beacon, to call to him. A call to what?
The moment he stepped inside, Naugler felt the answer to this question in the sound of his own voice. Amongst the cracked plaster, torn floorboards, and bare windows open to the raw prairie, Naugler heard acoustic perfection.
After the film there will be a short Q&A with Producer Adam Naugler and Composer Blake Reid. If we’re lucky, Blake just might play us a song or two!

The CrestSaturday, July 29 at 6:30pm
Two descendants of an Irish king journey to an island where he once presided-not to reclaim the land, but to surf the waves.
After the film there will be a brief Q&A with Composer Darius Holbert.

Actors Of SoundSunday, July 30 at 4pm
From footsteps to bone cracks, Foley artists bring films to life with their imaginative sound effects, but as digital technology goes full speed ahead in 21st century moviemaking, can Hollywood’s low tech Foley artist survive in this high tech age?
After the film there will be a short Q&A with Director Lalo Molina

MORE FILM LISTINGS: http://www.scruffycityfilmfest.com/2017-feature-films/
FULL FILM & MUSIC SCHEDULE: http://www.scruffycityfilmfest.com/2017-film-music-festiva…/

See you at the festival!