Nashville Film Festival: Documentary Shorts Program 1 & 2 Review

Nashville Film Festival: Documentary Shorts Program 1 & 2 Review

The Nashville Film Festival has arrived, and over the next week, I will be covering the festival and all of the films that I watch. From Short films to Documentaries to Featured Films and more, the festival is filled, with movies that range from all sorts of genres.

Documentary Shorts Program 1 & 2: This is a list of short films that the Festival bundles together for you to watch.

Mr. Somebody

A former member of the Crips searches for redemption after 14 years behind bars.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The story is heartbreaking because the system is set up to let Black men and women fail. We watch how this short showcase that “getting out” isn’t as easy as everyone makes it out to be. You can’t just walk out like nothing ever happened and get treated like an equal. While this short was meaningful, the story fell short because it was slow and methodical. I get what they were trying to do, but they did a poor job of executing the story. This story deserved so much better than what we got.

The Seeker

The Seeker explores a crisis of faith within Maine’s Amish community, the pain and anguish of separating from loved ones, and ways to find solace and spirituality afterward.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Our documentary follows Kenneth, who starts to questions the word of God, and in doing so, he is exiled from the church, his family, and neighbors. The short is enduring and honest, but it doesn’t stand out in a way that made you think ‘this was good.’

Ang Pagpakalma as Unos (To Calm the Pig Inside)

To Calm the Pig Inside is a contemplation on the effects a typhoon leaves on a seaside city. Myths are woven in to try to understand how people cope with the devastation and trauma. A girl divulges bits and pieces of her own memory of her grandmother and mother to tie in the experiences she felt visiting this ravaged port city.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Devastation, death, and destruction that is left behind after each typhoon. that hits their city. Joanna Arong does a fantastic job of painting the picture, showing us the devastation, and letting us hear first-hand accounts from our narrator.

To Calm the Pig was heartbreaking, raw, emotional, and a fantastic short.

Call Center Blues

CALL CENTER BLUES is a lyrical portrait of an unlikely community of US deportees and their loved ones struggling to rebuild their lives in Tijuana, Mexico.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Call Center Blues, like To Calm the Pig Inside, was presented to us in this beautiful way to share a heartbreaking story, and Geeta Gandbhir did a remarkable job of making you feel the hurt and the pain these families are going through.

The Starr Sisters

Patte and Randa Starr are “fun specialists.” After overcoming a dark past, these sisters are inseparable. Now in their 70s, they do exactly as they please, and their candy drawer is always fully stocked.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

I would like to let out one big SIGH right now. The Starr Sisters was one big over the top bad reality show, and even with it’s fifteen-minute run time, it still felt too long.

My Brothers Keeper

My Brother’s Keeper is about the remarkable friendship between former Guantánamo detainee, Mohamedou Ould Salahi, and his one-time American prison guard, Steve Wood, who gradually became convinced of his innocence.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

This is a story of a friendship, while sweet and charming, it just felt like a Facebook video on a larger scale.

Bug Farm

Four distinct women in Central Florida bond over working with crickets, superworms, and roaches on an insect farm in the small town of LaBelle.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

An interesting story but nothing to see here.

Huntsville Station

Every weekday, inmates are released from Huntsville State Penitentiary in Texas, taking in their first moments of freedom with phone calls, cigarettes, and quiet reflection at the Greyhound station up the block.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The story was simplistic. We watched these men being released from prison and back into the world and how they are given just a few dollars and sent on their way.

One of the troubling things I saw was the gentleman who let them use his phone to call their family but was charging them for a spritz of cologne. Listening to some of the men speak in the short breaks your heart, but I hope each of them lived and learned. Nothing great, but it was solid.


Not just for pumping iron, the gym Kachalka is a place to see and be seen, where those working out are just as eclectic as the 200-plus machines fashioned from cast-off Soviet-era machinery.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

I mean, it was a solid watch but un-eventful.

The Heart Still Hums

A documentary short, following five women as they fight for their children through the cycle of homelessness, drug addictions and neglect from their own parents. Unique, yet undoubtedly familiar to many; a story on fear, sacrifice and the unconditional love between a mother and her children.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

I loath a film when they try to shoot in black and white and it is unnecessary. This is one of those stories that is sad, and they are meant to yank at your emotions and for me, it just wasn’t the case. While I feel empathy for the characters, this never felt like something that was going to be good.

Jacob is a film critic and co-founder of the Music City Drive-In. He is a member of the Music City Film Critics’ Association and specializes in the awards season. You can find him on Twitter @Tberry57.

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