Part two of our Storyteller Spotlight interview with Lookout Wild Film Festival (LWFF) founder and director Andy Johns. LWFF came to our attention when Throw was selected for the program. Currently in its fifth year, LWFF is committed to showcasing wild places and the people they inspire through a film festival that highlights the city of Chattanooga. If you missed part one of our interview with Andy, you can check it out here.
What are you most looking forward to this year? It’s really fun having seen all of the films multiple times and knowing what’s coming. I know a couple of films that will make the audience cry, several that will make them burst out in laughter and a couple just jaw-dropping scenes that are going to make an impact. Sharing those experiences with our audience here in Chattanooga is so much fun. Many film festivals break up their screenings into small blocks in 100-150 seat venues. We’ve always shown all of the films together in one big 800-seat room so we all share the moments together.
Are there any films that you think will surprise people? I think the only films worth showing are the ones that will surprise people. Whether it’s the scenery, the characters, the action or the story — if it doesn’t show our audience something new, we’re probably not going to show it. Some of the films that do a really good job of that this year are Edges, Throw, Dodo’s Delight and Chasing Niagara. Edges tells the story of a 90-year-old ice skater who is an inspiration to all of us. Throw is all centered on this rich character who may give people a certain reaction at first, but really draws them in once they meet him. Dodo’s Delight shatters the idea of a rock climbing film by making us love this rag tag bunch of climbers. Chasing Niagara is the most intense film we’ve ever shown but I can’t say anything more without spoiling anything.
What purpose do you want the festival to hold for filmmakers and filmgoers? I don’t ever want our festival to be a stepping-stone or qualifier to bigger festivals and Hollywood fame. Ok, maybe the fame wouldn’t be so bad. I hope the purpose of LWFF will always be finding great cinematic storytellers and helping them share their stories with our rabid audience.
One unexpected thing we’ve seen over the years is how the films can really inspire people to live out their own adventure or take care of the wild places around us. People come to the festival and get energized to live adventurously and it’s great to talk with them after seeing the films.
This part sounds a little hokey, but we really believe it. Chattanooga is a great place to live and we think that by bringing people together and inspiring them by telling stories, we can make it an even better place.
The Lookout Wild Film Festival runs from January 19-22, 2017 in Chattanooga, TN. Check out the film festival’s trailer, program and buy tickets at www.lookoutfilmfestival.org.