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Louisville’s Flyover Film Festival creates a space to consume and discuss cinema

Four people sit in front of a screen with the words Flyover Film Festival projected on it. One of them holds a mic. They are speaking in front of a room seated people.
Flyover Film Festival
Flyover Film Festival will feature screenings, Q&A sessions and panel discussions.

During Flyover Film Festival, filmmakers and film lovers connect through screenings, Q&As and panel conversations. Over the three-day festival, filmmakers will descend upon Louisville to screen their films.

The festival is a collaboration of the Louisville Film Society and the Speed Cinema.

“Over the last decade or so, flyover has come to really become …a celebration of films that were either shot in Kentucky or remade by Kentuckians or Louisvillians,” said Stu Pollard, chair of the Louisville Film Society’s Board of Directors.

Pollard said a Kentucky perspective isn’t mandatory for films screened during Flyover, but organizers do try to highlight films that highlight the state.

“It's not just about the stuff in our backyard, it's about the people,” Pollard said.

Flyover will kick off with a screening of Elaine McMillion Sheldon’s “King Coal,” which examines lasting cultural influences coal has over Appalachia even as the industry dwindles.

Sheldon’s film set the tone for amplifying the voices of Kentuckians, Southerners, and their stories.

Director Richard Van Kleeck’s documentary “Fleeting Reality” will premiere at the festival. He sat down with multiple Pulitzer-Prize-winning photojournalists from the Courier Journal to get the stories behind images.

“When we began this film, we didn't quite know whether we had a story or not,” Van Kleeck said. “But after the first two interviews in this, picking our jaws up off the ground from the stories we knew. “

While Van Kleeck’s documentary subjects are from Louisville’s legacy newspaper, he said the stories they tell go far outside the state.

“So the emotional arc of this is from some of the silly antics in the infield of Kentucky Derby … to the killing fields of Cambodia,” said Van Kleeck. “That's the range we're covering here with some of these stories.”

Van Kleeck said he was looking forward to the chance to see live-time reactions to his film.

“I know how I feel about different chapters and different scenes. But that doesn’t mean the audience is going to feel the same way,” Van Kleeck said.

That face-to-face interaction with attendees is what makes the festivals so special to many creators.

Margaret Miller’s short film “Poof” will screen during the shorts block. She’s spent her summer on the festival circuit showing the comedy about women selling make-up door to door.

“I love talking to other filmmakers. And I love when people are genuinely curious about your stories, or your characters, or how you got that take, like it's very surprising,” Miller said.

Through the Q&As and panels, the organizers and filmmakers hope to show people how much work goes into creating cinema.

“It's everything that goes behind it, which is 94% of the filmmaking is the crew, and you know, the writers and everything like that,” Miller said.

They said displaying this feels especially important with the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes as both unions wait for the studios to return to the negotiating table.

“If you're into the local film scene, and you want to hear that straight from a filmmaker's perspective, you're gonna have ample opportunity to have that conversation,” Pollard said.

Flyover Film Festival runs July 28 through July 30 with screenings, post-film Q&A sessions and panel discussions.

Breya Jones is the Arts & Culture Reporter for LPM. Email Breya at bjones@lpm.org.

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