The Nashville Film Festival wrapped last Thursday, with over 22,000 attendees — a 10% increase from 2007 — and 31 sold-out screenings. Though not necessarily a total surprise, one of the big hits of the festival was Barry Simmons’s documentary Sons of Lwala, which not only took home the NPT Human Spirit Award, but also walked away with the Audience Award for Best Documentary and the Tennessee Independent Spirit Award for best Feature Length Film. All this for a film that Simmons, as he told me at the Festival before his first screening, hadn’t submitted to any other festivals.
Simmons may have been a journalist before his Sons of Lwala journey began, but he’s definitely a filmmaker now
From an NPT angle, this is the second year in a row that the NPT Human Spirit Award Winner has gone on to win the Audience Award. Last year, The Clinton 12, picked up both.