Congratulations to the 2023 Elev8tor Pitch Competition Winners!
First Place – Catacombs (Dir. Chad Cunningham)
Second Place – Solidarity (Dir. Asya Mounger)
Third Place – Tenebris (Dir. Kelly Burke)
“I’m so encouraged for the future of our filmmaking community thanks to FILM FEST KNOX,” said Chad Cunningham, Director of Catacombs. “The festival as a whole was phenomenal in its first year, but the introduction of the Elev8or Pitch competition is truly a game changer presenting valuable opportunities to filmmakers like myself who want to make feature films. The guidance and investment of seasoned industry leaders will be extremely beneficial to me as I move through the development lab. Home grown East Tennessee films and filmmakers will grow from this program and that is very exciting.”
The jury of the Elev8or Pitch competition included Paul Harrill, Co-Chair of the University of Tennessee Cinema Studies program and one of FILM FEST KNOX’s Co-Founders; Kristin Shrader, independent awards consultant for Netflix and other studios; and Keith Thomas, Head of Development for Marcus Entertainment.
On behalf of the jury, Kristin Shrader wrote, “It was a treat and an honor to serve as a judge for the Elev8or Pitch competition at the inaugural FILM FEST KNOX this weekend. The films were excellent and exceeded any expectations I had of the amazing film community in town. The programmed features were crazy good!”
Behind the Scenes
For two months, 19 filmmaking teams in Knoxville developed and produced short films as a proof-of-concept for a feature film. This category included the following films: Along Came, Catacombs, Field Call, Neon Shadows, Rock-A-Bye, Secret City, Solidarity, and Tenebris. The best film and pitching producer were awarded Film Fest Knox's first-ever Best Pitch. The top three winners received mentorship from industry professionals, including a development lab with Paul Harrill, to develop their projects to be pitch-ready for production companies.