Two of Nashville’s Most Beloved Institutions Join Forces to Offer Cutting-Edge Mix of New and Repertory Cinema

As the perpetually evolving landscape of media production and distribution continues to offer new opportunities for creator and consumer alike, certain aspects of how we experience and appreciate art tend to fall by the wayside. Among the most glaring examples is the notion of cinema as a communal phenomenon – of the theater as a public meeting space to indulge in acts of group-fantasy. As the market for new productions – large and small – becomes increasingly oriented to an era of digital distribution and on-demand home viewing, we lose the richness of discourse associated with sharing an emotional experience with strangers in a darkened room. The collective gasp at a third-act twist; embracing your date in a moment of fright; the heated post-film debate in the theater lobby – these are the sort of exchanges that risk endangered-status as the archetypical cinematic venue moves from the screening room to the living room.

It is with this in mind that Third Man Records has partnered with the Southeast’s flagship arthouse cinema, The Belcourt Theatre, to announce The Light And Sound Machine, a monthly film series to take place on the third Thursday of each month at Third Man’s performance space in downtown Nashville. Screenings are curated and hosted by filmmaker and critic James Cathcart, whose goal is to provide a venue for marginalized cinema, past and present, unlike any other in our city. Focusing on micro-budget productions by emerging directors, groundbreaking experimental film from all eras, and rarely screened repertory classics, each program promises a trove of curiosities for the adventurous film-goer. Presented digitally and on 16mm, the initial season’s eclectic offerings range from Dan Sallitt’s controversial yet tender 2012 feature THE UNSPEAKABLE ACT, to Kidlat Tahimik’s transcultural meditation PERFUMED NIGHTMARE (1977.)

The Light And Sound Machine’s inaugural exhibition will take place February 21st at 7pm, and will feature the bleak anti-comedy BAD FEVER (Dustin Guy Defa, 2012), preceded by the Safdie Bros.’ THE BLACK BALLOON (2012), an acerbic re-imagining of Albert Lamorisse’s classic LE BALLON ROUGE. Admission is $10. Both the director, Dustin Guy Defa, and lead actor, Kentucker Audley, of Bad Fever will be in attendance.

Though programming space is very limited, feature and short film submissions are welcome. Contact: for additional information.

Tickets available for Belcourt members at a discount for $8 via the Belcourt website (, non members please purchase via Third Man (

A nod to the character based inquiries into the American condition that were the hallmark of 1970’s filmmaking, Dustin Guy Defa’s BAD FEVER introduces Eddie (Kentucker Audley), a psychologically fractured loner with delusions of a future in standup comedy. All but anonymous in his daily existence, he disappears into himself as  seamlessly as he does into the film’s rust-laden vistas of middle-America. His monotonous trajectory aches for intervention, which comes in the form of Irene (Eleonore Hendricks), a wayward drifter with a camcorder who subsides by sharing kinky vignettes of herself with an unseen benefactor. As their aimless lives intertwine, they inadvertently become fixtures to each other’s menageries of desperation.

An acerbic re-imagining of Albert Lamorisse’s classic children’s film LE BALLON ROUGE, Josh and Benny Safdie’s THE BLACK BALLOON resets Lamorisse’s traversing non-narrative to modern day New York, where a dislocated (or escaped?), solitary black balloon wanders the city – temporarily interrupting the lives of the everyday city dwellers it meets along the way, including an as-himself appearance by author and raconteur Larry “Ratso” Sloman. Tempered by the music of progressive rock mainstays Gong, THE BLACK BALLOON is both an ode to city life and the interconnected nature of contemporary existence.