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‘The Return of Tanya Tucker’ Headlines 53rd Nashville Film Festival

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“The Return of Tanya Tucker” headlines the 53rd Nashville Film Fest

By Hollie Deese



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If there’s one thing you can count on about the people of Nashville, no matter how much things change and how many new experiences get added to our country music base layer, we can’t pass up a good story.

Sing it, say it, show it – just let us in and make us feel it. 

And if that story happens to features a bit of insight into a true Nashville original? Yep, we’re sold. Which means the opening night showing of The Return of Tanya Tucker at the 53rd Nashville Film Festival might be a bit of a full house.

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The documentary by Kathlyn Horan chronicles the 2019 creative collaboration between Brandi Carlile, Shooter Jennings, and Tucker as the county icon recorded her first album of original material in more than 17 years, bringing her back to longtime fans and introducing her to a whole new audience.

The movie spotlights the talented and creatively captivating artist as she struggles with the same fears most of us face when we really put ourselves out there. It isn’t always pretty, but we see Carlile encouraging Tucker to push through those fears. The process is bumpy and real – the kind of story that resonates in Nashville.

“Brandi and Kathlyn captured the scars and all,” Tucker says. “Those cameras were rolling nonstop; from the moment I woke up until we sang the last note in the studio!”

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Horan skillfully blends that new footage with archival video and photos, some from her earliest days growing up in a trailer in Texas.

“I love how the crew roped in so many memorable moments, [from] when I first got in this business to the Grammys,” Tucker said. “I hope the fans and everyone enjoy this, because it took a hell of a lot of work!”

“Brandi and Kathlyn captured the scars and all.”
– Tanya Tucker

And that’s just one of more than 125 screenings, many accompanied by post-film Q&As and in-depth conversations with filmmakers, scheduled during this year’s weeklong cinematic celebration, which takes place September 29 through October 5. 

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The festival’s full return to pre-pandemic, in-person form includes a change of venue, with screenings this year scheduled at historic movie houses the Belcourt Theater in Hillsboro Village and the Franklin Theatre in downtown Franklin, as well as TPAC’s Johnson Theater in downtown Nashville. (The 2020 festival was entirely virtual, and 2021 was a hybrid model featuring both in-person and online screenings.)

The film screenings are augmented by a slate of NashFilm-hosted events and programs highlighting different aspects of filmmaking, as well as the human need to create and engage with one’s community, as seen through screenwriting, music, and production. 

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Live music performances and new artist showcases will also take place throughout the week, and a creators’ conference will connect filmmakers and thought leaders with a mix of in-person and online panels exploring the current industry trends.

To find out more about the 53rd Nashville Film Festival, as well as explore options for festival badges, visit

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