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Marin Ireland and Jim Gaffigan in 'Light From Light.'

A film by School of Art Associate Professor Paul HarrillLight From Light, will make its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival taking place in Park City, Utah, from January 24 to February 3, 2019.

Harrill, who is associate director of the UT Cinema Studies program and the Dee and Jimmy Haslam Chair in Cinema Studies, wrote and directed the film. Starring Marin Ireland, Jim Gaffigan, Josh Wiggins, and Atheena Frizzell, it tells the story of a single mother and occasional paranormal investigator who looks into a possible haunting at a widower’s farmhouse in East Tennessee.

It is Harrill’s second feature film; his first, Something, Anything, screened at film festivals around the world in 2014 and was a New York Times critics’ pick.

For Light From Light, Harrill was assisted by current and former students Sydney Steele (cinema studies, 2019), Vanessa Wilson (cinema studies, 2018), Mason Griffin (cinema studies, 2018), Adrian Hargrave (cinema studies, 2017), Christopher Ward (theatre, 2016), and Rob Travis (art, 2003).

“I’m thrilled that we’ll be premiering Light From Light at Sundance in January,” Harrill said. “Sundance is synonymous with the best in American independent cinema, so the film’s selection is a wonderful affirmation of everyone’s work on the film. The fact that current and former students of mine worked on the film makes this good news that much sweeter.”

The film was shot in Knoxville over 20 days in July and August. Harrill worked with a team of producers including Elisabeth Moss (producer and actress, The Handmaid’s Tale) and David Lowery (director of The Old Man and the Gun and Pete’s Dragon).

The development of Light From Light was supported by the College of Arts and Sciences New Research Award, which Harrill credits with attracting a world-class team of producers to the project.

In 2001, Harrill’s short film Gina, An Actress, Age 29 won the Grand Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking at Sundance. He is co-founder of the Public Cinema, which screens contemporary international and American cinema for Knoxville audiences, and Self-Reliant Film.

To learn more about cinema studies at UT, visit the program’s website.


Brian Canever (865-974-0937,