Lights! Camera! East Tennessee!
Witness the marvel of moving images
Our relationship to moving images is constantly evolving. Amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, for example, our use of–and reliance on–streaming services to access Hollywood blockbusters not only changed how we watch movies but also disrupted traditional models for financing and distributing such productions.
StatusNovember 19, 2022 to September 3, 2023
GalleryRogers-Claussen Feature Gallery
How did our relationship with moving images begin? What technological and cultural events sparked our interest in motion pictures as entertainment? And what role has East Tennessee and its people had in moviemaking?
Lights! Camera! East Tennessee! a new feature exhibition at the East Tennessee History Center, answers these questions by chronicling Knoxville’s contributions to film from the promotion of Thomas Edison’s Kinetoscope in 1895 to its use as a location for major productions currently in development. At the heart of the story is 35 mm film, shown both in urban theaters and suburban cineplexes and shot by itinerant filmmakers, documentarians, industrial filmmakers, and news reporters. Multiple screens featuring highlights from these genres anchor the exhibition.
Equally intriguing are the stories of how Knoxvillians made Hollywood history. Learn about Clarence Brown, a graduate of Knoxville High School and the University of Tennessee, who became one of MGM’s most prominent directors. And see why James Agee, known to us today as a Pulitzer Prize winning novelist, was better known as a film critic and screenwriter during his life.
Lights! Camera! East Tennessee! will also spotlight the numerous actors from across East Tennessee who became Hollywood A-listers and the variety of films that were shot in East Tennessee, including A Walk in the Spring Rain (1970) and That Evening Sun (2009), both of which premiered in Knoxville.
Lights! Camera! East Tennessee! is open daily in the Rogers-Claussen Feature Gallery, Museum of East Tennessee History Center, 601 S. Gay St., in downtown Knoxville, Tennessee.
Riviera Theatre bedecked for an all-week showing of The Ten Commandments (1923)
Gay Street, Knoxville, Tennessee
Courtesy of the Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection, Knox County Public Library.
A mix of artifacts, video, and text are used to chronicle Knoxville’s history with and contribution to film.
Items belonging to famous East Tennessee actors Grace Moore, Patricia Neal, David Keith, and Dolly Parton.
Have your photo made at the Drive-In.
As technology advanced, movie making wasn’t just for Hollywood and home movie making equipment became more readily available.
Items from W. Fleming Reeder, the film”The Fool Killer”, and Pike Theatre.
Movie clips, posters, and star highlight East Tennessee actors, directors, and screenwriters.
Visit Knoxville Film Office, Film Knox, is drawing more attention to Knoxville and East Tennessee as a location for shooting movies.