Pellissippi State students benefit from international fiber artist’s visit during film fest

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Fiber artist Lori Zimmerman brings something extra to this year’s Southern Appalachian International Film Festival at Pellissippi State Community College.

Pellissippi State students get an audience with an emerging artist who understands the fiber art world, and SOAPIFF organizers gain a speaker who moves the discussion of art beyond the world of filmmaking.

SOAPIFF is scheduled for Nov. 12-17 at the college, with all campuses hosting screenings.

Following an exhibition of her work at the World of Threads Festival in Ontario, Zimmerman travels to Knoxville for a session with Pellissippi State students.

“What I’ve prepared is a presentation that looks at the definition of what fiber art is and explores major trends in the art world—the fiber art world,” she said. “So I’m hoping to create a visual feast for people, and then the discussion can go wherever the discussion wants to go.”

Zimmerman’s overview encompasses process, technique, the definition of art itself and what actually constitutes a fiber.

“I’ve been looking a lot at fiber art trends all over the world and noticing that the one adjective you could use is the ‘explosion’ of exploration and of pushing of boundaries,” said Zimmerman, who is working on an article for Fiber Art Now magazine about the topic.

Her work incorporates fabric painting, photography, freestyle hand embroidery and collage. Zimmerman’s studio in the Los Angeles area also serves as a laboratory when she experiments with preserving natural specimens, such as leaves and seed pods.

“My work is an exploration of the effects of time on materials and the beauty inherent in aging,” she said. “Like a conversation that explores a specific topic, I open a dialogue through the use of materials, colors and images, conversing with what is on the fabric. As in any conversation, I stumble upon tense moments, confusion, delight, surprises and even moments of brief enlightenment.”

Zimmerman has been at work on her craft since the 1980s, when she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from California College of the Arts and Crafts. She says she was determined to prove she could make a living as an artist, accomplishing that after graduation with work in several commercial venues.

One job at an interior design studio prompted Zimmerman to learn more about business. She earned a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Southern California and worked in nonprofit management before deciding to return to the creative impulse that drove her to become an artist.

Zimmerman’s visit is sponsored by SOAPIFF, the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies and Pellissippi State’s Art and Media Technologies programs.

View Zimmerman’s art and blog at See the schedule of films for SOAPIFF at

Learn more about Pellissippi State by visiting or calling (865) 694-6400.

SOAPIFF hosts veteran movie executive–producer at Pellissippi State

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Adam Leipzig is the former president of National Geographic Films, a past senior vice president at Walt Disney Studios, and a longtime film and theatre producer. Many of the films he has been directly involved with—“March of the Penguins,” “Dead Poets Society,” “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids”—have become household names. He has also launched more than 300 theatre productions and performance events, written for the New York Times and other publications, designed and built four successful businesses, and consulted with dozens more. He currently serves as the publisher and managing editor of the popular online magazine Cultural Weekly.

You want to make that movie? You need an insider. You need someone who knows filmmaking and Hollywood and sits comfortably at the intersection of creative culture and business.

Meet Adam Leipzig, a former movie executive, an independent producer and the speaker for the Seventh Annual Southern Appalachian International Film Festival at Pellissippi State Community College.

The film festival runs Nov. 12-17 at the college’s five sites: the Hardin Valley, Division Street, Magnolia Avenue, and Strawberry Plains campuses in Knox County and the Blount County Campus.

Leipzig’s remarks follow the showing of the classic film “Dead Poets Society,” a movie he was directly involved with, and they precede the screening of another popular project he acquired, “March of the Penguins.” He’s set to speak at 6:45 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 12, at the Hardin Valley Campus.

With 25 years of experience making movies, Leipzig has plenty of insights about the process of filmmaking.

“I will share behind-the-scenes stories about each movie,” he said. “I’ll pull back the curtain about how movies really get made and what happens off screen.”

Leipzig rose through the ranks at Walt Disney and saw it grow into a big studio with more productions and critical successes. Initially, Leipzig was one of eight executives working in the creative group, which also included legendary Hollywood executives Jeffrey Katzenberg and Michael Eisner.

“After six years, those eight people had become 130 people and we split into three different divisions, and I had been promoted up and up,” Leipzig said. “I was no longer doing at the studio what I came to do, which was make movies. I had been promoted up so far that there were lots of people intermediating the process.”

Leipzig struck out on his own as an independent producer and got the chance to lead a new venture, National Geographic Films.

“In 2003, National Geographic asked me to design a strategy for their successful presence in the motion picture business, which I did. Then they asked me to become the president of that company,” he said.

These days, Leipzig consults, writes, and talks about something integral to moviemaking and close to his heart: creativity. He currently serves as publisher and managing editor of the popular online magazine Cultural Weekly ( The publication examines how creative culture intersects with media, money, technology and entertainment.

He also believes in sharing his experiences with aspiring filmmakers and college students. To that end, he is writing two books on filmmaking.

“Inside Track for Independent Filmmakers: Get Your Movie Made, Get Your Movie Seen, and Turn the Tables on Hollywood” will be available as an e-book in December and as a trade paperback in January 2013. He will be pre-selling autographed first editions at the festival. Leipzig is also co-writing “Filmmaking in the 21st Century,” a new college textbook for Bedford/St. Martin’s (Macmillan). He anticipates its publication in late 2014.

Leipzig’s visit is sponsored by SOAPIFF, the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies, and Pellissippi State’s Art and Media Technologies programs.

View the SOAPIFF screening schedule for Pellissippi State at To learn more about the college, visit or call (865) 694-6400.

Film festival returns to Pellissippi State with screenings at all five campuses

With theater screenings at all five Knox and Blount county campuses of Pellissippi State Community College, East Tennessee film enthusiasts will have a myriad of viewing options during the upcoming seventh annual Southern Appalachian Film Festival.

Scheduled for Nov. 12-17, SOAPIFF promotes and preserves the work of independent filmmakers. It also encourages film production and film culture in Southern Appalachia.

The six-day festival is sponsored by the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies. TnCIS ( is located on the Hardin Valley Campus of Pellissippi State. The Hardin Valley Campus is in Knox County, as are the Division Street, Magnolia Avenue and Strawberry Plains campuses. The Blount County Campus is the fifth of the college’s locations.

SOAPIFF features full-length and short films in the following genres: Appalachian, art/experimental, children’s, cultural minorities, documentary, environmental, foreign/international, gender/women’s, gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender, independent and young filmmakers.

As part of this year’s festival, SOAPIFF welcomes film industry veteran Adam Leipzig to Pellissippi State. Leipzig, who has served as a Disney executive and as director of National Geographic Films, has brought more than 25 movies to the screen. A reception in his honor takes place on Nov. 12 at 6:45 p.m. in the Goins Building Auditorium on the Hardin Valley Campus.

The director of one of the documentaries being screened also makes an appearance. Documentarian Nancy Ghertner, who directed “After I Pick the Fruit,” visits the Hardin Valley Campus on Nov. 13. The screening of her film begins at 7:55 p.m. in the Goins Building Auditorium.

SOAPIFF also brings to Knoxville a well-known international artist, Lori Zimmerman. Zimmerman presents and discusses current trends in fiber art on Nov. 13 at noon in the gallery of the Bagwell Center for Media and Art on the Hardin Valley Campus.

A complete schedule of SOAPIFF screenings and activities can be found at

For more about Pellissippi State, call (865) 694-6400 or visit To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or