Chris Dortch, founder of local film club Mise en Scenesters, said at the opening of the Chattanooga Film Festival, "This event is three years in the making. We started literally in a non climate-controlled warehouse."
He continued, "But it's grown and it's grown, and now we're here."
Mr. Dortch introduced Mayor Andy Berke, who told the audience they would be surprised to know he is also a huge movie fan.
He said, "For people to be here and say this is part of our community, I think it is really fantastic."
He continued, "You think about what makes Chattanooga great, it's really all about quality of life. That's why people come here and that's why people bring their businesses here...We're all about enhancing this quality of life, making sure that our downtown is vibrant and bustling."
Mayor Berke said when he started Chattanooga Forward, one of the major focus areas was to support the arts. He called Chattanooga Forward his "attempt to look at the next ways we could put together private and public partnerships and see the next stage of Chattanooga's growth."
He said, "This is a really important part of what makes our city great."
The film festival, which opened Thursday night, will continue through Sunday. General admission tickets are $10.