FY24 Individual Artist Fellowship Film Recipient: Joe Gomez

By Krishna Adams, Director of Visual Arts, Craft, Media, and Design –

Joe Gomez

Filmmaker Joe Gomez of Nashville, Tennessee, is a recipient of the FY24 Individual Artist Fellowship in Film. The Tennessee Arts Commission awards Individual Artist Fellowships annually to recognize and acknowledge outstanding professional Tennessee artists who, through their work, add to the state’s cultural vitality.

As a filmmaker, director, and producer, Joe Gomez focuses mainly on creating documentary-based work. Soon after moving to Nashville in 2008, Gomez sold his guitar to buy a camera. He dove into visual arts from that moment and peeled off what didn’t stick. Gomez is inspired by observing his surroundings, especially people in their daily work environments. For him, it is a gift to witness and share the stories of their lives.

In 2011, Gomez became a freelance director and producer for clients while he continued to work on personal projects. Since then, Gomez’s documentaries have been viewed at a couple of local film festivals. He has also accepted commissions from non-profit and commercial organizations to produce documentaries. When he is not filming, Gomez likes to edit and rewrite scripts. He also collaborates with editors for a fresh look at his projects.

Still from the documentary, Little Things in Between

Creating and producing a documentary is a labor of love for Gomez, and a project is complete only when the deadline hits; at least, that’s how it works for Gomez. He will continue to tweak and edit his work until he is out of time and must submit the final product. One exception to this is a documentary, Little Things in-Between Gomez produced in 2017. This documentary provided a snapshot of his neighborhood facing drastic change, focusing on the homes and stories of his neighbors. This one film still feels unfinished; Gomez is re-editing the film, given that time has passed. He is also including current drone footage that will show the drastic development that’s taking place since the original footage was recorded in 2016.

“Over the last decade, I’ve found great joy in the work of capturing the magic between a person and their craft. Many of my projects have been about local Nashvillians. From our local chefs, brewers, craftsmen, and fellow artists, I’ve had the opportunity to witness and document many of the people who have made this city and state great.”
– Gomez

Still from the documentary, Room to Play

When asked about the IAF award, Gomez said, “I will use the funds to help pay for the finishing costs on Room to Play, a documentary project I’ve been filming with the Nashville Philharmonic Orchestra (NPO). A community-based orchestra, NPO is entering its 20th season next year. When I approached them about doing a short documentary together, we were met with a wonderful opportunity to do something much bigger and explore the deep history of how a volunteer-based organization provides both a place for local musicians to perform together and bring symphonic music to various communities in and around Nashville. As the project expanded, we quickly outgrew what we’d be able to handle on our own as a personally funded project.” This project is a cumulation of 50-60 hours of film narrowed down to one hour of content. The premier for this project will be September 5, 2023.

Still from the documentary, Room to Play

For those interested in producing documentaries, Gomez suggests, “Listening ten times more than you talk. You will learn so much more. Don’t be afraid to be a fly on the wall. There is a lot of power watching and listening. Actively practice patience and stillness; this is just as powerful.” To find out more about Gomez’s work, click here.