For the second consecutive year, the Indie Memphis Film Festival drew more than 10,000 movie fans to its four-day event as this year’s attendance totaled 10,035 according to final figures released today.
“We’re obviously very pleased with the continued growth and popularity of the event,” said Erik Jambor, executive director of Indie Memphis. “It is exciting to watch our grown match the impressive evolution of Overton Square. With the completion of the new Hattiloo Theater next year, 2014 should be even better.”
Nationally-ranked as one of the “25 Coolest Film Festivals” by MovieMaker magazine and named a “Top 20 Event” by the Southeast Tourism Society, this year’s 16th annual edition screened about 140 features, shorts and documentaries.
“We were delighted with the turnout for the film and music programs this year,” said Iddo Patt, president, board of directors of Indie Memphis. “There were more venues at, near (and sometimes over) capacity than ever before. It was a real thrill to see the community respond so eagerly to the terrific programming Erik pulled together.”
Part of the appeal of the festival is that attendees have the opportunity to participate in question-and-answer sessions with filmmakers and special guests following many of the showings and panel discussions. Among the large number of special guests were actor Harry Lennix (Man of Steel, NBC’s The Black List) and noted horror film director Ti West (The Sacrament, The House of the Devil).
The event, presented by Duncan-Williams, Inc., an investment banking firm headquartered in Memphis, again offered Innovation Conversations, a programming segment that focused on innovation.
This year’s Innovation Conversations segment focused on “The Art and Science of Storytelling,” and was integrated into the regular programming of the festival, complementing the independent and creative spirit of the established Memphis festival.
One of Innovation’s biggest draws was Mike McAvoy, president of multimedia news organization Onion Inc., who discussed The Onion’s varied and complimentary channels of satire, entertainment news via The AV Club, and branded content. The entire Innovation program was free to the public.
The 2012 festival drew 11,028 attendees, shattering the previous attendance record of 8,000 set in 2011. With this year’s Innovation Conversations more closely integrated into festival programming, audience capacity was reduced and caused a slight dip in overall festival attendance.
New this year was a night of free movies – a Friday evening double-feature shown outdoors in Overton Square’s new Tower Courtyard, which drew a large audience despite heavy rains which brought an early end to the evening.
Cash awards totaling $6,000 and other prizes were presented at Sunday’s award ceremony that wrapped up the festival. A trio of women filmmakers captured two of the top awards as Eliza Hittman won the jury award for Best Narrative Feature with It Felt Like Love and directors Katherine Dohan and Alanna Stewart won the Special Jury Award for Emerging Artist Award with their debut feature, What I Love About Concrete.