Four-Day Indie Memphis Film Festival Begins Thursday at Four Different Venues

The 17th annual Indie Memphis Film Festival will open Thursday evening with five films, including Gabriel, starring Rory Culkin, who will be in attendance for the screening, and Pharaohs of Memphis which takes a look at jookin’, a style of dance that originated in Memphis in the 1980s.

Gabriel is the story of a troubled young man who searches obsessively for his first love, risking everything in an increasingly desperate pursuit. The Closing Night Film on November 2 is Low Down, a look at the life of pianist Joe Albany as he contends with his drug addiction during the 1960s and '70s jazz scene. The film stars John Hawkes, Elle Fanning, Taryn Manning and Glenn Close.

Before the four-day festival ends on Sunday night, more than 50 narrative and documentary features will be shown along with more than 100 narrative shorts, documentary shorts, animated features and experimental films at four different venues, all at Overton Square in Memphis’ Midtown area.

Festival Passes and Standby Cards are still available and can be purchased on-line at Priority Tickets for individual films available online through Wednesday, Oct. 29, and will then be available at the venues where the films will be show beginning Thursday.

 The festival has increased its presence with the inclusion of the new Hattiloo Theatre, home to Memphis’ black repertory theatre company, which this summer celebrated its grand opening. Hattiloo joins Playhouse on the Square, Circuit Playhouse, and Malco Theatres’ Studio as on the Square as venues this year.

Last year’s festival drew more than 10,000 movie fans to its four-day event for the second consecutive year, and more than 12,000 are anticipated for this year’s event.

Nationally-ranked as one of the “25 Coolest Film Festivals” by MovieMaker magazine and named a “Top 20 Event” by the Southeast Tourism Society the event will again be presented by Duncan-Williams, Inc., an investment banking firm headquartered in Memphis with offices in10 states, which has been presenting sponsor since 2011.

Part of the appeal of the festival is the opportunity for attendees to hear from filmmakers, actors, and documentary film subjects during question and answer sessions after the showing of the films. Appearances this year will include Culkin and Lou Howe, director of Gabriel; William Gate and Arthur Agee, the focus of the classic Hoop Dreams; Mark Landis, subject of Art & Craft; and director Michael Lehmann and screenwriter Daniel Waters of Heathers.

Art & Craft tells the story of Landis, of one of the most prolific art forgers in US history, as he is exposed and must confront the legacy of his 30-year career. An exhibition of  his work will be on display at the Jay Etkin Gallery at 942 Cooper, with a reception at 7 pm on Saturday, November 1.

A complete list of films and visiting filmmakers can be found on the Indie Memphis website ( along with the festival’s complete schedule, ticket information, details on panels, conversations, parties, receptions, special events and brief a description of each film.

A special Halloween event will be a midnight screening of a newly restored and re-mastered classic, Halloween, John Carpenter’s landmark with Jamie Lee Curtis in her debut role. Anyone who's ever watched a horror film in the last 35 years knows the story by Michael Myers.

Hoop Dreams, the acclaimed 1994 basketball documentary, will be screened as part of a special 20th anniversary screening at 5 p.m. Sunday at the new Hattiloo Theatre.

Also of special interest will be a gala screening of Heathers. It will be the 25th anniversary screening of the 1988 dark comedy starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater. Director Michael Lehmann and screenwriter Daniel Waters are scheduled to attend and participate in a question and answer session following the screening.

The Imitation Game, staring Benedict Cumberbatch, details the cracking of the German’s Enigma code by the British during World War II, will be shown Saturday at 9:30 pm. Although it has not yet been released in theaters, the film already is receiving Academy Award attention.