The Indie Memphis Film Festival presented by Duncan Williams, Inc. announces Oliver Butler and Will Eno’s THOM PAIN will make World Premiere as the Opening Night Gala selection with the filmmakers and star Rainn Wilson in attendance
Special MLK50 program, in partnership with the National Civil Rights Museum, features rare screening of Jules Dassin's UPTIGHT!
Iconoclastic director Abel Ferrara comes to Memphis for a mini-retrospective of the filmmaker’s work
Big Star’s Jody Stephens will appear at special outdoor screening of Benno Nelson’s THANK YOU, FRIENDS: BIG STAR’S THIRD LIVE… AND MORE.
The 2017 Indie Memphis Film Festival presented by Duncan-Williams, Inc., announced that Oliver Butler and Will Eno’s THOM PAIN, featuring Rainn Wilson, will make its World Premiere as the Opening Night Gala selection for the 20th Anniversary edition of the popular film festival. Indie Memphis also announced additional programming highlights, including; MLK50, which will commemorate the upcoming 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination in Memphis; an Abel Ferrara mini-retrospective, with the iconoclastic filmmaker in attendance; and a greatly increased footprint in the city to mark the anniversary year. Marquee sponsors include AutoZone and Malco Theatres.
Indie Memphis Festival Programmer Brandon Harris says, “We are tickled pink to roll out the 20th Indie Memphis Film Festival, by far our biggest and most ambitious yet, by bringing one of the great funny men in American popular culture to Bluff City with a very humorous and oddly moving work of stand-up existentialism that seems in sync with the uncertainty of these hard to fathom times we're living in.”
Directed by Oliver Butler and Will Eno in an adaptation of Eno's Pulitzer Prize finalist, THOM PAIN offers Wilson delivering, at Los Angeles's Geffen Playhouse, a spare yet blistering monologue that recalls the ironic ambivalence and gleeful absurdity of Samuel Beckett as Wilson's mysterious postmodern everyman rambles from one rousing observation to another with plenty of non-sequiturs along the way. Wilson, Eno and Butler will be on hand for Indie Memphis’s Opening Night Red Carpet Gala and screening, which will take place at the Halloran Theatre (203 S. Main Street).
Indie Memphis will also join in a collaborating partnership with the National Civil Rights Museum for MLK50, a special program of films new and old which will commemorate the upcoming 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination in Memphis while addressing the various legacies, completed and still unfinished, of the Civil Rights icon's work. The strand will open with a screening of Jules Dassin's UPTIGHT! (1968), a remake of John Ford's Oscar winning THE INFORMER (1935) that includes footage of King's funeral and was suppressed in its time. Set in Cleveland at the height of the clash between liberal integrationists, black nationalists and a largely white Cleveland police force, UPTIGHT! is a stirring fictional tale of the factionalism that divided the movement for Black Lives in the aftermath of King and Malcolm X. Starring Ruby Dee, Max Julian, Roscoe Lee Browne, and Raymond St. Jacques, the film is "an under acknowledged landmark," says Harris.
Contemporary films in the MLK50 section speak to the lasting struggles African-Americans are embroiled in for voting rights, housing, education and the equal protection under the law. These title include; current festival favorites; Sam Pollard and Reuben Atlas's ACORN AND THE FIRESTORM; Erik Jeung's THE BLOOD IS AT THE DOORSTEP; Wade Gardner's MARVIN BOOKER WAS MURDERED; Jairus McClary & Gethin Aldous's THE WORK; and Michael Galinsky's WORKING IN PROTEST. The strand concludes on Sunday November 5th with a screening of Sidney Lumet's Oscar nominated documentary, KING: A FILMED RECORD… FROM MONTGOMERY TO MEMPHIS (1970).
Adding to the anticipation for the 20th Anniversary edition, Indie Memphis welcomes legendary American independent director Abel Ferrara for a 25th anniversary screening of his landmark police thriller BAD LIEUTENANT (1992), starring Harvey Keitel as the title character, a Catholic cop from Queens who finds himself pulled deeper into the quicksand of addiction and debt as he investigates the rape of a nun, and a 20th anniversary screening of THE BLACKOUT (1997), a comedic thriller with Matthew Modine and Dennis Hopper about the grisly consequences of a hard night out in Miami Beach for a matinee idol and the gonzo movie director with whom he's about to make a picture. Ferrara will be joined at each screening by cinematographer Ken Kelsch and editor Anthony Redman.
As the festival expands its “footprint” on the city, for the first time in its history, Indie Memphis will feature a "Block Party" during the 3-day weekend portion of the fest (November 3-5), closing off traffic from Cooper Avenue between Union Avenue and Monroe. Among the Block Party highlights will be the Memphis Premiere of the Big Star celebration concert film, THANK YOU, FRIENDS: BIG STAR’S THIRD LIVE… AND MORE, directed by Benno Nelson and featuring members of Wilco, R.E.M., Yo La Tengo, plus Robyn Hitchcock, on a large outdoor screen with Big Star’s Jody Stephens in attendance.
Indie Memphis Executive Director Ryan Watt said, "The Indie Memphis team went all out this year to celebrate our 20th anniversary. The addition of the block party and more venues will make this our largest and most eclectic festival to date. I'm most excited to see our audience and filmmakers, local and traveling, come together as a community to discuss what they've seen after each credits roll."
The full festival lineup is expected to include 200+ films, complemented by Indie Memphis’s celebrated practice of having live music performed before every screening, as well as several filmmaker Q&As, panel discussions, receptions and after-parties. The complete Festival lineup will be announced on Tuesday, September 26, during the annual "Preview Party" at Rec Room (3000 Broad Avenue).
Passes are now on sale and information on the film festival can be found at IndieMemphis.com. Passholders are granted first access to film tickets beginning September 26th before they go on-sale to the general public on October 10th.