Indie Memphis Approaches Fundraising Goal, Holds "Thank You" Screening

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What a difference six months makes. This spring, Indie Memphis, the local arts non-profit best known for its annual Indie Memphis Film Festival, seemed to be in trouble.

Indie Memphis director Erik Jambor
  • Indie Memphis director Erik Jambor
At the premiere of his Memphis-themed MTV series $5 Cover this spring, director Craig Brewer sounded an alarm, imploring audiences at every screening to support Indie Memphis or risk losing it after the faltering economy had cost the festival some previously promised funding.

Fortunately, the local arts community answered the call, and now Indie Memphis will open its 12th annual festival — held October 8-15, primarily at Malco's Studio on the Square — in better shape than ever.

Brewer held his $5 Cover premiere as an Indie Memphis fundraiser, which netted more than $12,000 for the organization, and soon after an anonymous challenge grant was issued via ArtsMemphis that required Indie Memphis to raise $20,000 by June 30th. The successful launch of a new individual membership program helped the organization surpass that goal by $16,000. Now, according to Indie Memphis executive director Erik Jambor, the organization is only about $14,000 away from meeting its year-end fundraising goal of $80,000.

"It's all about long-term sustainability, so that the institution lives on regardless what happens with Les or me," Jambor says. "There's needs to be a funding structure. Our member base allowed us to do that.

As a thank you to members — and as an enticement to potential members — Indie Memphis is holding a "members only" screening of Humpday on Monday, August 31st at Studio on the Square.

Humpday is directed by Seattle-based filmmaker Lynn Shelton, an Indie Memphis alumnus who is also helming the Craig Brewer-produced $5 Cover: Seattle, currently in production. Humpday, about two heterosexual male buddies who decide to film a sex scene between them for a contest, has emerged as one of the year's breakout indie hits, getting very good press and viewer response around the country. The film is currently scheduled for a full local theatrical release on September 11th.

The Indie Memphis Humpday screening is at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free to Indie Memphis members, who are allowed to bring a guest or two to the screening. If you'd like to join Indie Memphis, you can do so at the screening or join online here.

The schedule for the Indie Memphis festival hasn't been announced yet, but some bookings have become clear via other sources. Filmmakers Joe Swanberg and Nick Lowery, who were in town this month helping local filmmaker Kentucker Audley shoot his next feature, Open Five, told me that their current films — Alexander the Last and St. Nick, respectively —¬†will be screening at Indie Memphis. Additionally, local filmmaking crew Corduroy Wednesday will screen their current conspiracy-minded web series, The Conversion, in its entirety at Indie Memphis. (To read my cover story this week about Open Five, The Conversion, and other goings-on on the local film scene, go here.)

There is also likely to be information on a couple of exciting music-themed Indie Memphis bookings trickling out soon.

Check out the trailer for Humpday:

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