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Made in Memphis

Local film festival aims to boost civic pride with new film category.

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The On Location: Memphis film festival has added a new film category celebrating what makes the Bluff City special by calling on the people who know it best: its citizens.

Originally started by the Lipscomb Pitts Breakfast Club as a civic pride campaign, "Memphis Rocks" began showing up on T-shirts sold by the club last year. All the proceeds from the shirts went to the Fallen Officer's Memorial, a $1 million privately funded project honoring the 62 Memphis-area police officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

But when Jeremy Park, director of the Lipscomb Pitts Breakfast Club, served as a panelist for On Location: Memphis last year, he decided to take the "Memphis Rocks" campaign further.

"The 'Memphis Rocks' campaign turned into a way for people to tell a positive story about our city," Park said. "It's a great opportunity for us to show off and share stories of our citizens through their eyes."

The first-ever "Memphis Rocks" film category will accept entries from four groups: schools, nonprofit organizations, corporations, and individual citizens. Each group's videos will be judged in a subcategory with other entries from that group. It costs $25 for a group to submit their video, with all the proceeds going directly to the Fallen Officer Memorial. Videos must be no longer than five minutes, and cell phone videos will be accepted.

Each submission will be uploaded to the "Memphis Rocks" YouTube channel, where online viewers can watch and vote for their favorites. The video with the most votes will receive the "viewer's choice" award.

While other categories of the On Location: Memphis film festival celebrate the city's skilled local filmmakers, the "Memphis Rocks" category is open to all residents. On Location's president, Lisa Bobal, said that she hopes the category will inspire people to become filmmakers themselves.

"I know there are a lot of people out there who would like to try their hand at filmmaking, and this is a way for people to get their feet wet," Bobal said.

"We're trying to get more people to use their cell phones and tell little storylines and personal moments that happen every day," Park added. "Of course, a full-blown production would be cool, but we also want everyday contributions. We realize that not everyone is going to be George Lucas."

The deadline to enter the "Memphis Rocks" category of the On Location: Memphis film festival is February 28th. Submissions may be entered online at the film festival's website: www.onlocationmemphis.org.

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