Here's a universal truth about film festivals: If you're looking at a big schedule of films, but you're uncertain as to what you want to see, you should choose a block of short films.
Memphis music legend Jimmy Crosswaith in "Time Will Tell"
The reason why is simple. If you choose a feature film, and it turns out you don't like, you're stuck with it for the duration. But if you choose a shorts block, and you don't like one of the films, just wait a few minutes and you'll get something else that you do like.
The second night of Indie Memphis features a killer line up of short films from Memphians. The 6:00 PM Hometowner Narrative Shorts Block includes films from both accomplished Memphis directors and newcomers.
"The Department of Signs and Magical Interventions" by Melissa Anderson Sweazy is a mini epic of one man's journey through the veil of life and death, and the deadpan humor of finding that the afterworld is just as bureaucratic as the moral coil. "Alphabet" is the latest editing tour de force from Memphis filmmaker and occasional Flyer contributor Ben Siler. You can read more about those two films in Eileen Townsend's column in this week's issue
Also in the block is "Time Will Tell" directed by Mud Boy and the Neutrons percussionist Jimmy Crosswaith along with Theo Patt. Prolific Memphis actor Drew Smith branches out into directing with two short films, "Missed Connection" and "Snow Day". "Glitching" directors Emily Herene and Lara Johnson led an all-female cast and crew in what they describe as a cross between "Broad City" and "The Twilight Zone."
Part of the all female cast and crew of "Glitching"
The second show at the Halloran Centre features two very different Memphis-centric documentaries. The contemplative documentary Barge
by director Ben Powell has won awards at both the Dallas International and Crossroads Film Festival in Jackson. It depicts modern working life on the Mississippi river 150 years after Mark Twain first examined the subject. It is proceeded by "All Day, All Night", the first film by acclaimed Memphis director Robert Gordon. The film about Beale Street features such remarkable scenes as a meeting of the minds between Rufus Thomas, Evelyn Young, Sunbeam Mitchell, and Earnestine of Ernestine and Hazel's fame. Gordon, who will speak at a panel on documentary filmmaking at 6 PM, is the co-director of Best Of Enemies
, which was a documentary hit this year and is currently gathering buzz for an Academy Award nomination. (As a side note, Memphis musician Jonathan Kirkscey just won an award from the International Documentary Association for the soundtrack of Best Of Enemies.
) You can read more about Robert Gordon in this Flyer cover feature from August.
B. B. King in "All Day, All Night"