Indie Memphis announced its full lineup for the 2016 festival at a bustling preview party at the Rec Room last night.
The most striking feature of the 150-film collection is the strongest presence by local filmmakers since the early-2000s heyday of DIY movies. The Hometowner Competition boasts six feature films, including Old School Pictures' Bad, Bad Men
, a wild comedy of kidnapping and petty revenge by directors Brad Ellis and Allen Gardner, who have racked up several past Indie Memphis wins. Bluff City indie film pioneer Mike McCarthy will debut his first feature-length documentary Destroy Memphis
, a strikingly heartfelt film about the fight to save Libertyland and the Zippin Pippen rollercoaster. Four first-time entrants round out the Hometowner competition: Lakethen Mason's contemporary Memphis music documentary Verge
, Kathy Lofton's healthcare documentary I Am A Caregiver
, Flo Gibs look at lesbian and trangender identity Mentality: Girls Like Us,
and Madsen Minax's magical realist tale of lunch ladies and gender confusion Kairos Dirt and the Errant Vacuum.
Usually, Hometowner short films comprise a single, popular, programming block; This year, there are enough qualified films to fill four blocks. Sharing the opening night of the festival with the previously announced Memphis documentary The Invaders
is a collection of short films produced by recipients of the Indie Grant program, including G.B. Shannon's family dramedy "Broke Dick Dog", Sara Fleming's whimsical tour of Memphis "Carbike", Morgan Jon Fox's impressionistic dramatization of the 1998 disappearance of Rhodes student Matthew Pendergrast "Silver Elves"; Indie Grant patron Mark Jones' "Death$ In A Small Town", actor/director Joseph Carr's "Returns", experimental wizard Ben Siler (working under the name JEBA)' "On The Sufferings Of The World", and "How To Skin A Cat", a road trip comedy by Laura Jean Hocking and yours truly.
Other standouts in the Hometowner Shorts category include three offerings from Melissa Sweazy: the fairy tale gone dark "Teeth"; "A.J", a documentary about a teenage boy dealing with grief after a tragic accident, co-directed with Laura Jean Hocking; and "Rundown: The Fight Against Blight In Memphis. Edward Valibus' soulful dark comedy "Calls From The Unknown", Nathan Ross Murphy's "Bluff", and Kevin Brooks' "Marcus", all of which recently competed for the Louisiana Film Prize, will be at the festival, as will Memphis Film Prize winner McGehee Montheith's "He Coulda Gone Pro".
The revived Music Video category features videos from Marco Pave, Star & Micey, Preauxx, The Bo-Keys, Vending Machine, Nots, Caleb Sweazy, Faith Evans Ruch, Marcella & Her Lovers, John Kilzer & Kirk Whalum, Alex duPonte, Alexis Grace, and Zigadoo Moneyclips.
Internationally acclaimed films on offer include legendary director Jim Jarmusch's Paterson
, starring Adam Driver; Manchester By The Sea
from Kenneth Lonergan; and Indie Memphis alum Sophia Takal's Always Shine.
Documentary cinematographer Kirsten Johnson's spectacular, world-spanning Cameraperson,
assembled over the course of her 25 year career, promises to be a big highlight.
Michelle Williams and Casey Affleck in Manchester By The Sea
The full schedule, as well as tickets to individual movies and two levels of festival passes, can be found at the Indie Memphis web site.