Indie Memphis Wednesday: Verge is the Memphis Music Doc For Today


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Day 2 of Indie Memphis continues the distinctly Memphis vibe set by The Invaders and the IndieGrant shorts bloc on day 1. Today, the focus is on music.

Sebastian Banks of Black Rock Revival in Verge
  • Sebastian Banks of Black Rock Revival in Verge

There are a lot of documentaries about Memphis music, but Verge is different in that it’s not a historical documentary. First time director Lakethan Mason set out to make a movie about seven musicians who are adding to Memphis’ musical legacy today. “The subjects were chosen by spending time with the music community,” Mason says. “We started off with about 13 individuals that we sought out from their social media presence. There were also artists I had known over my years as an artist manager that I wanted to capture. Of course, the film would have been six hours long if we’d gone with 13, so we narrowed it down to seven exceptional artists: Nick Black, Brennan Villines, Faith Evans Ruch, Kendell MacMahon and all the bands she’s been a part of, Black Rock Revival, Marco Pave, and Kia Johnson."

Verge director Lakethan Mason
  • Verge director Lakethan Mason

Verge follows the artists through performances and their day to day struggles to make it in the industry. “It’s not just about the music, it’s about what’s behind the music. We went behind the scenes and got to know these people. I wanted the world to know they’re more than just artists, they’re people, too.”

The most fascinating thing about Verge is the insights it gives into the depths of the musicians personalities that you don’t get to see from the audience, like Brennan Villines’ work for St. Jude, or Faith Evan Ruch’s nursing career. “What I was most impressed with, was that each of these individuals are creating their own path to success,” says Mason. “We often define success as, you’re going to be performing in front of hundreds of thousands of fans in arenas. But these people are defining their own success.”

Singer Nick Black performs in Verge
  • Singer Nick Black performs in Verge

The film was produced with support from executive producer J.W. Gibson. “Verge is a homegrown project, from the artist to the filmmaker to the visionary,” says Mason. “There’s a tenacity of spirit that I see in Memphians. If they want to do it, they’re going to do it. We’re a maverick city. We’ve got the indie spirit. We do it our own way, but we don’t fit into a box. We don’t play well with the industry that wants to churn out sameness.”

The Indie Memphis Film Festival continues through Monday, November 7.

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