Indie Memphis Daily: Sunday Guide



The awards at this year's Indie Memphis Film Festival will be presented tonight at a party at the Hi-Tone Cafe. Shortly afterward, Indie Memphis will announce encore bookings for next week. Check back here late tonight for all that info. But before that, there's a full slate of festival activity today at both Studio on the Square and the Brooks Museum of Art. Our picks for the day's best bets. As always, all screenings at Studio unless otherwise noted:

Pick of the Day: The Hand of Fatima (5:45 p.m.)
Filmmaker Augusta Palmer investigates her late father, the renowned, Memphis-connected rock critic Robert Palmer. Chris Davis goes in-depth on The Hand of Fatima here. Palmer is scheduled to attend. Prior to the screening, at 4:50 p.m., former members of the Memphis alt-rock band the Hellcats will perform outside at the "Festival Cafe" under the name "Friends of Bob Palmer."


Feature Pick: Easier With Practice (5:15 p.m.)

Brian Geraghty in Easier With Practice
  • Brian Geraghty in Easier With Practice
When a sweet, sultry voice calls Davy’s motel room one night, the scene has already been set for pathos: He is at the end of his book tour with no immediate future plans; he is lonely and bored; and on this particular evening, his brother Sean has left him alone in their motel room. When the phone rings, Davy (The Hurt Locker's Brian Geraghty) answers and a stranger named Nicole starts abruptly, even forcefully, to have phone sex with him.

We witness Davy’s immediate confusion (“What are you wearing?” “Um, clothes?”) followed by his tentative consent, and eventually his commitment to this secret act. Nicole tells Davy that he can stop their interaction at any time just by hanging up the phone. But he doesn’t, and the calls continue. A phone relationship develops from this perverse twist on serendipity: “I needed someone and there you were,” says Nicole.

Based on a true story, originally published in GQ, by Davy Rothbart, Easier With Practice is an honest look at the power of fantasy and the desperate search for intimacy. The film is poignant and at times excruciatingly awkward, with a surprising twist at the end. The soundtrack is excellent — a collection of indie favorites like Grizzly Bear, Voxtrot, and Deer Tick. Director Kyle Patrick Alvarez is scheduled to attend. — Hannah Sayle


Documentary Pick: Ghost Bird (noon)

The Ivory Billed Woodpecker has been thought extinct since the early 20th century. When sightings of the bird are reported in the woods near Brinkley, Arkansas, eternal hope springs anew for ornithologists and amateur birdwatchers around the world. The small, dying town of Brinkley sees a chance for renewal. Nature conservationists seize the opportunity for publicity and potential funding. But when so much hope is pinned on the existence of one species of bird, what happens when doubts surface? Ghost Bird is much more than a story about the Ivory Billed Woodpecker; it’s a story of the profound human need for hope, and the lengths to which we will go to preserve it. Filmmaker Scott Crocker expected to attend. — Sayle


Local Pick: Li'l Film Fest 11: Musical Horror (5:30 p.m., Brooks Museum of Art)
Live From Memphis' Li'l Film Fest series is a very good thing. By giving local filmmakers a manageable task — creating a short film (roughly 5 minutes) on a set topic — the fest has helped to inspire and hone talent in the local scene, while also creating a setting to build the local filmmaking community. The latest Li'l Film Fest — with the promising theme "musical horror" — is being held alongside Indie Memphis. As always, a jury award will be matched by an audience award voted on by those in attendance. Among the notable names in local filmmaking presenting films: Geoffrey Brent Shrewsbury, Jon W. Sparks, HG Ray, and Adam Remsen. — Chris Herrington

Shorts Pick: Nowhere Kids (5 p.m.)

Some short films are tidy and self-contained, like a cinematic O.Henry tale. Others ache for more space. So it is with Nowhere Kids, which feels like a calling card for a potential feature. Directed by Eric Juhola and richly shot by Frozen River cinematographer Reed Dawson Morano, Nowhere Kids is a fictional film inspired by the Sundance Channel documentary Off the Grid: Life on the Mesa. It follows a teen runaway trying to track down her long-lost mother falling in with a pack of train-hopping street kids. Screening as part of "Shorts Program #5." — Herrington

Wildcard Picks:

Amateur Hour with Joe Swanberg (1 p.m., Brooks Museum of Art)
Visiting Chicago filmmaker Swanberg (Alexander the Last, Hannah Takes the Stairs) conducts a free workshop. In his own words: "The workshop is about working with non-professional actors, which I think is becoming more and more common — people making movies with their friends or other people they're casting not through traditional avenues. I just really wanted to do a workshop that would hopefully be helpful and relevant to what I'm seeing going on right now. The idea is that I'll talk a little bit about my experiences and maybe I'll show some of my work. But I also really want to demonstrate some of the techniques I've picked up and actually work with some people so that everybody can come away with a little bit of an idea of the good and bad things about working with non-professionals." — Herrington

St. Nick (2:45 p.m.)
I haven't had a chance to screen David Lowery's St. Nick, but look forward to trying to catch it at the festival today. A Dallas-based filmmaker, Lowery is no stranger to Memphis, having spent some time here earlier this year helping local filmmaker Kentucker Audley on his upcoming feature Open Five. Lowery's St. Nick is a debut feature about two pre-teen siblings who run away from home and try to live independently. It's received excellent notices in previous screenings, particularly at the South By Southwest Film Festival. Lowery is scheduled to attend the screening. — Herrington


Hair High (7:45 p.m.)
Oscar-nominated animator Bill Plympton's 2004 feature Hair High — a 1950s-set gothic comedy about a couple murdered at their prom — is being shown in collaboration with the Memphis College of Art. Plympton will be in town next month for a lecture and a screening of his newest film, Angels and Idiots.

The Way We Get By (8:15 p.m.)

The Bangor International Airport in Bangor, Maine is the entry and exit point for all flights of U.S. military personnel to Iraq and Afghanistan. Bill, Joan, and Jerry are elderly residents of Bangor and “troop greeters,” a group of dedicated citizens who send off and welcome home our troops. The greeters, many of them veterans, many of them octogenarians, widows and widowers, dutifully support the men and women in uniform, reserving comment on the basis for the wars (although there are hints that some of them are opposed). In a particularly touching scene, a returning serviceman explains how coming home can be difficult and confusing (“How am I supposed to feel?”). And so, as some of the first faces the soldiers see upon their return, the troop greeters help set the tone for the troops’ re-entry into civilian life. The film is ultimately a testament to our interconnection, and without melodrama, without schmaltz, it touches on something utterly human. — Sayle


Keep the Flyer Free!

Always independent, always free (never a paywall),
the Memphis Flyer is your source for the best in local news and information.

Now we want to expand and enhance our work.
That's why we're asking you to join us as a Frequent Flyer member.

You'll get membership perks (find out more about those here) and help us continue to deliver the independent journalism you've come to expect.

Add a comment