The Indie Memphis Film Festival continues to run through Thursday, October 27th, at downtown's Muvico Peabody Place 22 theater, but the festival's award winners were announced last Saturday. Most awards, which are cash prizes ranging from $300 to $750, fall into two categories; "Hometowner" for locally produced films and "Indie Memphis" for regional fare.
The big winner, from a local perspective, was Act One, a very sharp, very polished comedy from East Memphis filmmaking collective Old School Pictures. It won Best Narrative Feature in the Hometowner category. The film, about a young screenwriter turning his rocky personal life into his next script, was written by and stars Allen Gardner and was directed by Brad Ellis. With the win, Ellis and his Old School cohorts become the first filmmakers to win the award twice, following their win in 2002 for the high school ghost story The Path of Fear.
Act One screens Thursday, October 27th, at 6:30 p.m.
Other winners included Best Narrative Short, Hometowner: Bright Sunny South by Andrew Nenninger; Best Documentary, Hometowner: Above God by Brett Hanover; and Best Music Video, Hometowner: in a new category, sponsored by LiveFromMemphis.com., John Michael McCarthy's video for the Hives' "Abra Cadaver."
Local filmmakers also received a couple of special awards. The Ron Tibbett Excellence in Filmmaking Award (a sort of special jury prize awarded by the festival committee) went to Morgan Jon Fox, who screened two films -- the documentary This Is What Love in Action Looks Like: The Preface and the feature Away (A)wake -- at the festival and also acted in Brandon Hutchinson's local feature Dollars & Signs.
Meanwhile, another new award, also given by the festival committee, is the Kodak Tennessee Filmmaker Award, which provides $1,000 worth of film to the recipient. Geoffrey Brent Shrewsbury, who screened the short film San Quentin, took home this prize.
In the nonlocal "Indie Memphis" competition, the winners were: Best Narrative Feature: Say Yes Quickly, from Blair Witch Project producer Greg Hale; Best Narrative Short: Raccoon, by Trey Nelson; Best Documentary: Occupation: Dreamland, a portrait of American soldiers in Falluja, Iraq, directed by Gary Scott and Ian Olds; Best Animated or Experimental Film: Joyride, a computer-generated animation film from John Cernak.