Director Edward Valibus Phillips and his Corduroy Wednesday crew (Erik Morrison and Benjamin Rednour) took the Hometowner Award for best local feature for their web series The Conversion, which will debut in its entirety at the festival Tuesday night with screenings at 8:45 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. (The earlier screening is sold out. Some tickets remained at press time for the latter screening.)
"We figured we'd cast everyone in Memphis in the move. That way they'd all buy tickets to the screening and we'd sell it out," Phillips cracked, accepting the award. "It worked!"
On a more serious note, Phillips praised the festival and took note of what has become a significant moment in the development of many Memphis moviemakers. "For a local filmmaker, Indie Memphis is the first Everest you climb," Phillips said.
The Special Jury Awards given by the Hometowner jury were awarded to Ellis Fowler's local dance doc Memphis Movement — Jukin': The Urban Ballet (screening Monday at 6 p.m.), for "visual storytelling" to Kenneth Coker for his animated short Iwa (which screens Wednesday at 6:45 p.m. as part of a local shorts program), for "someone to watch" to Ben Siler for his short The Non-Invasion (screening Monday at 8:30 p.m. as part of a local shorts program), and for "portrayal of living history" to Jonathan Epstein's documentary I Am A Man: From Memphis, A Lesson In Life.
A separate jury for Live From Memphis' annual Music Video Showcase awarded its top prize to rapper 8Ball's "America," directed by 8Ball and Joe Gotti. The runner up was the Perfect Vessels' "Sun Never Goes," directed by the band's own Graham Burks. The audience choice award went to a video for Snowglobe's "Love," directed by Christopher Reyes.
Among the non-locals, the opening night film That Evening Sun, directed by Scott Teems, garnered the top prize from the narrative features jury. Additionally, that jury gave three special jury awards: To McAbee's Stingray Sam for "innovatice filmmaking," to Kyle Patrick Alvarez's Easier With Practice for "ensemble cast," and to Tze Chun's Children of Invention for "emotional storytelling."
Accepting his special jury award, McAbee said, "This is actually the first award Stingray Sam has won. So I'm going to be traveling around the world with it and rubbing it in everyone's face. So they'll know your name."
The short film jury gave their top prize to The Ballad of Friday and June by Tate English and the best animated or experimental film award to Near the Egress from Antonio Martinez. It awarded two special jury awards, one to Adelaide, from Liliana Greenfield Sanders and one to the documentary short Jennifer, by Steward Copeland.
"I love Austin. It's my favorite place in the world," Texas native English said in accepting his award. "But let me say this. Memphis: You guys kick ass. And you have way more music that the 'Live Music Capitol of the World.'"
Additionally, Indie Memphis organizers gave two awards of their own. The "Southern Soul of Independent Film Award" went to the documentary Ghost Bird, from director Scott Crocker. The "Ron Tibbett Excellence in Filmmaking Award" went to the opening-night doc Shooting Robert King, a profile on the Memphis-based war photographer from director Richard Parry.
Indie Memphis also announced the following daytime encore screenings for the rest of this week. All screenings at Studio on the Square:
UPDATE: The encore schedule originally published in this post has been changed. The new schedule is here.