Craig Brewer, the Memphis-based director of Hustle & Flow and Footloose, has never been afraid to chase an impossible dream.
"I want to be able to make movies without the burden of the box office," he says. And who wouldn't?
"I'd like to maybe finance movies with very modest production budgets and then give them away. Maybe they are 30-minute or 50-minute features or documentary. I'd still own them, but they'd be released through Black Lodge Video only. And they would be free with other rentals."
Video-on-demand has put the squeeze on its brick-and-mortar counterparts and Brewer thinks this is tragic. Black Lodge hasn't just been a video shop for Brewer but a place where the director could take his ideas for film projects and, with help from the staff, be put on a steady diet of cinematic inspiration.
On Friday, June 28th, Brewer is throwing a party for Black Lodge Video to celebrate the DVD release of his documentary feature Indie Origins, which will be available exclusively at Black Lodge and free with a rental of another film.
Indie Origins is two stories in one. It's a nostalgic look back at the birth of Memphis' independent film scene and a quest to discover Brett Cantrell's Eso-Phagus, a darkly comic gem about the son of a circus clown and a cowgirl.
Cantrell's film, which had been presumed lost, prompted Brewer to compile other films from the late '90s such as Fine Grind Films' Blown; John Pickle's Broke on Saturday; Geoffrey Brent Shrewsbury's You Better Behave; Prichard Smith's $200 on eBay; J. Lazarus Hawk's chilling Morning Ritual; and Brewer's own burley house noir, Clean Up in Booth B.
As per Brewer's wish, Indie Origins will be distributed free of charge with other video rentals. A limited-edition movie poster, created for Clean Up in Booth B by artist Lauren Rae Holtermann, will also be given away on a first-come, first-served basis.
Indie Origins DVD release party, Black Lodge Video (831 S. Cooper), Friday, June 28th, 9 P.M.