The 14th On Location: Memphis International Film & Music Festival opens Thursday night at Malco's Paradiso theater before moving to Midtown for screenings Friday through Sunday at Studio on the Square. Among the dozens of films of all stripes being presented are a handful of docs of local or regional interest.
The Memphians/Ole Beale Street Revue (Paradiso, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.): The opening-night films focus on Memphis music. The Memphians is a 20-minute "sneak preview" of a documentary from Los Angeles producer/musician Martin Shore that chronicles the city's music community over a five-decade span, up to the present day. The full-length Ole Beale Street Revue, produced by Memphis soul veteran Dan Greer, focuses on Beale's musical history via concert clips over the past several decades.
My Father and the Man in Black (Studio on the Square, Friday, 8:30 p.m.): This highly praised 2012 doc from writer-director Jonathan Holiff looks at the relationship between Holiff's father, music manager Saul, and his most famous client, Johnny Cash, whom Saul managed during Cash's sometimes triumphant, often chaotic 1960s run and his career-damaging turn back toward fundamentalism in the '70s. The younger Holiff, who apparently didn't know his father well, discovers a cache of material — including taped conversations between his dad and Cash — after the elder Holiff's death and builds the film around that. It debuted in New York last fall without a distribution deal and was touted by the Village Voice as "full and vital."
We Juke Up in Here (Studio on the Square, Sunday, 1:45 p.m.): Mississippi musos Jeff Konkel and Roger Stolle co-direct a portrait of the surviving juke-joint culture of their home state, focusing on such lost-in-time venues as Red's Lounge in Clarksdale, the Blue Front Cafe in Bentonia, and the Do Drop Inn in Shelby.
Black Diamonds, Blues City: Stories of the Memphis Red Sox (Studio on the Square, Sunday, 4:45 p.m.): A portrait of the Negro Leagues' Memphis Red Sox, from University of Memphis professor Steven John Ross, narrated by Samuel L. Jackson and featuring vintage photography from Ernest Withers. The hour-long doc received a festival run and was shown on public television nationwide upon its debut 15 years ago. With the recent box-office success of the Jackie Robinson biopic 42 shining a new light on Negro League history, Ross' film gets an encore presentation with the first public screening of a new digital transfer. It's also the first screening of the film since the passing last month of Joe B. Scott, the last surviving Memphis Red Sox veteran who is interviewed in the film. The showing is part of a program of short films from University of Memphis grad students and faculty that begins at 3:30 p.m.
The Last White Knight (Studio on the Square, Sunday, 7 p.m.): Canadian filmmaker Paul Salzman documents his own meeting with the former Klansman who assaulted him in 1965, when, as 21-year-old, Salzman ventured to Greenwood, Mississippi, as a volunteer for the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. The assailant turns out to be Byron de la Beckwith Jr., whose father murdered Medgar Evers.
On Location: Memphis International Film & Music Festival
Paradiso and Studio on the Square
Thursday, April 25th-Sunday, April 28th
Full festival passes, $55; individual screenings, $10
For a full festival schedule and other info, see onlocationmemphis.org.