Indie Memphis Announces Preliminary Slate for the 2020 Indie Memphis Film Festival, October 21st-29th Online and Outdoors
Indie Memphis Film Festival is a 501(c)3 arts organization. Its mission is to create community through independent film and support the development of filmmakers.
Indie Memphis Film Festival, presented by Duncan-Williams, Inc., is pleased to announce the full slate of films for its 2020 incarnation, ranging from October 21st – October 29th, 2020.
This year’s festival will be “Online and Outdoors.” Film lovers from all over the world will participate in the virtual screenings and events. The 2020 festival will screen over 230 feature films, shorts, and music videos. Most screenings will be followed by filmmaker Q&As. Memphis audiences will also enjoy in-person screenings at the Drive-In and outdoor lawns.
This year’s festival will give focus to BIPOC and women filmmakers. This year’s trend focuses on politics. There are films about aging, weed legalization, electoral politics, activism, unhoused LGBQT+ youth, and more. The festival seeks to reflect the community and the world, with a wide range of filmmakers tackling themes that matter to their communities.
Discussions and events will be announced in weeks to come, including Indie Talks. Festival Artistic Director Miriam Bale says, “We hope to bring people together, in person and online, and provide inspiration and an outlet. In order to counter Screen Burnout, we’ll be offering a series of what we call ‘Groundings’ throughout the digital festival, including a meditative film called A Still Place by festival alumnus Christopher Yogi.”
This year marks the last year that Executive Director Ryan Watt will be participating in the festival. Watt says of stepping down from his role, “This year is a truly unique festival experience to keep our audience safe and entertained while online and outdoors. My sixth and final festival at the helm is bittersweet, I’ll be soaking in every bit of the incredible program our team has assembled.”
The festival will feature many film premieres, including the World Premiere of Trimiko Melancon’s documentary, What Do You Have to Lose? which explores the history of race in America and the U.S. Premiere of Anthony Banua-Simon’s documentary, Cane Fire, which examines the past and present of the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i. This year’s Opening Night film will be Memphis-born Lynne Sachs’ celebrated documentary, A Film About a Father Who, comprised of 35 years of footage that Sachs’ captured of her father as she attempts to uncover his secretive past. In addition, the festival features a host of festival favorites including Mario Furloni and Kate McLean’s, Freeland, starring Krisha
Fairchild (Krisha) as an aging pot farmer facing extinction and Emma Seligman’s culture clash comedy, Shiva Baby. The Retrospective section will include a new restoration of Joyce Chopra’s, Smooth Talk, in Laura Dern’s breakout role, and classic titles such as Sidney Lumet’s, The Wiz, starring Diana Ross and the Richard Pryor comedy Car Wash, in tribute to filmmaker Joel Schumacher, who died earlier this year and wrote both films.
2020 INDIE MEMPHIS FILM FESTIVAL SLATE
_Films Are Alphabetical by Section_
FREELAND – STARRING MARIO FURLONI AND KATE MCLEAN, 80 MIN
An aging pot farmer finds her world shattered as she races to bring in
what could be her final harvest, fighting against the threat of eviction as
the impact of the legalization of the cannabis industry rapidly destroys her
idyllic way of life.
I BLAME SOCIETY – STARRING GILLIAN HORVAT, 84 MIN
A struggling filmmaker senses her peers are losing faith in her ability
to succeed, so she decides to prove herself by finishing her last
abandoned film… and committing the perfect murder.
REUNION – JAKE MAHAFFY, 96 MIN
A pregnant woman returns to her recently deceased grandparents’ family
home to spend time with her estranged mother. What begins as a reunion
EXECUTIVE ORDER – LÁZARO RAMOS, 103 MIN
In a dystopian near future in Brazil, an authoritarian government orders
all citizens of African descent to move to Africa – creating chaos,
protests, and an underground resistance movement that inspires the
TAKE OUT GIRL – HISONNI MUSTAFA, 100 MIN
To give her family a chance at a better life and save her family’s
failing restaurant, Tera Wong, a desperate 20-year-old Asian girl,
parlays her Chinese food delivery expertise into a profitable drug
AMERICAN THIEF – MIGUEL SILVEIRA, 90 MIN
A teen hacker seeking revenge for his father’s murder, a young activist,
an internet conspiracy vlogger, and an artificial intelligence
programmer become pawns in a plot to derail the 2016 presidential
SHIVA BABY – EMMA SELIGMAN, 77 MIN
At a Jewish funeral service with her parents, a college student runs
into her sugar daddy in Emma Seligman’s brilliant cringe-comedy.
CANE FIRE – ANTHONY BANUA-SIMON, 90 MIN – U.S. PREMIERE
Cane Fire examines the past and present of the Hawaiian island of
Kauaʻi, interweaving four generations of family history, numerous
Hollywood productions, and troves of found footage to create a
kaleidoscopic portrait of the economic and cultural forces that have
cast indigenous and working-class residents as “extras” in their own
FILM ABOUT A FATHER WHO – LYNNE SACHS, 74 MIN – OPENING NIGHT FILM
Between 1984 and 2019, Memphis-born filmmaker Lynne Sachs shot film and
video images of her father. Film About a Father Who is her attempt to
understand the web that connects a child to her parent and a sister to
SO LATE SO SOON – DANIEL HYMANSON, 70 MIN
A half-century into their marriage, two Chicago artists look back at
their life together as they contend with the deterioration of their
bodies and beloved home.
PIER KIDS – ELEGANCE BRATTON, 96 MIN
Following the lives of three LGBTQ homeless youth of color who, after
being kicked out of their home for their sexuality, have become homeless
on the same street the Gay Rights Movement began so long ago.
UNAPOLOGETIC – ASHLEY O’SHAY AND MORGAN JOHNSON, 83 MIN
After two Black Chicagoans are killed, millennial organizers challenge
an administration complicit in state violence against its residents in
this deep look into the Movement for Black Lives.
WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO LOSE? – TRIMIKO MELANCON, 74 MIN – WORLD PREMIERE
Exploring the history of race in the United States to shed light on the
current political and racial landscape in America during the post-Obama
age of Trump. From Charlottesville and the rise of the alt-right to
Black Lives Matter and the death of George Floyd, this film takes an
arresting look at how did we get here, why does it matter, and what do
we, as individuals and a nation, have to lose.
Films That Celebrate Music
BORN BALEARIC: JON SA TRINXA AND THE SPIRIT OF IBIZA – LILY RINAE, 71
MIN – WORLD PREMIERE
Adjacent to Ibiza’s party capital, resident DJ Jon Sa Trinxa has spent
a quarter of a century on the beach spinning an eclectic mix of musical
styles that stir the hearts of the Balearic artist community.
SHOE: A MEMPHIS MUSIC LEGACY, 121 MIN
Memphis musicians, singers, songwriters, engineers, and producers
reunite to remember and record their days at Shoe Productions, an
underground studio that was about to be left out of Memphis Music
THE MEMPHIS MASTERS – ANDREW TRENT FLEMING, 37 MIN – WORLD PREMIERE
The Memphis Masters multi-part video series, directed by Andrew Trent
Fleming, celebrates various albums from the iconic Stax Records label
reissued on vinyl pressed at Memphis Record Pressing. The Series
showcases the Label’s enduring musical legacy influential to many around
Films by Memphis Filmmakers
COMING TO AFRICA – ANWAR JAMISON, 96 min
A philandering financial executive unexpectedly finds himself in Africa
on an amusing adventure where he meets a beautiful Ghanaian
schoolteacher and finds nourishment for his soul.
SMITH – JASON LOCKRIDGE, 117 MIN – WORLD PREMIERE
Underwhelmed by corporate assignments, a private detective is approached
by a client with the type of investigation he longed for.
WE CAN’T WAIT – LAUREN READY, 37 MIN
Tami Saywer’s quest to become the first black female mayor of Memphis.
THE HUB – LAWRENCE MATTHEWS, 46 MIN – WORLD PREMIERE
Following the narrative of a young man recently let go from his low
paying warehouse job while he spends his summer navigating the Memphis
job and transportation crisis, among his own personal issues.
1ST FORGOTTEN CHAMPIONS – MORRECO COLEMAN, 68 MIN
Hitchhiking his way to college with dreams of a brighter future, Jerry
C. Johnson later became the first African American basketball coach to
win a NCAA Division III National Basketball Championship in 1975.
Films That Depart from Expectations
THE GIVERNY DOCUMENT – SINGLE CHANNEL, JA’TOVIA GARY, 42 MIN)
Filmed on location in Harlem, USA and in Claude Monet’s historic
gardens in Giverny, France, The Giverny Document is a multi-textured
cinematic poem that meditates on the safety and bodily autonomy of Black
HER SOCIALIST SMILE – TALI YANKELEVICH, 80 MIN
A meditation on a particular moment in early 20th-century history: when
Helen Keller began speaking out passionately on behalf of progressive
causes — serving as a rousing reminder of Keller’s undaunted activism
for labor rights, pacifism, and women’s suffrage.
MY DARLING SUPERMARKET – JOHN GIANVITO, 93 MIN
Humor, drama, mystery, romance and quantum physics coexist alongside
milk cartons, cuts of meat, barcodes and security cameras inside a
RETROSPECTIVE (AT THE DRIVE-IN)
HOUSE – Nobuhiko Obayashi, 1977 – Pre-Halloween Screening
A schoolgirl travels with six classmates to her ailing aunt’s creaky
country home and comes face-to-face with evil spirits, a demonic house
cat, a bloodthirsty piano, and other ghoulish visions.
RAD! – HAL NEEDHAM, 1986 – NEW RESTORATION
Cult favorite Rad! follows the story of a scrappy bicycle-motocrosser
Cru Jones, who has the intensity and desire to win a corrupt promoter’s
nationally televised cash-prize BMX race.
SMOOTH TALK – JOYCE CHOPRA, 1985 – NEW RESTORATION
A free-spirited 15-year-old Connie (Laura Dern) flirts with a dangerous
stranger in the Northern California suburbs and must prepare herself for
the frightening and traumatic consequences.
WRITTEN BY JOEL SCHUMACHER (1939–2020)
CAR WASH – MICHAEL SCHULTZ, 1976
A day in the lives of the wacky people involved in an L.A. car wash
operation – including the pot-smoking owner’s son and a cab driver
looking for a missing passenger.
THE WIZ – SIDNEY LUMET, 1978
An extravagant re-imagining of The Wizard of Oz with pop superstars
Diana Ross and Michael Jackson, co-starring Richard Pryor, Nipsey
Russell. Music by Quincy Jones.