Movies, Music, and Free Parties: Check Out Indie Memphis Film Festival 2018

Posted by Holly Whitfield | October 23rd 2018 1097 0

Ed. Note: Contributor Veena is here with a preview of one of Memphis’ coolest things to do all year – the Indie Memphis Film Festival. Read on to find out how to catch world premieres of movies and documentaries, local films, parties, and more. 


It’s almost time for the 21st Annual Indie Memphis Film Festival, and I had the chance to chat with Ryan Watt, Executive Director of Indie Memphis, about some highlights of this year’s Festival.

Photo by Breezy Lucia, provided by Indie Memphis

For the uninitiated, the Indie Memphis Film Festival is our city’s standout film festival showcasing hundreds of films across a variety of genres. There is live music before every film, opportunities to meet directors and cast members, and quite literally a film for every interest.

If you’re a numbers person, here are some for you:

  • This year’s festival runs from November 1-5 at five different venues around Overton Square
  • There will be 2 bonus days of encores on November 7 & 8
  • Over 270 films will be screened, including feature length films, short films, documentaries, music videos, and more
  • There will be 85 events over the course of the five-day festival
  • Over 100 Memphis-based filmmakers will have works featured, and over 100 filmmakers will be traveling from out of town
  • More than 40% of the films were made by people of color
  • More than 40% of the films were made by women
  • 7 films are having their world or US premiere at this year’s Festival

As always, this year’s Fest will have some new features, most notably the Black Creators Forum spotlighting the works of black filmmakers. The highlight of the Forum will be a pitch rally on Friday at 3 p.m. where 12 filmmakers – half local, half out-of-towners – will have the opportunity to pitch their film ideas to the audience; the filmmaker who wins the contest will receive a $10,000 prize to make their film on the condition that it must be filmed in Memphis. This event is also unique because it is FREE TO THE PUBLIC regardless of whether or not you have a Festival pass.

Another highlight will be Friday night’s world premiere of Negro Terror, a documentary about the band that changed the underground punk scene in Memphis. As a special feature, Negro Terror will be on hand to perform the score live, creating a once-in-a-lifetime moment for attendees.

Continuing with 2017’s successful block party, this year’s party will last the entire weekend. Cooper St will be closed between Union and Madison, and there will be live music, food trucks, tap boxes, filmmaker talks, and the Old Dominick Cocktail Cruiser will be making an appearance. The block party is also FREE TO THE PUBLIC to attend.

If you are interested in attending, I strongly recommend buying a Festival Pass.

Regular passes cost $100 [$80 if you’re a member!] and allow you to select tickets for up to 12 films; if you want to go the VIP route [$250 / $200 for members], you can select unlimited tickets for films, you get priority seating 15 minutes before films begin, and you get Festival swag.

All pass holders will have access to the hospitality tent which includes complimentary food and drinks all weekend. You can read more about the pass and ticket options and see the Fest schedule here.

Have I convinced you yet?

The Lowdown:

Indie Memphis Film Festival
November 1-5
Opening & Closing Reception: The Halloran Centre
Film Venues: Playhouse on the Square, Hattiloo Theatre, TheatreWorks, Malco Studio on the Square

Passes are $100 / $80 for Indie Memphis members
VIP Passes are $250 / $200 for Indie Memphis members
Single Tickets are $10 for standard screenings and $15-20 for special screenings


Ed. Note – I wanted to call out a few of this year’s films in particular. I’ll echo Veena’s suggestion for the Negro Terror documentary. Indie Memphis has the honor of hosting four additional world premieres. Here’s a rundown:

Waiting: The Van Duren Story (Sat. Nov. 3 at 1 p.m. at PotS) Memphis homers and Big Star lovers will absolutely want to check out this doc’s official world premiere. I’ve seen a screener for the film, and was intrigued throughout. It was created by two Australians who randomly fell in love with the music of Memphis musician Van Duren, which is a strange enough premise on its own. They become obsessed with telling Van’s story and uncovering why an artist who seemed destined to be the Next Big Thing instead “faded into obscurity”. It involves Japanese record sellers, Scientology, drugged-out 70s rockers, and Mortimer’s. Yes, that Mortimer’s. The one in East Memphis. Van is still living and working in town, and he’ll join the filmmakers for a special performance after the screening.

Entrialgo (Sun. Nov. 4 at 4 p.m. at Studio) is a documentary about rural Spain, focusing on the lives of two young boys

– Shoot The Moon Right Between The Eyes (Fri. Nov. 2 at 6:30 p.m. at Studio) looks like a music-soaked crazy Texas caper/love story.

Jobe’z World (Fri. Nov. 2 at 10  p.m. at Studio) is about a “mysterious middle-aged rollerblader” who gets “blamed for the drug overdose of a super famous A-list actor”.


About The Author
Veena Rangaswami grew up on the banks of the Mississippi River, and after many years of splitting her time between Memphis and India, she has finally returned full-time to the 901. By day she is a program specialist for the Bridge Builders program at BRIDGES, and by night she can be found reading and writing, eating her way around Memphis, cheering on her favorite sports teams, plotting her next out-of-town adventure, and pretending to be a runner. All she wants is a lifetime supply of Dr. Pepper and to see the Grizz bring home an NBA Championship. Read about her adventures, and follow along for yourself on Instagram and Twitter.


Author: Holly Whitfield

I write about what’s going on with Memphis music, food, arts, events, sports, people, and culture. Memphians love Elvis and barbeque with a passion that must be seen to be believed, but there is so much more to this place.

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