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On Location: MEMPHIS Film & Music Fest

The 15th Annual On Location: MEMPHIS International Film & Music Fest kicks off on Thursday, April 24 and runs through Sunday, April 27.

There are five categories: Features, Documentaries, Animation, Shorts, and Music Videos.

The opening night program is “In Between Engagements,” a comedy starring Armand Assante, written and directed by Dominik Sedlar and produced by Johnny Arreola.  It screens Thursday, April 24th at 7:30 p.m. at the Malco Paradiso.

On Friday, April 25th, the fest moves to Malco Studio on the Square.  Highlights include a 30-year anniversary screening of “The Old Forest,” an ambitious period piece set in 1937 Memphis and directed by University of Memphis professor, Stephen Ross; Lipscomb Pitts Breakfast Club’s Memphis Rocks! program showcasing the best of the Bluff City; Memphis native Dawn Higginbotham’s “The Usual,” a short that parallels today’s economic climate to the Great Depression; OL:M alumni Tiffany and Jayce Bartok’s “Fall to Rise,” which focuses on a dancer’s struggles with injury and motherhood in New York; “Gideon’s Army,” a documentary of three idealistic lawyers in the Deep South challenging the criminal justice system; short films exploring Memphis and American culture by the artist Tav Falco; the winners of last year’s Louisiana Film Prize competition; and four separate screenings of the always-popular Live Action Shorts.

This year’s event has something for every musical taste, including. “The Prisonaires” is a documentary that chronicles five African-American singers in the 1950s who were also inmates of the state of Tennessee, while “Mondo Fuzz: Twilight of the Idles” celebrates the garage scene of Austin. “Legends of Ska: Cool and Copasetic” looks at the music of Jamaica fifty years ago and examines its relationship to reggae, “Banjo Romantika” introduces Czech musicians who play a unique bluegrass hybrid, and the American premiere “Vann ‘Piano Man’ Walls: The Spirit of R&B” traces the life and career of the rhythm and blues pioneer.

There will be films from India, Germany, Mexico, the United Kingdom and other countries. Among the international films is “Hou De Jarasa Ushir,” which made it to the Reminder List of films eligible for the 85th Annual Academy Awards.

Many filmmakers will be in attendance at the screenings of their films throughout the weekend. Several panels on topics of interest in the film industry are scheduled throughout the festival.

This year’s Music Showcases, featuring bands and artists across all genres, will take place from Thursday,  April 24th through Saturday, April 26th at the Midtown Blue Monkey, Le Chardonnay, Otherlands, Newby’s, 1884 Lounge, and Java Cabana.

Tickets for individual films, including opening night, are $10; film day passes are $20. Entire festival passes are $65 and include entrance to all Music Showcases. Tickets and passes are available online, with individual tickets also available at the door. Shuttle service is scheduled between all venues.

For more information on the festival and to see a full schedule, visit  Also like On Location: MEMPHIS on Facebook and follow on Twitter @OLM_Trailer.



Indie Memphis gets kudos from MovieMaker; Brewer heads festival board

For the second consecutive year, the Indie Memphis Film Festival has been named to MovieMaker magazine’s 2014 list of “Top 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee.” This comes on the heels of the magazine naming Memphis as one of the Ten Best Places to Live and Work as a Moviemaker -- repeating an honor bestowed four times previously thanks in large part to the effectiveness of the Memphis & Shelby County Film and Television Commission.

The full list of the Top 50 Film Festivals will appear in its spring issue on newsstands April 22.  The magazine will reveal the list in installments on during the next few weeks.

Indie Memphis has also been included as one on the magazine’s “25 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee” in 2011 and one of the “25 Coolest Film Festivals” in 2009.

The 17th annual festival runs from Oct. 30 through Nov. 2, 2014.

Meanwhile, Memphis screenwriter and film director Craig Brewer, whose movie “Hustle & Flow” attracted world-wide acclaim and won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival in 2005, has been elected president of the board of Indie Memphis, the non-profit organization that helped launch his career. Brewer’s term as president is for two years. This is his third year on the board.

Other newly elected officers of the board are Kerry Hayes, vice-president; Erin Freeman, secretary; and Les Edwards, treasurer. Iddo Patt remains on the board as immediate past president. The board also includes Mark Furr, Adam Hohenberg, Dorothy Kirsch, Gary Lendermon, Kevin Mireles, Jason Wexler, Pat Mitchell Worley. Two new board members are Ward Archer and Alison England.

Craig Brewer photo by Jamie Harmon



Sat. and Sun.: MJCC Int'l Jewish Film Festival

The MJCC International Jewish Film Festival continues today and tomorrow with two extraordinary films at the Memphis Jewish Community Center, 6560 Poplar Ave.

“Simon and the Oaks” plays Saturday, April 5 at 9 p.m. (Tickets: $10/$7 Members). Doors open at 8:30 p.m. Not rated, however, it does have does have language, sexual content, mature themes and adult situations.

An epic drama spanning the years 1939 to 1952, “Simon and the Oaks” is the gripping story of Simon, who grows up in a working-class family in Sweden. Intellectually gifted, he finally convinces his father to send him to an upper-class grammar school. There, he meets Isak, the son of a wealthy Jewish bookseller who has fled Nazi persecution in Germany. Simon is dazzled by the books, art, and music he encounters at Isak’s father’s home. Isak, on the other hand, draws comfort from learning to do something with his hands, helping Simon’s dad make boats. When Isak faces trouble at home, he is taken in by Simon’s family and the two households slowly merge, connecting in unexpected ways as war rages all over Europe. 

“Hava Nagila (The Movie)” screens Sunday, April 6 at 1 p.m. (Tickets: $10/$7 Members). Not rated.

It's to music what the bagel is to food – a Jewish staple that has transcended its origins and become a worldwide hit. Bob Dylan sang it. Elvis, too. Follow this party song on its journey from the shtetls of Eastern Europe to the cul-de?sacs of America in a film that’s both hilarious and deep. Featuring interviews with Harry Belafonte, Connie Francis, Glen Campbell, Leonard Nimoy, Regina Spektor, and more, Hava Nagila takes viewers from Ukraine and Israel to the Catskills, Greenwich Village, Hollywood, and even Bollywood, using the song as a springboard to explore Jewish history and identity and to spotlight the cross-cultural connections that can only be achieved through music.

For more info: 901.761.0810 and



'Tennessee Queer' at Malco Studio on the Square

The made-in-Memphis film Tennessee Queer is in its second week at Studio on the Square. Twice daily--1:10 and 7:20. Don't miss this film that was a Film Commission-assisted project. 

Get tickets here. 



Commission, SCORE develop equity crowdfunding

So many scripts … so little money. However, thanks to President Obama’s Jobs Bill, on-line investing in films will be possible in early 2015 through equity crowdfunding. Unlike donation crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter, equity crowdfunding will give investors the chance to receive a return on their investments. According to criteria currently being considered, The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) would allow up to $1 million in investments over 12 months in each company.

Since August 2013, retired financial executives from the Memphis chapter of SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) ( have been working in alliance with leaders of The Memphis & Shelby County Film and Television Commission. Their goal?  To develop an educational/mentoring program to prepare local filmmakers for this new way to raise capital for their films. A leading securities and corporate finance attorney is keeping the group apprised of all new developments in equity crowd funding regulations -- Matt Heiter of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell and Berkowitz.

SCORE’S Crowdfunding Co-Directors, Reese Austin (formerly Managing Director Institutional Equity with Morgan Keegan) and Ramkrishna Kasargod (formerly Managing Director Equity Research with Morgan Keegan), will lead an in-depth financial workshop in early 2015, specifically designed to prepare the filmmaker for the equity crowdfunding portal experience.  SCORE board member Jack Gibson will discuss film business plans. Award-winning Film Commission client and internationally acclaimed producer Mike Ryan (“June Bug,” “40 Shades of Blue”) will discuss film budgeting in the second part of the workshop. For a nominal fee, the workshop will be open to all legal residents of Shelby County.

Successful graduates of the workshop with “camera ready” scripts will then be eligible to apply for a competitive mentoring program. In it, SCORE financial executives, Mike Ryan, and several Film Commission established clients would select three filmmakers for special pre-portal nurturing.

Although SEC regulations regarding equity crowdfunding will likely not be finalized until early 2015, an informational workshop to prepare Shelby County filmmakers for the final workshop will be held in May. Location and date will be announced in April.

For more information on this new type of film investing, go to:


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