One of the city's core arts institutions, Indie Memphis connects and inspires indie filmmakers and film-lovers through the unique creative landscape that is the home of the Blues and the birthplace of Rock 'n' Roll. Now entering its 16th year, the 501(c)3 non-profit organization is a two-time Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences grant recipient, receives project support from the Tennessee Arts Commission, and is the only film organization to receive annual funding from ArtsMemphis.
The year-round organization is best known for its annual Indie Memphis Film Festival presented by Duncan-Williams, Inc., which transforms the city into a connecting point for filmmakers, musicians, artists, and audiences. Twice ranked by MovieMaker Magazine (as one of "25 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee" in 2011 and as one of the "25 Coolest Film Festivals" in 2009), the festival brings a broad range of independent features, documentaries and short films to Memphis from all corners of the country. Set in Overton Square in Midtown Memphis, the city's cultural and creative center and home to a plethora of restaurants, bars and clubs, the 2011 festival attracted a record-setting crowd of more than 8,000 attendees with high-profile screenings including Undefeated and Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory, both nominated for Oscars for Best Documentary Feature (an honor that eventually went to Undefeated at the 2012 Academy Awards). Special guests included Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow, Footloose), Tanya Wright (HBO's True Blood), Jason Baldwin of the West Memphis Three (Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory), Daniel Waters (Heathers), Mark Bell (FilmThreat) Mike Ryan (Junebug), Ira Deutchman (Emerging Pictures), and Chris Parnell (Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock), who hosted the festival Award Show.
But Indie Memphis is more than just an annual film festival, with year-round programs that inspire, encourage and promote independent films and filmmaking in Memphis. More than 50 screenings and special events filled the calendar in the months leading up to the 2011 festival, providing Indie Memphis members with numerous discounts and free admission opportunities to take advantage of. Highlights from the past year included: the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis "GiVE 365 Movie Night with Indie Memphis" in January; the Summer Drive-In screening of The American Astronaut, co-presented by ArtsMemphis Bravo in March; the Found Footage Festival at the Young Avenue Deli in April; Belgian cinema presented in collaboration with the Memphis in May International Festival at Malco Theatres’ Studio on the Square and the Brooks Museum of Art and the Dance Film Series presented in collaboration with Project: Motion at the Evergreen Theatre in May; the Global Lens Film Series presented at the Brooks Museum of Art from June through August; the free summer Concert Film Series at the Levitt Shell; and Howard Rosenman's "The Hollywood Sell" co-presented by the Memphis & Shelby County Film and Television Commission / Memphis ED at the Memphis College of Art in September.