Now is the Time. Memphis is the Place.

Choose901 Staff Picks: 2018 Indie Memphis Film Festival

Film promo images courtesy of Indie Memphis

The 2018 Indie Memphis Film Festival is bringing five days of films, live music, discussions, and parties to multiple venues in Midtown and Downtown November 1st – 5th. More than 200 films will be screened, and there’s so much good stuff in the lineup that it can feel a little overwhelming to find your entry point. We’re here to help!

First things first, whether you’re planning to see some films or not, you should definitely check out the Weekend Block Party. Indie Memphis is closing off Cooper Street and providing some free live entertainment. Starting at 6:30 Friday night, there’s an Unapologetic showcase featuring IMAKEMADBEATS, Cameron Bethany, Kid Maestro, AWFM, Aaron James and surprise appearances from special guests. On Saturday, DJs Colin Butler and Eric Hermeyer are spinning African Dance Jams. The Block Party is open to everyone, and Tap Box is running the cash bar with Old Dominick spirits, and beer by Crosstown Brewing Co.

As for the screenings and panels, we’ve put together a quick list of some of the things that appealed to us here at Choose901 that you may also find interesting:

(Click on the titles to go to the Indie Memphis descriptions.)

Shelby: Support the Girls

As someone who worked in the service industry, I know exactly what it feels like on those hard days- those days when customers are a little too friendly, a little too needy, and a whole lot of disrespectful. However, when you have a good team and a badass boss standing by your side, I wouldn’t say it’s worth it, but at least you have someone to laugh it off with. It’s like a functional, dysfunctional family.

Lorna: Matangi/Maya/M.I.A.

I’ve long been drawn to the artist M.I.A. but admittedly I know very little about Maya Arulpragasam’s personal life. Growing up, I found myself surrounded by a lot of politically and socially apathetic people, and I never thought there would come a day when a radical, outspoken, politically engaged young woman would be making music that people actually loved. So I’m interested in learning more about this woman who’s not only become an international star, but also a refugee icon, a human rights activist, and a role model to young girls across the globe.

Lorna: Boots Riley Keynote

To a lot of people, Boots Riley is a bit of an enigma. But if you follow his work closely, it’s clear that he’s easily one of the most creative, rebellious, and authentic voices out there right now. This man definitely has a lot to say, and I’m eager to listen.

Lil Buck in Memphis Majic

Joi: Memphis Majic

I’m passionate about Memphis and I am passionate about dancing. What’s better than watching people express their joys & their struggles through their movements in a city that they love? 

Amanda: Hometowner Youth Filmmakers Shorts

I highly suggest checking out the Hometowner Youth Filmmakers Shorts Showing on Nov 3rd at 10:45AM at Playhouse on the Square. Highlighting youth film work in Memphis is incredibly awesome and it’s exciting to see up and coming filmmakers and the films they are producing. Two of the shorts that stand out to me are: A spoken word piece called The Death of Hip Hop, and another experimental film set to electronic music made up solely of found footage.

Kate: Hometowner Narrative Shorts

I was lucky enough to attend the Hometowner Shorts night last year and was amazed at the beauty of each story. It was kind of magic to experience such a range of emotions with the crowd – there were definitely tears and laughter and everything in between from the selections–and it was a gift to see the talent of our Memphis filmmakers.

Still from Brazil!

Keith: Brazil!

Go see this on a screen that’s bigger than you (probably?) have at home. Terry Gilliam is crazy and always incredibly ambitious with his movies, and this dystopian futuristic satire is no exception. Also, don’t miss Patrick in the Hometowner Shorts!

Jeff: Negro Terror

I’ve seen some of the guys perform as Chinese Connection Dub Embassy at the Artistik Lounge and love their vibes and personalities. I have seen a video of this new punk endeavor on Youtube. Seeing the film accompanied by a live score from the band sounds like a unique experience.

Michelle: Indie Talks: What Does a Production Designer Do?

Production design is a gift. It has the power to bring any story to life. Additionally, getting inside the mind of a creative is fascinating, and seeing how the story evolves from behind the scenes is a rare treat.


From Betty: They Say I’m Different

Nikki: Betty: They Say I’m Different

How does one of the most raw and influential female funk artists, whose afro centric image recently re-emerged on the t-shirts of women celebrating their ethnicity and whose music has influenced artists from Ice Cube to Erykah Badu, end up quietly living alone in Pittsburgh? What quiets the soul of one of the most outspoken, mysterious, and disruptive female voices of the 70’s? I’d like to know…

Nikki: Mr. SOUL!

I LOVE history, and discovering iconic people who are largely unknown. Who is this pioneer of late night talk?! Plus, archived footage of all these historic African American greats…um….YES, PLEASE!

Lisa: Indie Talks: When to Stay In your Lane & When to Swerve: Making Films Outside Your Worldview

The questions that will be explored in this panel discussion are fascinating to me. When is it okay for someone outside of a marginalized group to create a story from that group’s perspective? Can artists understand and respectfully portray experiences they haven’t lived? I’m looking forward to an honest breakdown of all the whys and why nots.

Diana Ross in Mahogany

Lisa: Mahogany and Mahogany Too

Mahogany always seemed to be on television when I was a kid in the 80s, and I’m certain I didn’t understand the themes or everything that happened at the time. I just remember Diana Ross and Billy Dee Williams being the very embodiment of cool. I’m excited to watch it now and see those iconic images that have lingered in my head for decades. And the fact that there’s a 4-minute Nigerian reinterpretation of the story? I have to see it.

Tickets for individual screenings start at just $10, or you can opt for a festival pass. Go to to learn more.

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