Indie Memphis Celebrates Black Independence in Film

Sorry to Bother You resonated with me, Dope brought me back to high school, and Black KKKlansmen, among many others, had me laughing and sighing simultaneously. The culture, artistic styles, and narratives represented in black independent films have impacted many people, including myself, and that alone is worth honoring. Indie Memphis has teamed up with the Brooks Museum and Rhodes College to host Black Independence, a mini-festival celebrating the past, present, and future of black independent film.

“We’ve been hosting these weekly film screenings and wanted to execute a more thematic series,” said Miram Bale, Indie Memphis Artistic Director. “As we’ve been supporting filmmakers in Memphis, especially black filmmakers, these are the types of films that keep coming up in conversations and we want those discussions to continue.”

Kicking off September 11th with a screening of Solange’s performance art film When I Get Home, there will be wide sampling of international films made by black directors spanning from the 70’s to now. While the lineup is not comprehensive, it spotlights a number of filmmakers, regions, and cultures—showcasing the art and diversity within the black community.

“On a basic level, we hope this series will inspire filmmakers,” Bale said. “I mean, big budgets are great, but the amount of films that have been made with small budgets that are equally, if not more, beautiful and smart speaks for itself. On a grander level, we hope these films speak to other people’s experiences. So often in Hollywood history, stories of the black experience are told and made by white people. These films give the mic back.”

Take a look at the full lineup:

Screening: “Solange’s When I Get Home”

Location: The Brooks Museum (1934 Poplar Ave)

Thanks to the Brooks Museum, the 41-minute extended director’s cut of Solange’s visual album “When I Get Home” will be shown and followed up by a panel discussion featuring Victoria Jones, Executive Director of the Collective, and local artists IMAKEMADBEATS, Dindie Donelson, Lawrence Matthews, and Telisu.


Screening: 80’s & 90’s Shorts by Black Filmmakers

Location: Crosstown 430 (430 N. Cleveland)

The 80’s and 90’s weren’t only iconic for big hair and bumpin tunes. They can also be characterized by the number of landmark films created by black, female filmmakers whose short films “interrogate identity, imagery, and representation in classic Hollywood where no black women were directing and exhibiting films.”

RSVP here.

Screening: Soleil ô

Where: Malco Ridgeway (5853 Ridgeway Center Pkwy)

What happens when a young African man arrives in France expecting to establish a live for himself, but upon his arrival, he’s reminded of that fact that he doesn’t belong? This 1970 film analyzes the kind of slavery in which the shackles might not be literal, but are still physically and emotionally binding.

Order tickets here.

Screening: My Brother’s Wedding

Location: Malco Studio on the Square (2105 Court Ave)

Which is stronger, the loyalty between blood relatives or the loyalty between best friends? Pierce Mundy is caught in between the two, and ultimately finds himself disappointing both parties and himself.

Order tickets here.

Screening: Losing Ground

Location: Malco Powerhouse (540 S. Front St)

Marked as the first feature-length drama directed by a black American woman since the 1920s, this 1982 film follows the story of Sarah Rogers and Victor. The young married couple set off to New York for the summer where the exploration of their separate passions only lead to complications and temptation.

Order tickets here.

Screening: Hyenas

Location: Rhodes College (2000 North Pkwy)

Marveled as a treasure in African cinema, this story is one of love and revenge as it follows Linguere—a now well off woman who is returning to her African village after being exiled three decades earlier for birthing a child out of wedlock. She seeks to punish the man who fathered her child but denied the responsibility of his actions.

FREE EVENT// No ticket required

Screening: Daughters of the Dust

Location: Malco Ridgeway (5853 Ridgeway Center Pkwy)

Attributed as the first American wide release by a black female filmmaker and a major influence for Beyonce’s music Lemonade music video, Daughters of the Dust follows the challenges that a multigenerational Gullah family face as they consider leaving life as they know it behind for a new life on the mainland—far from their roots, cultural heritage and traditions.

Order tickets here.

Screening: Moonlight

Location: The Fourth Bluff (51 Riverside Dr)

The quest to find oneself is one that we’ve all set out on, and Chiron in Moonlight is no different. This coming-of-age drama surrounding sexuality and self discovery, embedded within simple scenes and imagery, is a groundbreaking piece of cinema that brought home the 2017 Academy Award Winner Best Picture, Academy Award Winner Best Adapted Screenplay, Academy Award Winner Best Supporting Actor( Mahershala Ali) and the Golden Globe Award Winner Best Picture (Drama).

FREE EVENT// No ticket required

For more information and updates, check out the Indie Memphis website and follow along their Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for more weekly film screenings.

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