Ten filmmakers are competing for a $10,000 grand prize and you can help decide the winner this weekend.
Memphis Film Prize is a competition where the main rule is that you have to make your film in Shelby County. Filmmakers from across the region have entered and ten films have emerged as frontrunners for the grand prize.
The Top Ten films will be screening in 2-hour blocks August 2-3 at Malco Studio on the Square. You’ve got 8 chances to catch a screening. Every film tells a unique story in 15 minutes or less and features familiar places and faces from around Memphis. Once you watch all ten films, you’re eligible to vote for your favorite—one vote per person. The films will also be watched by a panel of celebrity judges who will account for 50% of the vote while the audience counts for the other half.
Friday, August 2nd: 3:30p, 6:00p, 8:30p
Saturday, August 3rd: 9:00a, 11:30a, 2:00p, 4:30p and 7:00p
Learn about the Top Ten films and their directors below.
Director: Kyle Taubken
Running Time: 12:56 min
A formerly successful soul artist struggles to find work while seeing some familiar faces.
Director Bio: Kyle Taubken is a writer/director from Memphis, TN who grew up nearby in a small town in northern Mississippi. Inspired, in part, by the personal films of the New Hollywood movement and the low budget independent films of the early 90s, Kyle made his first short film at age 20. After completing his graduate work at the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2014, where his thesis film (The Neighborhood) won four graduate film awards, including Best Graduate Director and Best Graduate Film, Kyle returned to Memphis where he continues to make films. Kyle’s films have screened in competition at festivals including the Portland Film Festival, Indie Memphis, and the Macon Film Festival, among others.
INTERVIEW WITH A DEAD MAN
Director: Garrett Atkinson
Running Time: 11:33 min
A convicted murderer is interviewed one last time before his execution.
Director Bio: Garrett Atkinson is a Memphis based writer/director who has been producing local short films and cinematic related projects for over a decade. Atkinson first began creating content at age fifteen and quickly discovered an interest in filmmaking. Atkinson has honed his talents both on and off camera by diving into all aspects of film production. His past projects include Closed, Learning Curve, and A Couple of Good Times. He also worked as the cinematographer/editor for Before Summer Ends, and currently serves as a co-director/cinematographer for Six Carolino’s Gauntlet Run short film series. He operates under the production company Bedrock Productions, alongside his creative partners Dalton Sides and Jesse Hearn. Their most recent project is Interview with a Dead Man, which Atkinson wrote and directed. Atkinson and his team hope to continue producing passion projects under the Bedrock banner.
Director: Arnold Edwards II
Running Time: 13:57 min
Two suicidal people find company with one another.
Director Bio: Native Memphian, Arnold Edwards II writes-directs-produces independent films in his home city: one of the predominant Independent Film cities in the country. His education includes a BA in Psychology from the University of Memphis and training in various areas of film and acting. Arnold is one of the founding members of the Memphis-based scriptwriting group: Write Club. In 2007 he started the independent film production company Cowboy-Up Productions, which became re-branded as HeroShot Productions later in 2011.
His writing-producing-directing work includes Curbside Confessions (feature), Journeymen (short), Cherry Blossom (short), as well as numerous music videos for Memphis area bands. His most recent work includes Wayward Son (short), which was accepted in the 2018 Memphis Film Prize and Indie Memphis Film Festival, and PAGES (short) which was recently accepted by the 2019 Memphis Film Prize. He is currently a film mentor with the Grizzlies Foundation CrewUp Program, a program that pairs accomplished filmmakers with teens aspiring to become filmmakers. When not working HeroShot Productions project, Arnold volunteers with various film-related groups, assisting fellow filmmakers with their productions and scriptwriting.
Director: Jaron S. Lockridge
Running Time: 14:58 min
Two men go on a drive during which one of them is dead set on completing a series of bizarre tasks.
Director Bio: Jaron Lockridge developed an interest in filmmaking at a young age, writing his first stage play for his high school’s spring theater production as a sophomore. He wrote and filmed his first short film project in 2009 and has since produced numerous short films, two self-financed feature films and a 7 episode tv series titled “The Stix”, now streaming on Amazon.
A self-proclaimed “guerilla filmmaker”, Jaron’s strength lies in getting films made with skeleton crews and zero budgets yet providing a quality you wouldn’t expect from such circumstances. After starting his media company, Misguided Perceptions Media Group, his goals are to build and invest in the Memphis area, independent of Hollywood.
A NIGHT OUT
Director: Kevin Brooks
Running Time: 12:30 min
A woman goes for a night out following a difficult breakup.
Director Bio: Kevin Brooks is a 25-year-old award-winning filmmaker from Memphis, TN. He graduated from the University of Memphis in 2016 with a degree in Film/TV Production. He also was granted with the Creative Dean’s Achievement award within the Film Program. In 2016 he was selected as one of the top five filmmakers from around the world and flown out to be part of the Sundance Ignite Program which is an elite program for the top upcoming filmmakers from different parts of the world. After being apart of the Sundance Ignite Program, he then got accepted to be part of NFFTY two years in a row, which is a film festival that is also for upcoming filmmakers within the age of 18-24. In 2017, Kevin was selected as a semi-finalist for the Warner Bros Director’s Workshop. Kevin Brooks is also the youngest member to ever hold a position on the film commission board. In 2018 Kevin Brooks received the prestigious Young Alumnus Award and was the youngest to ever receive the award at the age of 24. Kevin Brook’s main goal with filmmaking is to tell stories that are compelling, insightful, and entertaining. His main objective is to make films that are going to push society forward.
Director: Clint Till
Running Time: 7:35 min
The mediocre retirement home food is not satisfying for a very hungry Reverend.
Director Bio: Clint Till is a cinematographer, director, and editor from Birmingham, Alabama who has over 20 short narrative and non-narrative films on his filmography.
His interest in filmmaking began at the age of seven when an advertising agency and production crew shot a Red Cross PSA in his family’s backyard. He was fascinated by the process.
Then, when he was nine, Clint’s dad brought home a VHS camcorder. It was at that moment that Clint began experimenting, recruiting friends from the neighborhood to make their own short movies. Over the next few years, Clint watched his favorite films more closely and imitated with his own camera what he had seen on screen, teaching himself the basics along the way. Throughout high school and college, Clint spent his summers as a production assistant and intern for various commercial crews while continuing to pursue his own projects. He entered an annual faith-based student short film competition during those years and finished in the Top 3 for eight consecutive years.
Clint graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in Broadcast Production and immediately began freelancing on various commercial and feature film crews. While not working on other production company projects, he worked directly with some of his own clientele, producing local commercials and long-form promotional videos.
Clint has now been in the video production and post-production industry for 20 years and has produced dozens of long-form videos, short documentaries, and commercials. Those who have worked with Clint respect him for his creativity, cinematic visual style, strong storytelling techniques, and professional attitude. His commercial and corporate work has earned recognition from the Telly Awards, The Videographer Awards, and The DV Awards.
Director: Will Robbins
Running Time: 9:25 min
In a world where the descendants of slave-owners have to pay more than money for reparations, a friendship is torn.
Director Bio: A filmmaker, father, and husband hailing from Nashville, Tennessee, Will Robbins developed his love of film after being bitten by the acting bug first. Shooting wedding films confirmed his passion for the art form.
Since January 2014, he has shot and directed over 10 narrative short films, collecting multiple laurels and awards including Best Hometowner Narrative Short for MINORITY (Indie Memphis, 2018) and Top 10 for Memphis Film Prize (2016-2019) for DRIVEN, MINORITY and MEA CULPA. Celebrated filmmaker, David E. Talbert, — who also confirmed that Will has an “eye for cinema” with his projects joins a chorus of others who describe his work as heartwarming, heavy and beautiful.
WITHOUT A ROOF
Director: Lauren Cox
Running Time: 6:48 min
A pregnant woman resorts to living on the streets in order to escape an abusive household.
Director Bio: Lauren Cox is an American film director, producer, screenwriter, and actor. She spent twenty years as a stage actor in Memphis, TN, before transitioning her acting career to film. While working in Los Angeles, Lauren discovered her love for screenwriting, which led her to create her own films. She is now the owner of Trail House Pictures and is proud to present “Without A Roof” as her director’s debut.
LIFE AFTER DEATH
Director: Noah Glenn
Running Time: 14:41 min
It becomes apparent that not all dead people are actually dead.
Director Bio: Noah Glenn is a director, producer, audio engineer, musician, and writer. He has produced and scored several short films, in addition to his own narrative and documentary shorts. Noah got his start creating web-based short docs for Choose901, a website highlighting the people and culture of Memphis, which he also helped found. He now operates his own creative studio, Perpetual Motion, which is focused on brand story videos and motion design. His video work has won awards from the American Advertising Federation and Adobe Creative Jam. He lives in Midtown Memphis with his wife, designer Lindsey Glenn, and their two daughters. When he’s not working, Noah enjoys way too many hobbies, including bike riding, coffee roasting, and songwriting.
Super Take! (2019) – music performance web series – director, producer
Electromatic (2016) – Narrative Short Film – writer, director
A New Ballet (2016) – Documentary Short Film – director, editor, composer
Gumball (2013) – Narrative Short Film – producer, composer
Soul Man (2019) – Narrative Short Film – audio
Without a Roof (2019) – Narrative Short Film – audio
Backbeat Memphis (2009-2010) – web series – producer, audio
TRUTH LIES UPSTREAM
Director: Robb Rokk
Running Time: 15:00 min
Two men search for justice through a brutal interrogation.
Director Bio: Writer and director, Robb Rokk (aka Robb Smith) is a filmmaker and visual artist who, in 2016, founded the not-for-profit, DeSoto Arts Institute, in Southaven, where he teaches weekly classes in acting and all aspects of filmmaking. Robb has produced film, music videos, web design, commercials, and corporate videos for over a decade featuring creative motion graphics, invisible VFX, and cinematic camera work.
Robb and DAI’s mission is to provide exposure, education, and hands-on experience in the arts to anyone and everyone interested. Working from DAI Studios, Robb and DAI’s last four films have made the top ten cut in the Memphis Film Prize with 2018’s Outside Arcadia screening and winning awards in more than 30 festivals around the world.
In addition to choosing your favorite film, you get to weigh in on the acting. Here are the actors in the running for Best Performance:
Festival passes are $30. Other festival events include the Fimmaker Red Carpet, a Filmmaker Toast where you can get to know them over tequila, live filmmaker interviews, and a Prize Wrap Party after screenings finish on Saturday. The winner will be announced in a private ceremony on Sunday.