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Indie Memphis gets $10,000 grant

Indie Memphis was awarded a $10,000 grant by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the organization that presents the Academy Awards.

Indie Memphis Executive Director Erik Jambor said the grant will be used to bring filmmakers to town whose movies are in competition in the festival, for question-and-answer sessions and other similar events.

Read John Beifuss' story on the grant in The Commercial Appeal here



Nov. 3 - Commission-assisted film gets Oscar talk

"Already hyped as a Best Documentary Feature Oscar nominee for 2012, 'Undefeated' is set for national release in February. Memphians, however, will have a chance to see the film Thursday, when it has its local premiere on the opening night of the 14th annual Indie Memphis Film Festival."

This is from John Beifuss' story in The Commercial Appeal (see it here) on the documentary shot here with assistance from the Memphis & Shelby County Film and Television Commission.

There are two compelling stories here. The main one is about the extraordinary events with the Manassas High School football team and volunteers that the documentary chronicles. The other is about the making of the film and how it has garnered so much attention.

Beifuss writes: "Like the Manassas High School football players and adult volunteers in the movie, who helped the beleaguered school try to break its 110-year playoff jinx, the filmmakers responsible for 'Undefeated' found themselves inside an unexpected and even inspiring story line when their risky, unheralded documentary became one of the hits of the festival season. 'Undefeated' not only earned standing ovations, but it sold in a reported 'seven-figure deal' to The Weinstein Company, canny distributor of such movies as 'The King's Speech' and 'Inglourious Basterds.' "

Read all about it here, and make plans to attend the Indie Memphis Film Festival screening at 6:30 p.m. Thursday (Nov. 3) at Playhouse on the Square, 66 S. Cooper.

This is the festival's opening night gala, with an opening reception in the lobby at 5:30 p.m. Filmmakers and some people in the film will attend and do a Q&A after the screening. Tickets are $15, available at



Nov. 4 - Commission a sponsor in Willy Bearden honor

Dean Richard R. Ranta and the University of Memphis College of Communication and Fine Arts Advisory Board cordially invite you to join in celebrating acclaimed Memphis author and filmmaker William "Willy" Bearden for the 2011 Distinguished Achievement Award in the Creative and Performing Arts.

The Distinguished Achievement Award, established in 1979 in memory of Elvis Presley, recognizes outstanding career achievement and contributions by artists associated with Memphis and the Mid-South.

The award luncheon will be held Friday, Nov. 4, at 11:30 a.m. at the Rendezvous restaurant. Reservations are required. Tickets are $50 per person or $400 for a table of 8. For ticket information, call 678-5086 or 678-4372. Tickets are available online here. Please RSVP by Friday, October 28.

As a filmmaker, Bearden may be best known for his popular Memphis Memoirs series about local history. His films "Overton Park: A Century of Change," "Elmwood: Reflections of Memphis," and "Playing for a Piece of the Door: A History of Garage Bands in Memphis" continue to draw viewers when they air on public television.

His first feature film was "One Came Home," set in Mississippi just after World War II. The critically acclaimed film tells the story of a con artist who preys on a Mississippi family by posing as a wartime friend of the family’s son, who was killed in action in Europe.

Bearden produces commercials, educational and corporate films for such clients as the Blues Foundation, the Cotton Museum, the Elvis Presley Birthplace Museum, FedEx, the West Clinic, and the Memphis Wonders Series. He also is an event producer, staging productions like the annual W.C. Handy Blues Music Awards.

Bearden has also served as chairperson and presenter for the U of M’s popular annual “The Delta – Everything Southern!” conference.

This celebration is made possible by the Memphis & Shelby County Film and Television Commission, the Memphis Music Foundation, Carol and Mike Palazola, Elvis Presley Charitable Foundation, FedEx Corporation and Sam Phillips Recording/Knox Music Inc.



Oct. 27 - AFFT Memphis Membership Meeting

The Association for the Future of Film and Television in Tennessee is having its annual Memphis membership meeting Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. at Dean Film & Video, 6695 Fletcher Creek Cove.

AFFT is a statewide group working to attract more film and video business to Tennessee.

The status of incentives legislation will be among topics discussed by AFFT Executive Director Jan Austin. Please go here for more information and to RSVP.

Non-members are welcome to join at the door by paying an annual AFFT membership fee of $25.  AFFT is a grass-roots coalition of actors, filmmakers, production crew, audio and video post-production technicians and talent, and other industry professionals from across the state.



Oct. 22 - FuelFilm:Memphis workshop with David Bennett

Former State Film Commissioner David Bennett will share the bounty of his experience with FuelFilm:Memphis’ guests at the upcoming workshop, “Making Your Package”, Saturday, October 22 from 1-4 pm at Emerge Memphis, 516 Tennessee St., Memphis, TN.

The Memphis & Shelby County Film and Television Commission is sponsoring the event being put on by the nonprofit FuelFilm:Memphis.

The workshop will take filmmakers through the rigors of assembling a business plan to present to prospective investors.

As Tennessee Film, Entertainment, and Music Commissioner under former Governor Phil Bredesen, Bennett was responsible for bringing feature films to all of Tennessee, including the Mid-South. He is also a past governor of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, MidSouth Chapter, and is currently chairman of its “Rising Star” Award. Since leaving the governor’s office, Bennett and his associated companies (including Altura Productions and Freewill Films) have created and produced independent and documentary films and music programming for the big and small screen.

FuelFilm was founded in 2009 for educating and empowering filmmakers in the MidSouth and is approaching the end of their second year agenda of workshops, lectures, panel discussions, and hands-on film projects. Attendees this year have learned the basics of filmmaking, including: elements of screenwriting, creating a short film, pitching story ideas, writing a synopsis of a project, and casting crew and actors. This final piece of the puzzle is intended to turn the creative minds toward the “business” of filmmaking.

FuelFilm:Memphis is grateful for the continuing support of the Memphis & Shelby County Film Commission and the tireless work of Commissioner Linn Sitler. We appreciate the sponsorship of the Memphis Economic Development, and The Peabody Hotel. We remain perpetually indebted to our “parent” organization, LaunchMemphis; together, we are growing filmmaking as the “business” of entertainment in the MidSouth!

You don’t have to be a filmmaker to benefit from this workshop. For the $10 entry fee, you can learn from industry professionals, make new contacts, connect with local filmmakers on current and upcoming projects, and walk away with a feasible business plan. (Register in advance on EventBrite, or pay at the door. NOTE: a limited number of discounted student tickets are available, with student ID.) Don’t miss David Bennett’s lecture and workshop, “Making Your Package.”


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