Indie Memphis Festival Gets a Tech Feel

By Andy Meek

Based on a lineup the nonprofit organization released, this year’s Indie Memphis Film Festival will feel a lot like the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas.

It’s a reflection of the digital convergence of film, music and interactive media. Adding a kind of innovation and technology focus to the festival is something organizers have wanted to add for a while, according to Indie Memphis board president Iddo Patt.

Now it’s here. For the 15th annual festival, which happens Nov. 1-4 and is presented by Duncan-Williams Inc., the festival has added new innovation and technology events on topics that range from design trends to digital storytelling, data management and the innovation economy.

That’s in addition to screening the independent films and showcasing musical acts that are a staple of the event.

“When Kevin Mireles of FedEx approached us this summer with an idea for how to get it done in time for this year’s festival, we jumped at the chance,” Patt said.

Speakers presenting during this year’s festival will come from major companies like FedEx, Microsoft and Google. The festival will take place in Overton Square, with sessions held at Playhouse on the Square, Studio on the Square and Circuit Playhouse.

“With the help of FedEx, Microsoft and LaunchYourCity, we’ve been able to put together a concentrated program that would be the envy of any media and technology conference and will be a springboard to engaging the entire community in the creativity and innovation that are part of the soul of Memphis,” Patt said.

The new events at this year’s festival include:

Nov. 1: Microsoft Experience Center and Windows 8 Boot Camp with hands-on opportunities with some of their newest technologies and products.

Nov. 2: “Creative Conversations,” a series of panels focused on innovation, digital storytelling and innovation economy with FedEx CIO, Rob Carter; Google’s head of strategic planning, agency development, Abigail Posner; Digitas vice president of brand content, Eric Korsh; and BBDO chairman and chief creative officer, David Lubars. Also a session will discuss inclusive innovation with speakers that include Kimberly Bryant (Black Girls Code), FedEx’s Sherry Aaholm and Microsoft’s John Daly.

Nov. 1-4: LaunchMemphis 48 Hour Hack where developers and diverse professionals will work with the Windows 8 App to build apps, video games and Web tools over the course of a single weekend.

In other festival news, fans got an advance peek at what’s in store this week at a party on Beale Street Thursday, Oct. 4, hosted by filmmaker Craig Brewer.

The festival also got a new director of operations in recent weeks. Mandy McBroom will oversee festival operations, shorts programming, volunteer opportunities and membership growth.