This year’s Indie Memphis Film Festival will again offer a slate of programming tied to the concept of innovation and include guest speakers such as the president of the multimedia news organization The Onion, as well as presentations that complement the festival’s film offerings.
“If we’re conscious of how we tell stories, through different techniques and different media, this is what I think allows us to be creative, to create new ideas and innovate in new ways.”
Building on the festival’s inaugural innovation programming last year, this year’s innovation offerings will focus on “The Art and Science of Storytelling.” And the innovation events – which will take place at Playhouse on the Square – are free, thanks to the Hohenberg Foundation.
The four-day festival, which has been ranked as one of the “25 Coolest Film Festivals” by “MovieMaker” magazine, will be held Oct. 31 to Nov. 3, and Duncan-Williams Inc. is the sponsor of the festival, which is now in its 16th year.
“Storytelling is the common element that unites only all the communication and entertainment disciplines – things like filmmaking and writing and journalism and online media,” said Indie Memphis board president Iddo Patt. “Storytelling is a key part of those, but storytelling looked at more broadly is the way all of us understand the world. We tell ourselves stories. If we’re conscious of how we tell stories, through different techniques and different media, this is what I think allows us to be creative, to create new ideas and innovate in new ways. That’s why it made sense as a theme for us this year.”
Participants in the innovation programming include Mike McAvoy, president of Onion Inc., who will discuss the satirical news organization’s variety of satire, entertainment news and branded content channels on Nov. 1. Also that day, Michael Shiloh, community liaison at Arduino, will make a presentation.
Arduino is a company that combines open-source technology and art to create interactive objects and environments.
The following day, Nov. 2, a group of filmmakers, historians and technologists will talk about ways to make more than 1 million photos of the Ernest Withers Archive accessible over the Web. Also that day, a forum with Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital will be held to focus on new approaches to the epidemic of childhood obesity.
The Le Bonheur event will include a discussion on storytelling as a way to help change culture, along with experts on leveraging things like big data, in the fight against childhood obesity. Participants will include Dr. Jonathan McCullers, Pediatrician-in-Chief at Le Bonheur; Dr. Joan Han, director of the Le Bonheur Healthy Lifestyles Program; and filmmaker Alison Bagnall.
Rounding out that day will be Grantland writer Rembert Browne presenting the 80s video “War of the Stars,” which shows Michael Jordan facing off against Charlie and Martin Sheen in a basketball contest.
About Indie Memphis more broadly, this year the festival will include more than 45 feature films. There will be $6,000 in cash awards and prizes given out, along with award sculptures designed by local artist Yvonne Bobo, and films will be screened at Playhouse on the Square, Circuit Playhouse and at Malco Theatre’s Studio on the Square.
Special guests scheduled to appear during the festival include actor Harry Lennix, who can be seen on NBC’s current show “The Blacklist,” and horror film director Ti West.