Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Where to find out about auditions

Rod Azner from Live From Memphis has started an Auditions page where actors and performers can find a list of performances auditions.

He says: The goal is to help performers find out as much information on all performances going on in Memphis from dance to theatre to film to anything.  I think it'll broaden each performer's repertoire and let them try new areas of performance.

I also think that this'll give those who hold auditions a broader scope of talent.  And also it'll hopefully tap into those performers who haven't tried another genre.

Ultimately it'll no longer give people an excuse not to try out.  In no way shape or form are we trying to "take over" auditions but more like to give everyone the chance to find good talent, from our largest company to the unknown filmmaker to street performers.

My favor I ask is that when you're having an audition shoot me an email and let me know.  We'll handle it from there. Whether that be a full detailed email or just a heads up to check out your auditions page.  There are a LOT of people and organizations that hold auditions in Memphis and we'd like for everyone's voice to be heard.

Rock On,

Rod Azner
Live From Memphis

Running Pony Wins 2 CINE Golden Eagle Awards

Video production company Running Pony Productions has won two CINE Golden Eagle Awards, recognized as a mark of excellence in the film and TV industry for more than 50 years.

“I Am a Man,” a documentary produced in conjunction with Old Bridge Media for the Memphis Tourism Foundation, was a winner in the History category. “Gotta Get to Memphis,” a video produced for the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau, was a winner in the Sales & Promotions category. A complete list of winners is here.

The CINE Golden Eagle Awards, conducted by a multi-stage jury process, functions much like academic or scientific peer reviews.  More than 400 jurors nationwide screen hundreds of productions entered into each competition cycle. The competition’s criteria state that “a production worthy of a CINE Golden Eagle will be clear, concise and innovative in its structure and writing, with strong visuals, sound elements, and editing. The production must also prove that it has communicated appropriately to its intended audience. Finally, a Golden Eagle Award-winning production must demonstrate an overall excellence that separates it from productions similar in content, genre or style.”

Running Pony Productions offers communication services including corporate image videos, sales and marketing presentations, video news releases, media training, commercials and public service announcements.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Sunday audition times

Regarding the previous posting -- the Sunday casting session will take place 1:00 - 5:00 pm at:
BancorpSouth Sports Center
3335 Pine Tar Alley
Southaven, MS 38672
(662) 890-7275

Monday, December 7, 2009

Auditions this weekend

Miles To Go Productions will be holding auditions for their latest project, Lost Lyric.

Lost Lyric is the story of a young girl who, after witnessing the murder of her younger sister during a holdup at he father's business, begins to be able to see and talk with "the other side".

Her parents are concerned that there is something seriously wrong with her and take her to see a therapist. The therapist discovers that Lyric has indeed acquired a very special talent and that it is very real. Even though others think she is suffering from emotional trauma, Lyric sees that there are possibilities to do good things with her newly found gift..

We have several roles available. Here is the cast list.

Lyric Joslyn
Age Range : 14-17
Personality: Emotionally detached, sweet, caring, needs to cry on cue
Bio: Protagonist

Dr. Nichols
Gender: male
Age Range : 40+
Personality: Philosophical,
Bio: A psychiatrist

Maggie Joslyn
Age Range : 7-10
Personality: Sweet
Bio: Lyric’s younger sister

Age Range : 25+
Personality: desperate, cold blooded
Bio: Robber

Don Joslyn
Age Range : 37+
Personality: Emotionally detached, short fits of anger caused from depression,
Bio: Lyric’s father.

Joan Joslyn
Age Range : 35+
Personality: Protective, peacemaker
Bio: Lyric’s mother.

Mrs. Thompson
Age Range : 35+
Personality: Excited, Bubbly
Bio: Mother of Lyric’s friends

Clare Thompson
Age Range : 14-17
Personality: concerned, caring
Bio: Lyric’s friend

Age Range : 14-17
Personality: Spoiled, Cynical
Bio: Lyrics friend

Dr. Rossi
Gender: female
Age Range : 30+
Personality: Understanding,
Bio: Lyric’s second psychiatrist

Mrs. Williams
Age Range : 70+
Personality: Easily confused,
Bio: Elderly customer of the Joslyn business

Steven Williams
Age Range : 40+
Personality: outgoing
Bio: Mrs. William’s son

David Williams
Age Range : 40+
Personality: reserved
Bio: Mrs. William’s son

Robbie Andrews
Age Range : 7-10
Personality: void of emotion, frightened, needs to act with limited dialogue,
Bio: Missing child

Sheriff Ellis
Age Range : 40+
Personality: gruff but caring
Bio: Sheriff of the small town Lyric lives in

Age Range : early 20’s
Personality: upbeat
Bio: Sheriff Ellis’ deputy

Lakeside Murderer
Age Range : 25-50
Personality: cold blooded
Bio: Murderer

Some scenes will require background extras, and should this project go further than four episodes we will need to fill roles not yet written. Should you read the above information and not see a role that is right for you, but would like to introduce yourself to Miles to Go Productions, we strongly encourage you to participate in the casting call.

Due to our limited budget, these are non-paying roles.

We will begin shooting in late December and plan to shoot through January,2010.

Please bring a headshot and resume, sides will be provided. The auditions will be held on Saturday December 12 and Sunday, December 13

The Saturday auditions will be held at Germantown Community Theatre from 4-7pm.

The Sunday auditions will be held in Southaven, Ms  at a time and location to be decided later.

We look forward to seeing everyone there.

Ray Noland and Michael Crohan

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Casting call for 12-16 year old girls Saturday: Coen Brothers film

From John Beifuss's story in GoMemphis:
The Coen Brothers — the Academy Award-winning filmmakers responsible for such modern classics as “No Country for Old Men,” “Fargo” and “The Big Lebowski” — are looking for a Memphis girl with “steely nerves,” a “straightforward manner” and, yes, true grit.
An open casting call will be held from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday at the East Memphis Hilton at 939 Ridge Lake Blvd. for the potentially star-making role of spunky young Mattie Ross, a lead character in the Coens’ upcoming remake of the famous 1969 Western, “True Grit.”

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

AFFT letter to the editor on incentives

The following letter from Jan Austin was printed today in The Tennessean. 

State is losing out on film projects

There has been considerable local and national publicity about the feature film "The Blind Side" starring Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw and even UT’s Phil Fulmer.

Sadly for Tennessee, however, the production of this touching true story from Memphis never spent a minute shooting in Tennessee. Why? The answer is simple. The state of Georgia offers film and television incentives that render Tennessee’s recruitment efforts useless.

"The Blind Side" was shot in Georgia while Tennessee’s crew base sat idly by or made efforts to land work elsewhere in the country. This isn’t the first loss of this kind for the state. The list is growing longer by the month.

Yes, Tennessee has film and television incentives. Unfortunately, they are temporary and uncompetitive. Nearly every state bordering Tennessee (not to mention the rest of the country) has now embraced robust incentive packages in an effort to recruit film and television projects to their states. 

What do they know that we haven’t learned yet? The answer to that is simple, as well. Film and television projects bring a huge infusion of capital into the communities they select and people are put to work.

It was painful knowing that a red carpet screening of "The Blind Side" was held in Nashville even though the tremendous pool of talent in our state had no part in the making of it.

Jan Austin, 
Executive Director, Association for the Future of Film and Television in Tennessee

Friday, November 20, 2009

Auditions Saturday for local indie short




November 21, 2009 

Java Co (Cafe')'
3133 Forest Hill Irene
Germantown, TN
3:00pm - 6:00pm

This short film portrays a southern man from Louisiana that struggles through life with a wonderful heart that just didn't want to work. Aaron Childers played the piano most of his life, till his health wouldn't allow him to do so anymore.

“In his long life Aaron Childers suffered from diabetes, six heart attacks, numerous bypass surgeries, three strokes, and one in which he had during a house fire. He was also a prostate cancer survivor. I didn’t write this to remember how sick he was, yet to recap moments with my favorite musician of all time, my Daddy.”- Nora Childers

AARON CHILDERS: Caucasian / Mature Male (50+)
-southern / laid back / rough neck looking

YOUNG NORA: Caucasian / Girl (age 9)
-Blonde hair blue eyed Daddy's girl. / Not at all shy

Hotel Worker / Male (18+)
-Serious look to the face / Shy / Clumsy

Paramedic / Male (30+)
-Stern / Gets the job done attitude / Athletic

Nurse / Woman (30+)
-Stern / Gets the job done attitude 

If none of the above roles fit your persona, that is okay. WE NEED EXTRAS!

NOTE: Be prepared to speak a monologue (memorization isn't needed) You may perform your own.

NOTE: If you are auditioning for a specific role. The monologue that you bring must be similar to the description of the character.



Wednesday, November 18, 2009

New Initiative Launches to Help Finance Memphis Independent Films

 “Do what you love and you'll never
work a day in your life.”  That phrase represents one of the
influences for filmmakers and a new non-profit organization whose goal
is to promote the Memphis independent film industry by connecting
filmmakers with investors.  Fuel Film Memphis, powered by Launch
Memphis, recognized a void when it came to Memphis filmmakers doing
what they loved but also having to pay the bills.  As a result, they
are holding an open conversation about entrepreneurship and
filmmaking, Thursday, November 19, 2009 at Otherlands Café at 7:30

The event, called "Film Storm: Creative Conversations about
Entrepreneurship and Independent Film," which is being sponsored by
the Memphis Film Commission, will consist of a brainstorming session
on the development, funding and marketing of independent films in
today's marketplace.   Fuel Film recognized that although the digital
revolution greatly decreased the cost of producing a film, to have a
successful and sustainable career in filmmaking, cash is still king.

“The problem is not the lack of ideas or creativity,” says Matt
Beickert, one of the founders of Fuel Film, “the problem is a lack of
funding options to not only produce a film, but to actually promote

An independent film movement has definitely been brewing for many
years.  The days that film producers wait to be picked up by a
distributor and give away all of their rights with minuscule profits,
if any, are slowly fading away.  They are looking outside of Hollywood
for solutions, reaching their core audiences in unconventional ways
via the Internet and word of mouth.  They are also looking for
financing outside of the very closed Hollywood system.

Fuel Film, powered by Launch Memphis, is a new initiative engaged in
promoting growth of the Memphis film industry through education of
Filmmakers, Producers, and Investors.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Crucible auditions (for theater)

November 28th at 10:00am. AND November 29th at 2pm, Harrell Theatre 440 W. Powell Rd., Collierville, TN 38017 Callbacks TBA (Please note that if you are unable to make these dates and times please contact Amy to schedule another audition time).

Please prepare a 2 min contemporary monologue (either from The Crucible or a piece of your own choosing). It is highly recommended that you read or re-read The Crucible to familiarize yourself with the play before your audition. You may be asked to do a small excerpt from the play. 

This is a cold reading chosen by the director; however, I do suggest familiarizing yourself with some of the most significant speeches. 

Please bring a headshot and/or snapshot along with a performance resume to your audition. 

Below is a list of characters (all roles are open):

Elizabeth Proctor - Supremely virtuous, god-fearing wife of John Proctor, can be cold and unaffectionate but loyal.

Mrs Ann Putnam - Wife of Thomas Putnam, a very superstitious woman who believes that the deaths of her babies in childbirth was caused by supernatural means

Rebecca Nurse - Wife to Francis Nurse. She is a pious old woman who has often acted as a midwife for women of the town, including Ann Putnam. 

Sarah Good - One of the accused. She admits to witchcraft to save herself from death.

Tituba - Servant to the Parris household. She is a native of Barbados. She is enlisted by the girls to cast spells and create charms. Tituba confesses to save herself.

Abigail Williams - Orphaned niece of Reverend Parris. She was once the lover of John Proctor but was turned out when his wife discovered the affair. She is extremely jealous of Elizabeth Proctor. She is the leader of the girls, manipulative and vengeful, and convincing.

Betty Parris - Parris's daughter, a weak girl who goes along with Abigail under threat and is easily manipulated.

Mary Warren - Servant to the Proctor household. She is persuaded by Proctor to expose the girls, but is not strong enough to fight Abigail and as soon as Abigail leads the other girls against her, Mary caves in.

Mercy Lewis - Servant to the Putnam household. She is a merciless girl who delights in the girls' activities. 

Susanna Walcott - One of the girls, easily guided by Abigail.

Ezekiel Cheever - He is the clerk of the court during the witchcraft trials. He delivers arrest warrants for the accused.

Francis Nurse - Husband to Rebecca Nurse. He is a respected man in the community but is ignored when he attempts to speak for his wife. 

Giles Corey - Elderly, feisty farmer, husband to Martha, he is arrested for contempt of court. He is eventually pressed to death when he refuses to enter a plea

Governor Danforth - Deputy Governor of Massachusetts. He is sensitive to the presence of the devil and reacts explosively to whatever evidence is presented.

John Proctor - Honest, upright, and blunt-spoken; a good man with a secret, fatal flaw. He had an affair with Abigail when she was employed in his household. He refuses to admit to witchcraft and is hanged.

Judge Hathorne - Judge in the Salem court, a man who is not easily persuaded, he needs absolute proof of innocence.

Reverend Parris - Pastor of the church in Salem. He is the father of Betty and the uncle of Abigail Williams. He believes that he is being persecuted and that the townspeople and believes if he cannot control his own household, he may not be trusted with an entire village. 

Reverend Hale - An expert on witchcraft, summoned to determine whether the devil is in Salem and enthusiastically participates in the court proceedings. He finally realizes that the girls are lying and attempts to convince the condemned to admit to witchcraft and save themselves from death.

Thomas Putnam - Husband of Ann Putnam, father to Ruth. He is a powerful and wealthy man in the village with a long family line. He is accused of coercing his daughter to accuse people, to gain their land.

Director: Amy Hanford; 
Stage Manager: Lindsay Mitchell

Performance dates: Feb. 19-28 (School matinee performances will possibly be added)-TBA

Please contact for more information or if you are unable to make the scheduled auditions.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Stage audition notice

Bartlett Theatre Company is pleased to announce AUDITIONS for the comedy, DEARLY BELOVED, directed by Ruth Johnson.

2 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 14
6 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 15

7 p.m., Monday, Nov. 16

- One female 20s
- Three females 40s
- Three females 30-70
- One male 20s
- Three males 40-50s

Bartlett Performing Arts and Conference Center (BPACC)
3663 Appling Rd., 38133, one block south of Summer Ave.

8 p.m., Jan. 28, 29, 30; and 3 p.m., Jan. 31, 2010

Bartlett Theatre Company is a cooperative effort between members of Bartlett Community Theatre and the Bartlett Performing Arts and Conference Center. Past successes include Greater Tuna, The Odd Couple, Dearly Departed, and Catch Me If You Can. Performances are presented with the audience seated on stage in an intimate arena configuration.

Visit our web site for show info: (or) contact Greg Broy, producer, at bct@... or via Facebook.

A Tuna Christmas, directed by Ann Marie Hall, Dec. 17-20 at BPACC. Tickets $16 advance, $18 door, on sale Nov. 17. Reserved auditorium (off-stage) seating.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Extras needed

"The Grace Card," a faith-based film with Oscar-winner Louis Gossett Jr. that begins production in the Memphis area next week, is seeking African-American extras for a pair of big church scenes to be shot Oct. 17 and 24.
Interested parties should e-mail contact information to thegracecard@ or call 386-8988. Extras should be willing to be on set for six to eight hours.
"The Grace Card" is being directed by David Evans, writer-director of "Passion Play" productions at Cordova's Calvary Church of the Nazarene, the congregation that helped form Graceworks Pictures. The movie stars actor/comedian Michael Joiner as a bitter Memphis police officer forced to confront his racism when he's brought together with an African-American pastor-cop.

omg/hahaha on DVD

Jokingly dubbed the "Titanic" of the 2008 Indie Memphis Film Festival after it captured most of the event's major awards, Memphis moviemaker Morgan Jon Fox's feature "OMG/HaHaHa" arrives on DVD on Tuesday from Water Bearer Films.
The movie's title is Internet slang for the phrase "Oh my God," followed by laughter.
A tender and impressionistic film structured as a series of video blog entries and stream-of-consciousness vignettes about families, friends, lovers and loners in Midtown Memphis, "OMG/HaHaHa" was named best "Hometowner" feature (devoted to films produced by residents of Memphis and Shelby County), and also earned four other competitive and special awards at the 2008 festival.
The 2009 Indie Memphis Film Festival is underway, and ends on Thursday at Malco's Studio on the Square.
Water Bearer is a company that specializes in art and foreign films, with an emphasis on films with gay themes. Significant directors in the Water Bearer catalogue include Britain's Mike Leigh and Italy's Pier Paolo Pasolini.
A pioneer in local digital filmmaking who has served as a mentor to many younger artists, Fox in July was named one of "25 New Faces in Independent Film" by Filmmaker Magazine, which called Fox "the voice of the YouTube generation."

IM09: Tuesday's Flyer picks

The Memphis Flyer makes its choices for Tuesday here. Pick of the Day is Hometowner winner The Conversion. Doc pick is The Garden, features choices are Cory McAbee's amazing American Astronaut and Stingray Sam, local pick is Mark Jones' On the Edge of Happiness, shorts pick is A City to Yourself. Wild cards: Robyn Hitchcock and Shooting Robert King.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Casting: America's Most Wanted

Notice from LAX CASTING:

Please submit photo or headshot/resume to Angela Frederiksson at
if you fit any of the descriptions.  INCLUDE A phone number so we can get in touch with you.

Barreto Character Breakdown:
Main characters:
Janet Barreto: 38 yrs, 350-500lbs, white female. Janet is very lazy, manipulative, and violent with the children. She is a diabetic who doesn’t seem to care where she leaves her insulin needles, and doesn’t make cleanliness a priority. She runs a puppy mill and is a slum lord for a living, and adopts small children from Guatemala like some people collect records. She has very little patience with children, and makes her daughter Marainna care for the small adopted children on her own.
Ramon Barreto: 30s, 165lbs, Hispanic male. Like the song, Ramon apparently likes his women on the trashy side. He is skinny and mean, and instrumental in running the puppy mill business. He is accused of disciplining the children by putting hot peppers in their mouths to make them stop crying and dunking them in barrels of water until they pass out. Despite this harsh behavior, neighbors say he put on a good front. 
Marainna Torres: 17, white and Hispanic female, apprx. 200 lbs. Marainna is Janet’s daughter from a previous relationship, and bears a strong resemblance to her mother. She has been beaten by Janet since her father moved out when she was young and Ramon moved in. Janet basically uses Marainna as a servant and babysitter. She forced Marainna to quit school at age 16 to stay home permanently and take care of all the adopted children by herself. She lives in fear of her mother, and is forced to carry out her duties as the pressure and unhappiness in her builds to a breaking point.
Young Marainna: age 8, resemblance to older Marainna. Young Marainna is afraid of her mother, who beats her often.
Enna Barreto: 2, Hispanic female. Enna was adopted by the Barretos and brought to their home in New Albany, MS. The Barretos abused the poor little girl, and she was subsequently killed when Janet ordered Marainna to discipline the crying child and the teenager snapped. It was Enna’s death that started the investigation into the Barretos. 
Edwin Barreto: 3, Hispanic male. Edwin was also adopted from Guatemala by the Barretos and abused the same way as Enna. When he was recovered by DHS and police from the Barreto household, he immediately formed a special bond with the Chief Deputy Jimmy Edwards. Edwards says that Edwin “picked him” right away. Edwards and his wife began visiting Edwin in foster care, and fell in love with the little boy. Now, they have adopted Edwin into their happy family.
Other adopted children :
Celeste Barreto: 3, Hispanic female
Byron Barreto: 8, Hispanic male
Juan Barreto: 3, Hispanic male
Lucrecia: 2, Hispanic female
Luisa: 2, Hispanic female

IM09: The winners!

Edward Valibus Phillips accepts the award for Hometowner Feature for "The Conversion." Other members of the Corduroy Wednesday team are Ben Rednour (right) and Erik Morrison. At far left is Jimmie Tashie, filmlover, Malco exec and chair of the Memphis and Shelby County Film and TV Commission.

At a modestly rowdy awards ceremony (Elvis Mitchell chided the crowd for not being sufficiently inebriated), awards were handed out for Indie Memphis.

Read John Beifuss' story/blog in the CA here and here.

And Chris Herrington's story in the Memphis Flyer here.

Herrington also provides the Flyer's picks for Monday here.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

IM09: Photos from Saturday

Three cheers each to Nicki Newburger, Robin Salant and Tommy Kha for their continuing devotion to making a photo record of Indie Memphis. See their work on the Indie Memphis homepage, but here are a few Nicki took on Saturday:

Christopher Reyes and Sarah Fleming of Live From Memphis explain how it all works.

Filmmaker Dan Baker at the Filmmaking for the Web workshop.

Misti Rae Warren performs beautifully at the Festival Cafe.

Ben Rednour of Corduroy Wednesday and Christopher Reyes of Live From Memphis try to locate the power button.

Web filmmakers Edward Valibus Phillips, Joe Swanberg, Cory McAbee and Craig Brewer help the rest of us figure it out.

Corduroy Wednesday's Erik Morrison and Edward Valibus Phillips annoy some unidentified blogger.

IM09: Flyer picks today's best

Memphis Flyer film critic Chris Herrington and former New York Times
critic Elvis Mitchell at Saturday's workshop on the state of film criticism.

The Flyer serves up its Indie Memphis Sunday choices here, with The Hand of Fatima as pick of the day. Also: Easier with Practice is feature pick, Ghost Bird is documentary pick, Li'l Film Fest 11 (Musical Horror) is local pick and Nowhere Kids is shorts pick. Wildcard picks include Joe Swanberg's workshop on working with nonprofessional actors, plus the films St. Nick, Hair High and the documentary The Way We Get By. 

Thanks to Chris Herrington for this plug of Li'l Film Fest:
Local Pick: Li'l Film Fest 11: Musical Horror (5:30 p.m., Brooks Museum of Art)
Live From Memphis' Li'l Film Fest series is a very good thing. By giving local filmmakers a manageable task — creating a short film (roughly 5 minutes) on a set topic — the fest has helped to inspire and hone talent in the local scene, while also creating a setting to build the local filmmaking community. The latest Li'l Film Fest — with the promising theme "musical horror" — is being held alongside Indie Memphis. As always, a jury award will be matched by an audience award voted on by those in attendance. Among the notable names in local filmmaking presenting films: Geoffrey Brent Shrewsbury, Jon W. Sparks, HG Ray, and Adam Remsen.

And here's my summary of "The Way We Get By" that I wrote for the Indie Memphis program:

This documentary takes a sympathetic yet unwavering look at three senior citizens determined to maintain purposeful lives even in the face of personal adversity. The trio have assumed the demanding volunteer task of greeting troops coming through the airport at Bangor, Maine. This is no small chore as the airfield has been the departure and return point for hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops going to and coming from Iraq and Afghanistan. For Bill Knight, Joan Gaudet, and Jerry Mundy, this is something they simply must do at any hour of the day or night. Yet they have their own personal issues, such as health, financial problems and for Gaudet, the anxiety of having a granddaughter who will fly helicopters in Iraq. In examining the personal lives of these "troop greeters," documentarian Aaron Gaudet (the son of Joan Gaudet) shows that theaging population of America is tirelessly finding ways to sustain their own humanity, and to teach the rest of us by example.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

IM09: Alternate distribution

Craig Brewer at Indie Memphis 09

Craig Brewer  moderated Saturday afternoon's Cafe Conversation on Filmmaking for the Web with Cory McAbee (Stingray Sam, The American Astronaut), Edward Valibus Phillips (The Conversion) and Joe Swanberg Alexander the Last, Amateur Hour with Joe Swanberg).

The short take: If you thought you had to be creative to make a film, just wait'll you have to think about distribution.

Films are being made for screens of all sizes. "Stingray Sam," for example, was purposely designed to show on all formats -- theater screen to phone screen, full-length or episodic. 

"Young American Bodies" has shown that it's possible to be successful making films for the Web (more later about how "success" is defined).

And locally, "The Conversion" joins "$5 Cover" and "On the Edge of Happiness" as Webisode productions. 

McAbee on merchandising: We've always made music films and now there are different ways for people to hear music. We have these widgets and people can hear some songs from the soundtrack to listed to for free. We also have a making-of series, a kind of Webisode where every week there's a new three-minute documentary of the process of making the film. We have little packages of things you can get for Stingray Sam although someone had a idea for a package where you could get everything at once -- soundtrack, DVD, T-shirt, photo book and downloads. That's what most people are buying.

Swanberg on censorship:
I've been lucky. I first did a show for, an adult place. They had no restrictions. We sent the show and they put it on line. IFC, however, is owned by Rainbow Media Network and there is more concern. (Swanberg sent one show to them that included a scene that got their attention). … I got a call from IFC. "We can't put a shot of a woman spreading her legs like that," the guy said. I said, what do you want me to do, take it out? He said, yeah and I said OK, I'd like to put a censor bar over it. He said I couldn't, they were IFC and the slogan is "Always, Uncut." I said, if I remove this, I'm going to be vocal about it in interviews. They came back later and said I could keep it in. I had to fight the fight sometimes and be stubborn. I'm sure it will happen again as we push beyond their comfort level. It's more important to me to make the show I want to than to be on IFC. 

McAbee on technology:
In 1976, everything happened musically. Elvis died, there were the Sex Pistols, rap was beginning. Since then there have been no new genres. It used to be every generation's duty to not represent the one before, but the past two decades it's been reworking of these genres. What young people are doing new is embracing technology and consuming things in new and different ways. They're starting to dictate how they consume and create how they consume. 

Swanberg on presentation:
I'll keep creating for the Web. Anybody in world can go watch it. The other option is what someone like Crispin Glover is doing, no DVD, no bootleg and giving live presentations and charging cash. It makes it really difficult to see but it's an experience to see it. Every feature I've shot I've know will end as a DVD. But for small format, I emphasize closeups and bold solid colors and thinking about compression since they'll go on a two-inch screen.

McAbee on success:
Longevity -- if people want to watch for a long time, if, after five years, people are still interested.

Brewer on success:
When you open up the trade press or newspapers, they tell you who won the race over numbers, usually in the arts. Ask yourself if that is your meter. … You can't compete with a kitten getting a million views -- that's not good business. It's a longevity question. You establish your brand on your own terms. 

Phillips  on success: 
If you play on YouTube the thing is if you go viral. If you do, YouTube sends you an invitation for revenue sharing. And you get a banner and three cents a view.

IM09: Critics convene

John Beifuss sees his name spelled correctly

The panel "When Critics Converse," part of the Cafe Conversation series at Indie Memphis, brought together three film reviewers to discuss the state of film -- and critical -- arts. 

Elvis Mitchell (former critic for The New York Times), John Beifuss (The Commercial Appeal) and Chris Herrington (The Memphis Flyer) participated. Here are some excerpts:

Beifuss: The economy is so bad that everybody is pulling back. Studios don't want to spend the money to ship the prints to Memphis to have them viewed in advance and pay local rep to coordinate screenings. We used to have three or four a week and now it's more like one every two weeks. But you still get a chance to see art and indie films. That's one area where we have influence locally -- people may not have heard of a film until they read it in the local newspaper.

Mitchell: We're in an era of big budget films that studios don't show to anybody ahead of release. It's fascinating -- during a recession, more people want to be distracted and entertained than before and you'd think studios would spend some money, but they're retrenching.

Herrington: Studios want to control the message. More and more, marketing is taking over from criticism.

Mitchell: Fifteen years ago, critics drove that. In towns not in the top markets, people develop relationships with critics and want to know what they think. 

Beifuss: I like the idea of having a local critic writing for your audience. But I don't know if younger people don't really care because everything's online.

Herrington: The problem is not just with distributors and PR agencies. Sometimes good movies are left to die by exhibitors. 

Mitchell: The dirty little secret of newspapers is that the sports section is taken more seriously but entertainment offers most revenue. But a lot of ads went to TV around 2001 where they got a better bang for the buck.

Beifuss: If the Memphis movie scene hadn't blossomed I don't think I'd be writing movie reviews. If this film festival hadn't grown the way it has, if Craig Brewer hadn't emerged and other movies hadn't decided to shoot here, I wouldn't have the specialty of writing about movies.

Herrington: We're locally owned, so I have a lot of autonomy. I don't use wire reviews ever. I always assign them or write them myself, but I have limited space to only run one to three reviews. I don't worry about reviewing big commercial releases. We try to focus more on what we perceive as interesting movies. I lean in favor of what seems be good or can be helped by the review.

Mitchell: There are more movie screens than 10 years ago, but the paucity of movies in theaters is insane to me. There is money to be made. People want to see them.

Herrington: This theater (Malco Studio on the Square) is the only one in the core of the city. But there's so much residential construction that something has to be built. A 6- to 10-screen theater where there is residential growth should happen in the next 5 to 10 years, and free up more screens for indie/art films.

IM09 workshops/panels today

Very cool stuff:

Saturday, noon, Festival Cafe:

Get the ins and outs of The Film Festival Circuit with Chris Holland (Film Festival Secrets) and Heidi Van Lier (The Indie Film Rule Book), who will share years of accumulated knowledge and insight. Learn where and how to submit your film, and get advice on developing your own festival submission strategy.
Saturday, 1 p.m., Festival Cafe:
Join John Beifuss (The Commercial Appeal and The Bloodshot Eye), Chris Herrington (Memphis Flyer) and former New York Times film critic Elvis Mitchell (host of KCRW's The Treatment) to see what happens When Critics Converse. Learn about the changes that the advent of the Internet has brought to the profession and hear about their personal experiences, perspectives and observations -- and find out why they connect with the films they love best (maybe).
Saturday, 2 p.m., Festival Cafe:
Craig Brewer ($5 Cover) moderates this Cafe Conversation on Filmmaking for the Web with Cory McAbee (Stingray Sam, The American Astronaut), Edward Valibus Phillips (The Conversion) and Joe Swanberg Alexander the Last, Amateur Hour with Joe Swanberg) to discuss the latest trend in independent filmmaking.
Saturday, 3 p.m., Festival Cafe:
Got a question about indie filmmaking? Need to find out what's wrong with your film -- and what's right? Ask Heidi Van Lier, author of The Indie Film Rule Book and the "Indie Film Q & A with Heidi Van Lier" blog for Film Independent. Heidi advises 10-20 filmmakers a year, speaks at colleges and on film festival panels (like this one!), and programs the Slamdance Film Festival. Her first feature, Chi Girl won the Slamdance's Grand Jury Prize in 1999 and sold to IFC Films. Her second feature Monday, will be released soon digitally through Cinetic Rights Management. She is just finishing her third feature, American Decaf, which will hit the festival circuit in 2010.

Breakfast with Memphis Cool Movies

This morning, 10 to noon. Bagels, coffee and filmmakers, sponsored by this blog. Come to the tent at Indie Memphis and enjoy. Guaranteed no rain!

The Flyer's daily picks and guide is here. Chris Herrington likes Pontypool and Zombie Girl as well as The American Astronaut and Strongman. Also noteworthy: The Music Video Showcase at 7:30 p.m.

Friday, October 9, 2009

IM09: Friday and some updates

Indie Memphis is underway with a couple of changes already:

-- The outdoor screenings scheduled for today have been put off due to rain. Look for a resked.

-- Saturday’s free Savage County Sneak has been canceled. Hope springs eternal for a rescheduled event after the festival.

IM09 media wrapup:

The Memphis Flyer's daily picks are here. (Alexander the Last, Stingray Sam, Sweethearts of the Rodeo, Kentucker Audley screening, Jennifer -- wildcard picks are Flipside Memphis and Paranormal Activity)

The Flyer has a general story here and an interview with director Scott Teems of the featured "That Evening Sun" here. The Flyer's print edition also has a pullout section on the festival.

The CA's GoMemphis section has Indie Memphis info. John Beifuss writes about sci-fi westerns here and Bob Mehr writes about Robyn Hitchcock here. Beifuss also has a video report here (go to Featured Videos).

Tonight's Craig Brewer special Paranormal Activity is sold out or nearly so. The last minute addition (reviewed here in the New York Times) might or might not get another screening at some point. If you didn't get tix for tonight's show, keep your antenna up.

Also, follow IM09 on Twitter here: #im09 and be looking for Rachel "@RachelandtheCity" Hurley's posts along with @Indiememphis, @mybrewtube, @jonwsparks, @skeletonkey, @ilovememphis, @valibus, @artsmemphis.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

IM09: Opening Night

Erik Jambor and Les Edwards TCB @ IM09

Indie Memphis director Erik Jambor was prostrate on the floor in the lobby of Studio on the Square. Nothing was wrong, it was just a long haul to this moment when the opening night's screenings had finally gotten underway. In fact, he was pretty pleased with the way things were going.

"We're thrilled with the great turnout," he said. "It's a great crowd in the hospitality tent and the rain held off."

At about 8 p.m., Erik and Les Edwards, a producer and long-time fixture of Indie Memphis, were on their phones and huddled over a laptop, smoothing wrinkles and keeping things moving ahead, toward the post-screening Q&As, the after party and then six more days of glorious film.

The festival volunteers were deftly taking care of business with good humor and making sure filmmakers got wrangled, members were tended to, tickets were distributed and merch sold.

All in the name of bringing a singular cinematic experience to town.

"It's important for us to highlight Robert King and do the tie-in with the exhibition last night and the film tonight," Erik said. King is a Memphis photographer who has spent his life taking pictures in war zones such as Iraq and Bosnia. The documentary of King by British filmmakers Richard Parry and Vaughan Smith was featured Thursday night and an exhibit of King's photos opened Wednesday at Marshall Arts.

Among those there to see "Shooting Robert King" or the feature "That Evening Sun" were Jimmie and Nancy Tashie, Linn Sitler, Hunter Deusing, Haley Giles, Elvis Mitchell, Sarah Fleming, J. Lazarus Hawk, Craig Brewer, Erin Hagee, Mark Jones, Don Meyers, Matt Beickert, Tommy Kha and Robin Salant.

And so was the terrific character actor Barry Corbin who stars in "That Evening Sun." "He hasn't seen the film yet," said Erik, "so that's why he's here, as are some of Dixie Carter's friends. So it's a special evening."

I'll buy your breakfast

Yes, I'll buy your breakfast and maybe I'll drink your milkshake, too.

This weekend's discussions/networking/panels/workshops at IM09 offer hours of info, experience and maybe an epiphany or two for film makers and the people who love them.

And yes, Memphis Cool Movies, this very blog that you're reading as you're driving down Poplar is sponsoring Saturday's Filmmaker Networking Breakfast starring tasty bagels and piping hot coffee from Bogie's Deli. Filmmakers will be there talking about Friday night's amazing films/parties/frolics and pitching future projects. Come and butter a bagel with us Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Festival Cafe out front of Malco Studio on the Square.

Then stick around for the rest of the weekend's tent revivals -- all of which are free, making it ideal for the poor and hungry:

Saturday, noon, Festival Cafe:
Get the ins and outs of The Film Festival Circuit with Chris Holland (Film Festival Secrets) and Heidi Van Lier (The Indie Film Rule Book), who will share years of accumulated knowledge and insight. Learn where and how to submit your film, and get advice on developing your own festival submission strategy.
Saturday, 1 p.m., Festival Cafe:
Join John Beifuss (The Commercial Appeal and The Bloodshot Eye), Chris Herrington (Memphis Flyer) and former New York Times film critic Elvis Mitchell (host of KCRW's The Treatment) to see what happens When Critics Converse. Learn about the changes that the advent of the Internet has brought to the profession and hear about their personal experiences, perspectives and observations -- and find out why they connect with the films they love best (maybe).
Saturday, 2 p.m., Festival Cafe:
Craig Brewer ($5 Cover) moderates this Cafe Conversation on Filmmaking for the Web with Cory McAbee (Stingray Sam, The American Astronaut), Edward Valibus Phillips (The Conversion) and Joe Swanberg Alexander the Last, Amateur Hour with Joe Swanberg) to discuss the latest trend in independent filmmaking.
Saturday, 3 p.m., Festival Cafe:
Got a question about indie filmmaking? Need to find out what's wrong with your film -- and what's right? Ask Heidi Van Lier, author of The Indie Film Rule Book and the "Indie Film Q & A with Heidi Van Lier" blog for Film Independent. Heidi advises 10-20 filmmakers a year, speaks at colleges and on film festival panels (like this one!), and programs the Slamdance Film Festival. Her first feature, Chi Girl won the Slamdance's Grand Jury Prize in 1999 and sold to IFC Films. Her second feature Monday, will be released soon digitally through Cinetic Rights Management. She is just finishing her third feature, American Decaf, which will hit the festival circuit in 2010.
Sunday, 10 a.m., Festival Cafe:
Join Fuel Film Memphis for Sunday's Filmmaker Networking Breakfast and hear about plans for Filmmaker and Investor Forums, our survey and the January Kick-Off Event, as you enjoy tasty bagels and coffee from Bogie's Deli.
Sunday, noon, Festival Cafe:
Join Steven Beckman (Cinetic Media, Chris Holland and others for Distribute Me: A Conversation on Getting Your Film Out to the World. Hear about how filmmakers are getting their films out there, and learn what options might be right for your next project.
Sunday, 1 p.m., Memphis Brooks Museum of Art
Independent filmmaker Joe Swanberg is acclaimed both for his films (Kissing on the Mouth, LOL, Hannah Takes the Stairs, Nights and Weekends, Alexander the Last) and for his episodic work for the web (Young American Bodies, The Stagg Party, Butterknife). In addition to its unadorned style, naturalistic dialog, and loosely scripted narratives, Joe's work is notable for its use of non-professional actors.
In this workshop, Joe will share his personal experiences and opinions on the appeal of Working with Nonprofessional Actors, as well as challenges and potential problems. He'll also discuss the different ways that nonprofessionals can be used most effectively, such as building characters around the actor and putting them in comfortable situations. Workshop participants will have an opportunity to share experiences and ask questions about their own projects, as well.