Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Indie Memphis meets the challenge

Indie Memphis, the force behind an event one national magazine recently named one of the world’s “25 Coolest Film Festivals,” has successfully met a $20,000 challenge from ArtsMemphis – an accomplishment that has allowed the non-profit organization to reach more than half its goal of raising $80,000 by December.

The challenge grant from ArtsMemphis, made in May through an anonymous donor, stipulated that Indie Memphis raise $20,000 in new funding by the end of June to receive the $20,000 grant. Indie Memphis not only met the challenge, it exceeded it. Thanks in part to the launch of its individual membership program, the non-profit organization surpassed its June 30th goal by $16,000 and, with that amount plus the $20,000 challenge grant from ArtsMemphis and $10,000 in additional funds raised in July, is now only $14,000 short of its December goal.

“The generosity of ArtsMemphis and its anonymous donor served as an inspiration to the community at large, who stepped up to support Indie Memphis with donations as small as one dollar,” said Erik Jambor, executive director of Indie Memphis, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. “Meeting our December goal will leave our organization well-positioned for the future and help ensure its long-term financial stability.”

Jambor said the accomplishment is even more gratifying because it comes during today’s difficult economic period and goes against the recent trend that has negatively impacted established film festivals and area arts organizations.

“We are extremely happy to have a part in strengthening one of the most powerful artistic forces in our city: the Memphis independent film industry,” said Susan Schadt, president and CEO of ArtsMemphis. “Indie Memphis masters the art of film by capturing the Memphis vibe in a very unique way.”

Indie Memphis, which connects and inspires though year-round programs of independent feature films, documentaries, short films, animation and student work, will hold its 12th annual Indie Memphis Film Festival this year from October 8 to 15.

The current issue of MovieMaker, a bimonthly magazine that covers “the art and business of making movies,” named the Indie Memphis Film Festival as one of the world’s “25 Coolest Film Festivals.” The New York-based publication, which has a circulation of 165,000, cites Indie Memphis’ “unique creative landscape that is the home of the blues and the birthplace of rock ‘n roll.”

Earlier this year, film director Craig Brewer kicked off the fundraising campaign with the World Premiere of his made-for-MTV film “$5 Cover” at the Malco Paradiso. This benefit screening raised over $12,000 for Indie Memphis.

Jambor points out that Memphians can support the organization and help it reach its December fundraising goal by becoming an Indie Memphis member for $50 per year ($30 for full-time students; $40 for filmmakers with at least two production credits). Memberships provide year-round benefits including special discounts at the annual Indie Memphis Film Festival. Corporate sponsorship opportunities for the October film festival are still available as well.

Those wanting more information about Indie Memphis can visit its Web site at www.indiememphis.com.

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