On Location: Memphis, part 2

31 Mar

By Melanie Addington

I have to take a moment before I tell you about day four festivities to excuse my blunder in calling the fest by its old name. Memphis International Film Festival has rebranded itself this year to On Location: Memphis. It may seem like a slight issue, but it is important to actually call the fest that this awesome group of people I met worked so hard on by the correct name.

Now, things started hopping in the evening of day three as the rain subsided and people showed up in droves to check out Osso Bucco, a funny little mobster comedy played out over the course of a veal dinner in a snow storm.

Unfortunately I skipped out halfway through the film to check out the feature winner Low and Behold. The film has minor cinematography issues but the stunning performances make up for it. The story line is heartbreaking and some of the footage of the devastation that Katrina left of New Orleans was captivating and intense. The film was such a personal look at a real event and yet written in such a way that the themes are universal and the story could have been set anywhere. No one from the film came to the fest so they showed the award to the audience and then began the film. That was disappointing but since the ending of the film shook me up so bad I was glad I didn’t have to sit through a Q&A but could instead escape to the bathroom to stop crying.

 Afterwards I went to the final after party which was held downtown at the Bridges. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I walked in the door but it appears to be a semi-convention center. The design of the building is amazing and there is even a cool rock climbing wall. Unfortunately, the wall was off limits, although it would have made for a much more lively party if half-drunk filmmakers had been allowed to start scaling walls.

A great Memphis band, the Mudflap Kings, performed in the downstairs while most of the partygoers enjoyed the free beer in the upper inside deck. I’d heard the first two parties were a great time and I was looking forward to wild fun. But my heart wasn’t in it and after trying to mingle for about an hour with the somewhat small crowd, I decided to check out early and head to my hotel.

This morning (around 11 a.m.), I woke up fresh and started the final fest day. I headed to the Brooks Museum to check out the Liberty and Justice series that the president of the fest, Michele Howard-Flynn, had helped to get started this year. I was excited to check it out as they were playing some good films that we’d had at the Oxford Film Festival before such as The Clinton 12 and Willie Francis Must Die Again. The film I was going to check out was Race to Execution. As the home of the Civil Rights Museum, Memphis is the perfect place for such a series to start a great dialogue.  When I arrived no one was there but the film began anyway. I watched the movie with one board member and the projectionist. Saddened that no one had arrived at the fest I asked how the turnout was the day before and was told by a volunteer that they had so much trouble filling the seats that they had stopped charging people to just get them into the theater. It’s a shame that the community didn’t respond as they missed out on an amazing two day series of great Civil Rights films.

After the film I headed over to the Malco Studio and ran into the cool guys from Rattle Basket and talked to them about their film and their experience at Ground Zero the night before. They are a great bunch of filmmakers and seemed to really be enjoying Memphis, so much so that they are considering shooting their next film in the region. I look forward to checking out their film this week.  I then saw my friend Erik Jambor of Indie Memphis, the other Memphis film festival.

After quickly catching up with him, I ran in to see Of All The Things, a fun documentary about a long ignored songwriter Dennis Lambert. Despite enjoying the film, I felt completely depressed that I really never pay attention to who writes these amazing songs that I love. I mean, Lambert wrote some of the classic tunes we all know and love, including the Four Tops “Ain’t No Woman Like the One I’ve Got.” Seeing the movie, although touching that he finally got a chance to perform his works, made me realize just how much I take for granted the lyrics I hear. Afterwards Jambor and I sat in on the screening of The Little Pumpkin and The Cake Eaters. Both films are sweet sentimental stories about family and was a nice relaxing way to end the fest.

Exhausted from two long days of movies, I headed back home to Oxford. Luckily, not for long though, as the Crossroads Film Festival starts Thursday in Jackson, Mississippi. Stay tuned for live blog coverage from all four days of the fest! Until then, I will be doing reviews of the films from On Location: Memphis over at my blog www.oxfordfilmfreak.wordpress.com.

2 Responses to “On Location: Memphis, part 2”

  1. diana April 5, 2008 at 9:18 pm #

    Thank you for this lovely site, i hope you have time to visit mine.. (: http://www.welovelyrics.com/

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Crossroads “not quite live” Wrap Up - Day 3 « Scene Now - April 7, 2008

    […] at the same time was Of All The Things by Jody Lambert. I had previously seen this in Memphis the week before and you can check out what I said here. This […]

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