Photos by Breezy Lucia and Trey Clark

Looking for a new movie to see, but want something different than the blockbusters playing in theaters? Look no further than the Indie Memphis Film Festival presented by Duncan-Williams, Inc., which is celebrating its 20th anniversary November 1–6, 2017.

“More than 50 people are prepping for the six-day festival and a 100+ volunteers too,” says Indie Memphis Executive Director Ryan Watt. “The week of the festival, we’re all working nonstop. We have lots of corporate sponsors, such as Amazon Studios and in-kind help. In honor of our 20th anniversary, we’re planning more outdoor public aspects.”

Let’s just say they’re rolling out the red carpet for this anniversary milestone. For the first time, Indie Memphis acquired a city permit to shut down a block and a half of Cooper Street in Midtown, right outside several theaters – Playhouse on the Square, Circuit Playhouse, Hattiloo Theatre and Malco Studio on the Square. Panel discussions will be held in tents outside the theatres along with food trucks, music and screens – if the weather holds up.

“We’re hosting receptions, parties and Q&As after the films are shown – over 100 filmmakers are coming in to interact with audiences,” adds Ryan. “This year, local bands will perform inside theaters before each movie – like a mini music festival within our movie festival. John Miller is booking acts that musically match the movie themes. Audience members will be entertained, not stuck watching commercials.”

Indie Memphis Film Festival is featured at seven locations across Memphis. On weeknights, films will be shown at the Halloran Centre for Performing Arts and Education in Downtown Memphis next to the Orpheum Theatre. And for folks who may not want to schlep too far, “we’ve also added a second weekday location at Malco Ridgeway in East Memphis,” says Ryan. “On the weekend, everything moves to the Overton Square Theater District plus Malco Studio on the Square.”

Most tickets are $10 each for movies. Higher-profile movie tickets are $15 including a reception. Or you can buy a pass for $100, which allows you to see 12 movies and access into the hospitality tent. A VIP pass for $250 gets you unlimited movies and perks including priority seating.

Six movies will be showing at all times throughout the weekend – more than 200 films and videos. No matter your interest, the Indie Memphis Film Festival has a film genre for everyone.

“Our films touch all areas,” explains Ryan. “We have an opportunity to program a bunch of films that appeal to different groups and various ages. Each movie has its own audience. We are becoming more diverse, which is happening in film fests in general – it’s a challenge. For example, our Civil Rights section will become a permanent festival fixture, helping Memphis stand out among other movie festivals.”

And, it’s already working. Some highly influential players in the film industry are taking notice and talking about the Indie Memphis Film Festival including Filmmaker Magazine, Brooklyn Magazine and The Independent (UK).

If you can’t wait for the Film Festival in November, Indie Memphis has you covered. While the Film Festival is their biggest event, they actually provide a range of other film programs throughout the year to create community through independent film and support the development of filmmakers.

“Because Memphis doesn’t have a true art house theater, we host a weekly Indie Wednesday Film Series,” explains Ryan. “This program seeks to bridge this gap by bringing movies that wouldn’t otherwise play in Memphis for one night.”

Indie Memphis does more than just show films. Shoot and Splice is a free monthly artist networking and development opportunity offering technical and fun workshops and guest speakers.

The Youth Film Society, for kids in grades 7-12, just held its second film festival. The members created short films, screened them for audiences and had the chance to attend free workshops by industry professionals. “This new program has exceeded all expectation!” boasts Ryan. “It’s the biggest area of growth for our organization.

“In the future, we hope to add more programs and workshops,” he continues. “We want to provide the opportunities for audiences to see movies they wouldn’t see otherwise and include the film scene here.”

Spring-boarding from all the incredible programing throughout the year and last year’s successful Film Festival with record attendance of nearly 11,500 people, final preparations are underway for the 20th anniversary celebration.

“We’ve hit record attendance two years in a row,” says Ryan proudly. “For the 20th anniversary, we’re hoping to continue that trend. We want Memphians to consider this festival one of the top events of the year.”

The Memphis Premiere of Lynne Sachs new documentary, “Tip of My Tongue,” will be shown on closing night, Nov., 6, at the Halloran Centre at the Orpheum. Now living in New York, part of the film touches on her childhood days in Memphis. Lynne’s brother, Ira Sachs, has been a great supporter of Indie Memphis. Last year, his film, “Little Men,” premiered at Indie Memphis.

For more information about Lynne Sachs and to view a trailer visit

For a complete list of the 2017 Indie Film Festival movies and schedule,
including an encore day of screenings the week after the festival wraps up
at Malco Collierville Towne Cinema, check out

Nov 1 – 6
Indie Memphis Film Festival presented by Duncan-Williams, Inc.

Wed., Nov 1
Halloran Centre & Malco Ridgeway
Thur., Nov 2
Halloran Centre & Malco Ridgeway
Fri., Nov 3
Playhouse on the Square, Circuit Playhouse, Hattiloo Theatre, Malco Studio on the Square
Sat., Nov 4
Playhouse on the Square, Circuit Playhouse, Hattiloo Theatre, Malco Studio on the Square
Sun., Nov 5
Playhouse on the Square, Circuit Playhouse, Hattiloo Theatre, Malco Studio on the Square
Mon., Nov 6
Halloran Centre & Malco Studio on the Square
Sat., Nov 14
Collierville Encore at Malco Collierville Towne Cinema