Off­beat en­trees of­fer real feast, with lo­cal fla­vor

The Commercial Appeal - Go Memphis - - Indie Memphis Film Festival - By John Bei­fuss


From its mid­night movies (tonight’s “Para­nor­mal Ac­tiv­ity” is the most buzzed-about mi­cro-bud­get hor­ror movie since “The Blair Witch Project”) to its “Amerindie” au­teurs (Chicago-based Joe Swan­berg de­liv­ers his ca­reer-to-date best, “Alexan­der the Last,” at 7:45 tonight) to its cel­e­bra­tions of Mem­phis mu­sic (the Live From Mem­phis Mu­sic Video Show­case at 7:30 p.m. Satur­day is as ir­re­sistible as ever), this week’s In­die Mem­phis Film Fes­ti­val could be the most worth­while in the event’s 12-year his­tory.

The fes­ti­val — which con­tin­ues to­day through Thurs­day — has more high­lights than Priscilla Pres­ley’s hairdo. And no, Priscilla will not be in at­ten­dance, al­though the fa­mous “Elvis: ’68 Spe­cial” will be screened at 7 tonight at the Le­vitt Shell in Over­ton Park, to be­gin a free triple fea­ture that also in­cludes the 8:45 p.m. pre­miere of Clay­ton Hur­ley’s doc­u­men­tary “Mem­phis Mu­sic at SXSW” and a 10 p.m. screen­ing of the cult clas­sic “The Big Le­bowski.” (In case of rain, the movies will be resched­uled.)

The fes­ti­val will show more than 150 short and fea­ture films, in­clud­ing nar­ra­tives, doc­u­men­taries and car­toons, mostly at Malco’s Stu­dio on the Square, where In­die Mem­phis will oc­cupy three screens. So here are three likely high­lights:

The ac­claimed Al­loy Or­ches­tra — a three-man en­sem­ble that in­cludes Roger C. Miller of Mis­sion of Burma — comes to Mem­phis to pro­vide live mu­si­cal ac­com­pa­ni­ment to two si­lent movie clas­sics, Buster Keaton’s “The Gen­eral” and Dziga Ver­tov’s “The Man with a Movie Cam­era,” at 6 and 8 p.m. Mon­day. (Ad­mis­sion to this

spe­cial event is $15 per film.)

The city’s eye-pop­ping in­ner-city dance style is doc­u­mented at 6 p.m. Mon­day in “Mem­phis Move­ment — Jookin: The Ur­ban Bal­let,” a fea­ture doc­u­men­tary by a new young film­maker, El­lis E. Fowler, that in­cludes in­ter­views with such col­or­fully monikered jook­ing pi­o­neers as B-Frank, Dr. Rico and G -Nerd.

Want to see a “white trash” mother snort co­caine in the ma­ter­nity ward just hours af­ter giv­ing birth? Then don’t miss the Johnny Knoxville-pro­duced “The Wild and Won­der­ful Whites of West Vir­ginia” (9:30 p.m. Satur­day), a voyeuris­tic, dis­turb­ing yet hyp­notic doc­u­men­tary that vis­its the ex­tended train wreck of a fam­ily of Jesco White, the in­fa­mous “Danc­ing Out­law” show­cased in a cult 1991 doc­u­men­tary. Di­rec­tor Julien Nitzberg (cur­rently work­ing on a biopic of Sput­nik Mon­roe) and pro­ducer Storm Tay­lor are sched­uled to at­tend.

Tick­ets for most screen­ings (for peo­ple with fes­ti­val passes) are $8 per film, or $6 for mid­night and mati­nee screen­ings.

For a full sched­ule and more in­for­ma­tion, visit in­diemem­ For more re­views, check out TheBlood­

Dancers are the stars at 6 p.m. Mon­day in El­lis Fowler’s “Mem­phis Move­ment — Jookin: The Ur­ban Bal­let.”

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