memphis festival

memphis festivalI am always excited when I get the chance to return to Memphis. After spending nine months there filming the documentary Undefeated, the city has become a bit of a second home for me. So the call from Erik Jambor, asking me to join the documentary jury for the 15th edition of the Indie Memphis Festival, was the perfect excuse to eat some BBQ, see some friends, and enjoy some great films.

Indie Memphis is one of the few festivals I have gone to where the local film community is not just involved in the festival, but also supremely welcoming. You get the impression that this sort of moviemaking community gathering happens year round in Memphis; but during Indie Memphis, the rest of the world is invited to participate for a weekend. I think that’s what gives Indie Memphis its great, laid-back quality. I can’t think of another festival where you’re at a rooftop party one minute, and a kegger in someone’s backyard the next.

But all the kegs in Tennessee wouldn’t be worth much to film lovers if the festival weren’t programmed as brilliantly as it is. Being on the documentary jury, I got the chance to screen some wonderfully diverse films I may not have seen otherwise, including Jury Prize-winner Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me, and Special Jury Prize-winner Very Extremely Dangerous. Having to award just one film the prize became a real challenge. I also managed to sneak away and see some great narrative films, Red Flag and Pilgrim Song being two of the highlights.

As in years past, I left Indie Memphis with a ton of new friends, an inspired mind, and a belly full of BBQ. What more could you want?

Dan Lindsay directed and edited the Academy Award­-winning documentary Undefeated with his directing partner, TJ Martin.  Their most recent short documentary, “My Favorite Picture of You,” premiered at the 2013 T/F Film Festival. They are currently in pre-production on a documentary series for television.