Shaking things up at Indie Memphis


With the enthusiasm of revival-tent evangelists preaching the good word about the power of the movies, a Memphis millionaire and a filmfest veteran from Alabama have joined forces to try to elevate the Indie Memphis Film Festival to a "world-class level" as it enters its second decade.

Erik Jambor of Birmingham has been selected as the first-ever salaried executive director of Indie Memphis. The position is being funded by investment capitalist Bob Compton as part of a $100,000 grant that will help the festival triple its operating budget this year, as Indie Memphis becomes a fully independent entity.

If you've never met Erik Jambor, you should get to know his name and face; Erik has been a major force in Southern indie film since co-founding Birmingham, Alabama's Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival in 1999. Sidewalk is the model of an intimate, filmmaker-friendly festival in an unlikely place. It is a favorite destination with filmmakers, audiences, and industry types alike. Jambor moved on to a short-lived experiment at the Bend Film Festival in Bend, Oregon before returning to the South as the director of Indie Memphis.

According to Jambor, "Indie Memphis has been on the scene for a good number of years, but its first decade focused exclusively on films with a connection to the South. Filmmakers loved it – but that, coupled by the fact that it was a completely volunteer run organization, has kept much of has been
happening here under the radar."

Jambor promises that the South and Southern filmmakers will remain a "major focus" of the festival, but as part of his plans to move the festival into a new stage of development, he will use "Memphis' rich cultural history to connect independent filmmakers from other regions of the country too. Memphis is known as the home of the Blues and the birthplace of Rock 'n' Roll, and the city resonates with inspiration and collaboration that is simply unlike anywhere else."

Read more from Jambor in an interview with the Memphis Flyer, or visit the Indie Memphis web site (call for entries now open).