This weekend, Indie Memphis launches a new program, their Freedom Series, a series of "community-hosted films and conversations on topics" on issues related to human and civil rights. The series, which has been curated by local artist and Indie Memphis volunteer Robin Salant, will bring related film screenings to different parts of the city, hosted by different community organizations and with discussion sessions following each screening.
Admission to each program is free, with a $5 minimum donation suggested to benefit the hosting organization.
For an official schedule and guide to the series, go to indiememphis.com/freedom.
Here's a quick look at this weekend's screenings:
TONIGHT: Two films screen at Malco's Studio on the Square, starting at 7 p.m. First is The Veiled Commodity, a short film about the history of slavery and human trafficking. It will be followed by Complaint Choir, an hour-length documentary that follows the international "Complaints Choir" art project by the Finnish/German artists Tellervo & Oliver Kalleinen. The artists travel the world collecting complaints and transforming them into songs, which are then sung by the complainers themselves.
Co-producers Frank and Lisa Mauceri (Frank is in the band Batusis, playing the Hi Tone Café tonight) are scheduled to attend.
The Memphis Complaints Choir is scheduled to perform after the screenings.
Complaint Choir trailer:
FRIDAY: Two films screen at the Latino Community Center (2838 Hickory Hill), starting at 7 p.m. The first is the short film La Vos de los Sin Vos (The Voice of the Voiceless), about the establishment of a Zapatista radio station.
It will be followed by a promising feature called Intimidad, a cinema verite-style documentary about a young Mexican couple trying to build a life for themselves and their daughter. Intimidad is a 2008 film from Ashley Sabin and David Redmon, whose following feature, Invisible Girlfriend, won the Best Documentary award at last year's Indie Memphis festival.
Here's Sabin talking about the film at the 2008 SXSW Film Festival:
SATURDAY: Two films screen at Abundant Grace Fellowship (1574 E. Shelby Dr.) starting at 3 p.m. The first is A .45 at 50th, a short documentary about actor/activist James Cromwell's experience in the ’60s with the Committee to Defend the Black Panthers, and particularly his experiences with Panther leader Elbert "Big Man" Howard.
It will be followed by Getwell, a local feature about Memphis' Church Health Center and the work they've done to confront the health-care crisis by providing affordable health care to the uninsured.
Here is A .45 at 50th co-director Joshua Bell, interviewed at the Dallas International Film Festival:
SUNDAY: Two films screen at the National Civil Rights Museum starting a 3 p.m. July 18th has been designated Nelson Mandela Day internationally, the both films are about the South African leader, who was released from prison 20 years ago. The first film is the short 'Helen Suzman's Story'" (an excerpt from Breaking the Rules, a upcoming feature about white anti-apartheid activists in South Africa). Suzman, who had a role in securing Mandela's release, is currently featured at the museum.
It will be followed by a selection from Voices From Robben Island, an interview with Nelson Mandela about his experiences on Robben Island, a high-security prison for political prisoners who'd opposed South Africa's Apartheid regime.
The trailer for Breaking the Rules:
After this packed opening weekend, the Freedom Series will continue with scattered screenings in August and September, culminating in a final event at October's Indie Memphis Film Festival.