With Memphians Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow) and Ira Sachs (Forty Shades of Blue) making waves at the Sundance Film Festival, few locals are tracking the changing movie landscape of Memphis as closely as Les Edwards and Emily Trenholm. As coordinators of the annual IndieMemphis Film Festival -- which is currently featured in two articles in the national MovieMaker magazine -- the couple has handed out awards to Brewer and sponsored screenings of Sachs' early films.
Flyer: No one could have expected a double-win for Memphis at Sundance. What was your reaction?
Edwards: We were excited just to learn that two Memphis films had been accepted. That alone was a cause for celebration. But for the two films to win those two big awards? Particularly with Craig [Brewer], it validates that the filmmaking community in Memphis is maturing, and I think that IndieMemphis has grown along with it.
Trenholm: We're very proud of both of them. You won't have this kind of success every year, but there's an awful lot of talent here.
Given the attention that the Sundance success has brought to Memphis, has there been any discussion about how IndieMemphis can capitalize on that?
Edwards: We started a couple of years ago networking with other festivals throughout the region. These festivals are seeing the same press about Memphis that everyone else is, and they're calling us looking for films and filmmakers that might participate in their festivals. So one thing the success of Sundance has accomplished is to allow Memphis' role in that network to get stronger.
Trenholm: There are so many film festivals out there and filmmakers can only enter so many, I think the publicity may have [out-of-town] filmmakers looking harder at Memphis now. And that will certainly benefit [IndieMemphis], especially since we've shown the work of both Brewer and Sachs.