The Indie Memphis Film Festival continues today at Muvicos Peabody Place theatre with a double feature of local award winners, both feature films by first-time African-American filmmakers. Keenon Nikitas Just the Two of Us, which won the award for Best Narrative Feature in the festivals Hometowner competition, screens at 6:15 p.m. Afterward, at 8:45 p.m., Rod Pitts, who won the festivals award for Most Promising Filmmaker, screens his feature What Goes Around . Click headline to see what Flyer critics thought of these films, or see the Indie Memphis Web site for more information on the festival.
Just the Two of Us: written and directed and starring Memphis actor/author Keenon Nikita, tells a semi-autobiographical tale about one mans search for love and success in Memphis. Based on Nikitas book, Single Black Father, the film is sweet-natured and often quite funny as it follows Nick, a hard-working man clocking overtime to give his daughter a good life. Things spiral out of control when Nick turns his attention away from his daughter and allows himself to follow his dream of becoming an author. Just the Two of Us is a debut for Nikita, who got his start in film playing a hilarious car thief in Craig Brewers first feature film, The Poor & Hungry. Chris Davis
What Goes Around :The end of the credits for What Goes Around states, No animals, crackheads, or film geeks were harmed in the making of this film. I cant say I remember seeing any crackheads, and Im pretty sure there werent any animals, but such are the quality and interests of the film that theres no doubt its full of film geeks. The story is simple and universal: Talal (Patrick Henry) has been with girlfriend Marie (Chris Brown) for years, but realizes hes philophobic afraid of commitment. It isnt so much Talals feet that are clay as his heart. When he meets Angela (Lisa Miller), hes smitten and drops Marie for her, an action that has unforeseen and heartbreaking consequences. The film bursts with Chow Yun Fat and Rudy Ray Moore references and, in featuring the now-defunct Parallax Video as a location, provides a fitting coda to that downtown establishment. Best of all, Memphis has never looked so romantic as when Talal and Angela hit the town on a first date, their burgeoning relationship captured with black-and-white photography and Billie Holidays Solitude washing over it all. It doesnt seem so hard to imagine the Bluff City as New York in a 40s or 50s film. Greg Akers