The Indie Memphis Film Festival completed its 10th year last October and looks to take an important step in its growth this year. According to Les Edwards, who, along with his wife Emily Trenholm, has been a primary coordinator of the festival for most of its existence, Indie Memphis has secured a financial commitment from a currently anonymous donor to pay for the hiring of a permanent executive director. Indie Memphis has recently started a national search to fill the position, according to Edwards.
Edwards, who is a self-employed accountant, says that running the festival has cut too much into his business, and vice versa. "[The festival isn't] able to grow with us leading it," he says. "If [Indie Memphis] is going to go to the next level, it's going to have to be with someone who can work on it year-round. It's going to take someone who makes their living working in this industry."
Hiring a full-time director will allow Edwards and Trenholm to move into advisory positions on the festival board rather than hold active positions, Edwards says, and should allow the festival to do a better job raising money, engaging the community, and booking better films. Edwards also says he hopes hiring an executive director will lead to more year-round programming.
Film industry oracle Variety reported recently that Memphis filmmaker Craig Brewer's "first look" deal with Paramount Pictures was not renewed, one of several such deals that fell prey to Hollywood belt-tightening in the wake of the current writers strike. But, don't think that means you've heard the last of Brewer, who has retained the South Main office of his Southern Cross the Dog production company and has mostly been waiting out the strike on his home turf.
Brewer, a member of both the striking Writers Guild of America and the Directors Guild of America who recently directed an episode of the cable television series The Shield, says that Paramount still owns the rights to Maggie Lynn, the country-music-themed film Brewer had planned to shoot last year before the looming writers strike spurred him to delay the project. Brewer is waiting on Paramount to make a decision on the film while also readying other projects and waiting for a resolution to the strike.