Memphis International Film Festival

Memphis International Film Festival

Name 5 of the top events to see at the festivals: Films, Music Showcases, Panels and Workshops, Art Demonstrations, Q and A Sessions

5 top words to describe this festival: Film, Music, Filmmaking, Arts, Entertainment

Festival Genre: Music festival, Arts festival, Culture fest

Address of Memphis International Film Festival

Malco Studio on the Square
Memphis, Tennessee, 38104
United States

Festival / event start date: 4/24/2013 to April 27, 2014


Openings for vendors still available to purchase?: Yes and vendors are allowed to create and sell custom event products

On Location: MEMPHIS’ mission is to advance, educate and inspire filmmakers, musicians, students and professionals in the cinema and music arts; to connect the regional audience to the work of local and global filmmakers and musicians; and to collaborate with other organizations to strengthen the film and music community and boost the economic development of Memphis.

History of the Memphis International Film Festival

Now going into its 15th year, On Location: Memphis is a competitive 4-day festival that features a diverse mix of local and global films. Awards given in 5 categories: Live Action Short, Feature, Music Video, Documentary and Animated Short.

We are excited to say we’ve found our home for the 2014 Tri-Cities Baconfest! After touring local sites, we feel the Millennium Centre in Johnson City, Tennessee is the perfect location for this year’s event! We’ll be outside with plenty of space, additional seating, the stage with activities and music AND PLENTY OF PARKING! 

Now going into its 15th year, On Location: Memphis is a competitive 4-day festival that features a diverse mix of local and global films. Awards given in 5 categories: Live Action Short, Feature, Music Video, Documentary & Animated Short. – See more at:

Memphis International film festival
Memphis International film festival

 In 2014 the On Location: MEMPHIS International Film & Music Fest is placing renewed emphasis on the music portion of its program. Six well-known venues around the Bluff City will host a variety of diverse acts the weekend of April 24-27. This year the Blue Monkey, Le Chardonnay, Otherlands, Java Cabana, Newby’s, and the 1884 Lounge will all be part of the festivities.

The music kicks off at Newby’s on the night of Thursday April 24th, as popular Memphis bands The Side Street Steppers and The Scruffs will take to the stage as part of the Opening Night after party, kicking off just after the screening of In Between Engagements at the Malco Paradiso.

On the evening of Friday the 25th the volume gets cranked up louder as five venues will be live. Newby’s welcomes a variety of backpack rap and hip-hop performers while Le Chardonnay is home to neo-soul, jazz, and R&B acts. Ardent Records will present the rock and pop performers that take to the stage at the Blue Monkey in Midtown, while singer/songwriter, folk, country, and Americana will be on the card at both Otherlands and Java Cabana.

Saturday night the 26th gets even bigger. The 1884 Lounge gets in on the action with mainstream rap and hip-hop, Ardent Records will sponsor more rock and pop acts at the Blue Monkey, Newby’s shifts gears to host rock acts (primarily from Jackson, Mississippi’s Elegant Trainwreck Records label), while Le Chardonnay will feature a second night of soulfulness. Java Cabana and Otherlands will fittingly play host to a variety of coffeehouse musicians again as well.

Le Chardonnay and Java Cabana both are offering free admission, with the other venues each charging a $5 cover. All Music Showcases are included with a full festival pass, however, which is available online. Shuttle service is scheduled between all venues.

“We’re extremely proud of our musical heritage here in Memphis and it’s a huge thrill to be able to present so many diverse types of music to festivalgoers,” said On Location: MEMPHIS president, Lisa Bobal. “There is something for everyone, which suits the overall theme of our festival incredibly well.”

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ON LOCATION: MEMPHIS is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization originally formed in 1999 as Memphis Film Forum by Michael C. Harwood. Our mission of promoting education, economic development, and cultural diversity through the cinema arts has been the backbone of our organization.

Our Board of Directors includes professionals from a variety of business, media, and creative professions, including active filmmakers and film/video professionals. The Advisory Board is made up of volunteers who provide additional expertise in the areas of film industry liaison, non-profit operations, fundraising and professional services relevant to our work. Our primary project is the annual International Film Festival.

The all volunteer driven board of directors strives to produce other events throughout the year such as the 2006 Director’s Series – a monthly retrospective of various directors’ works such as David Lynch and Spike Lee. Although invited but not able to attend, Mr. Lynch filmed a personal greeting that ran before each screening much to the delight of each audience. Other events have included the premiere of The Cider House Rules with Richard Gladstein, the premier of Cherry with Jon Glascoe and Joseph Pierson, Spike and Mike’s Festival of Animation and The Animation Festival with Don Hertzfeldt.

The International Film Festival is a four-day event presented in March or April of each year. From the beginning, the festival has featured a rich variety of regional, American, and international films. Filmmaker submissions have increased each year, and the quality and prominence of the films screened has risen dramatically over the festival’s 9-year history. In the juried festival competition, best-of-festival awards are presented in each film category. A panel chosen for their expertise in specific categories judges the competition.


Attendees have included Richard Gladstein, Morgan Freeman, Holly Hunter, Isaac Hayes, Caldecott “Cotty” Chubb, Cybill Shepherd, Alan Bloomquist, Leo Fitzpatrick, Robert Mugge, Don Hertzfeldt, Jon Glascoe, Joseph Pierson, Del Shores, and Leslie Jordan. The festival has screened a number of Academy Award nominated films such as Don Hertzfeldt’s The Meaning of Life, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Amores Perros, Most (The Bridge) by Bobby Garabedian and William Zabka, and Sam Green and Bill Siegel’s The Weather Underground.


Highlights from our past Festivals

PRAISE THE LORD – Our opening night film for 2005 was SCREEN DOOR JESUS shot on location in Austin, Texas. Written and directed by former Memphian Kirk Davis, who now lives in Hell’s Kitchen in NYC. Davis was in town for the screening and also brought along producers Sam Adelman and Dave Stuart for a question and answer session after the screening. Our festival party held at the Gibson Guitar Lounge featured BACK PORCH MARY, the band seen and heard throughout the film. SCREEN DOOR JESUS was also screened again on Sunday to the largest Sunday afternoon audience the festival has seen.

MIFF 5 was lovingly dedicated to the life and memory of founding board member, Greg Gadomski. Greg’s dedication to the festival inspired many of us to join the efforts of the Memphis Film Forum in its fledgling stages and carry it to the level that we have reached thus far. Greg’s spirit and grace continue to encourage us as we move towards Academy Award status!

Taking a departure from the norm, our opening night film in 2005 festival was the experimental film STRANDED IN CANTON by the legendary photographer William Eggleston, produced by Robert Gordon (Author -CAN’T BE SATISFIED: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF MUDDY WATERS, IT CAME FROM MEMPHIS, Producer – COWBOY JACK’S HOME MOVIES, MARTIN SOCRCESE PRESENTS THE BLUES”.). The film depicted Southern Gothic like you’ve never seen. Shot in the 1970s in Memphis and New Orleans, this film put a unique spin on public and private live in the South. Many of those in the film’s sequences were in the audience, hysterically laughing their wild and crazy behavior from 30+ years ago! Special guest for this year included Producer Alan Blomquist (CHOCOLATE, CIDER HOUSE RULES, WHAT DREAMS MAY COME, BLUE COLLAR COMEDY TOUR) who participated in our panel discussion: IT’S A WRAP, NOW WHAT (FROM CONCEPT TO DELIVERY TO DISTRIBUTION).

In 2006, MIFF 7 created a new and successful partnership with Reel Soul Memphis which enabled MIFF to expand the typical film festival audience to include the African American population. One night of the festival was dedicated to Reel Soul films and the Reel Soul MIFF party. We paid homage to the people of New Orleans with our opening night film by noted music documentarian Robert Mugge – NEW ORLEANS: MUSIC IN EXILE, a stunning look at the effects of Hurricane Katrina on the music and musicians from the bayou and beyond. Special guests include NOLA musicians COWBOY MOUTH, Robert Mugge and poinently several displaced New Orleanians who have now made Memphis their home.

Being the home of the Blues and the birthplace of Rock ‘N Roll, we added a music component to the fest in 2007 with a music video category which featured the latest music video from Robert Cray directed by his wife, Sue Turner Cray. This theme was carried out even further with many music and music inspired docs such as JOOK JOINT JAM, IRON CITY BLUES, and ALTERED BY ELVIS. We awarded our first ever MEMPHIAN IN FILM HISTORY award to the soulful Issac Hayes. Screening his 1970s Blaxplotation film TRUCK TURNER was a delight both for the audience and for Hayes, his beautiful wife and lively little son!

Our green room for the festival (for VIPS, filmmakers and sponsors) was none other than the Gibson Guitar Tour Bus complete with Elvis in the driver’s seat (well, a cardboard cutout of him!) Rock on with our bad selves!

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