Indie Memphis: Offbeat entrees offer real feast, with local flavor

Dancers are the stars  at 6 p.m. Monday in Ellis Fowler's 'Memphis Movement -- Jookin: The Urban Ballet.'

Dancers are the stars at 6 p.m. Monday in Ellis Fowler's "Memphis Movement -- Jookin: The Urban Ballet."

(NOTE: The outdoor Indie Memphis Film Festival screenings of “Elvis: ’68,” “Memphis Music at SXSW” and “The Big Lebowski” scheduled for tonight (Friday, Oct. 9) at the Levitt Shell in Overton Park have been canceled due to rain. “Memphis Music at SXSW” will screen instead at 3:15 p.m. Saturday at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. Admission is free. The screening replaces a preview of the Memphis-made MTV horror series “Savage County,” which was canceled due to the unavailability of director David Harris. “Elvis: ’68 Special” and “The Big Lebowski” likely will be shown at the Shell next week, according to Indie Memphis officials, on a night yet to be determined.)

From its midnight movies (tonight's "Paranormal Activity" is the most buzzed-about micro-budget horror movie since "The Blair Witch Project") to its "Amerindie" auteurs (Chicago-based Joe Swanberg delivers his career-to-date best, "Alexander the Last," at 7:45 tonight) to its celebrations of Memphis music (the Live From Memphis Music Video Showcase at 7:30 p.m. Saturday is as irresistible as ever), this week's Indie Memphis Film Festival could be the most worthwhile in the event's 12-year history.

Dancers are the stars  at 6 p.m. Monday in Ellis Fowler's 'Memphis Movement -- Jookin: The Urban Ballet.'

Dancers are the stars at 6 p.m. Monday in Ellis Fowler's "Memphis Movement -- Jookin: The Urban Ballet."

The festival -- which continues today through Thursday -- has more highlights than Priscilla Presley's hairdo. And no, Priscilla will not be in attendance, although the famous "Elvis: '68 Special" will be screened at 7 tonight at the Levitt Shell in Overton Park, to begin a free triple feature that also includes the 8:45 p.m. premiere of Clayton Hurley's documentary "Memphis Music at SXSW" and a 10 p.m. screening of the cult classic "The Big Lebowski." (In case of rain, the movies will be rescheduled.)

The festival will show more than 150 short and feature films, including narratives, documentaries and cartoons, mostly at Malco's Studio on the Square, where Indie Memphis will occupy three screens. So here are three likely highlights:

The acclaimed Alloy Orchestra -- a three-man ensemble that includes Roger C. Miller of Mission of Burma -- comes to Memphis to provide live musical accompaniment to two silent movie classics, Buster Keaton's "The General" and Dziga Vertov's "The Man with a Movie Camera," at 6 and 8 p.m. Monday. (Admission to this special event is $15 per film.)

The city's eye-popping inner-city dance style is documented at 6 p.m. Monday in "Memphis Movement -- Jookin: The Urban Ballet," a feature documentary by a new young filmmaker, Ellis E. Fowler, that includes interviews with such colorfully monikered jooking pioneers as B-Frank, Dr. Rico and G-Nerd.

Want to see a "white trash" mother snort cocaine in the maternity ward just hours after giving birth? Then don't miss the Johnny Knoxville-produced "The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia" (9:30 p.m. Saturday), a voyeuristic, disturbing yet hypnotic documentary that visits the extended train wreck of a family of Jesco White, the infamous "Dancing Outlaw" showcased in a cult 1991 documentary. Director Julien Nitzberg (currently working on a biopic of Sputnik Monroe) and producer Storm Taylor are scheduled to attend.

Tickets for most screenings (for people with festival passes) are $8 per film, or $6 for midnight and matinee screenings.

For a full schedule and more information, visit For more reviews, check out

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