Friday, June 16, 2006

Beifuss on Li'l Film Fest 2 and "Dollars and Signs"

John Beifuss waxes eloquent about the indie scene in today's Playbook. Here are excerpts:

Independent filmmaking in Memphis comes under the spotlight again this weekend with the eagerly awaited "Li'l Film Fest 2," a mini-festival devoted to short films about barbecue, and screenings of "Dollars and Signs," the debut feature film by Brandon Hutchinson, co-founder of the influential Memphis Digital Arts Co-operative (MeDiA Co-op).

"Dollars and Signs" will be screened twice. Tonight's show is at 8 p.m. at the new Hattiloo Theatre at 654 Marshall; it will be followed by live music from Ron Franklin and the Iron Mic Coalition, who contributed to the film's soundtrack. Admission is $15 at the door or $12 in advance by e-mailing an RSVP to hellokidprojects

The movie also will be screened outdoors at 8 p.m. Saturday behind the "2 Chicks and a Broom" cleaning service headquarters at 885 S. Cooper. Admission is $10. Post-movie music will be provided by the Iron Mic Coalition and Valerie June, who also appears on the soundtrack.

"Li'l Film Fest 2," meanwhile, takes place at 2 p.m. Saturday at the MeDiA Co-op theater at First Congregational Church, 1000 S. Cooper. Admission is free. The event was organized by Live from Memphis, a Web site devoted to the local arts, especially film and music.

The popular first Li'l Film Fest, held in March, required participating filmmakers to use footage of the demolition of Baptist Hospital in their entries. This time, moviemakers were asked to produce films about one of Memphis' most popular products, barbecue.

Twelve films were accepted by the Live from Memphis judges, ranging in length from 74 seconds to under five minutes and in attitude from amused to disgusted (vegetarian protest films are included). All the shorts are amusing and several are outstanding, including the angry and primitively animated "Pig in a Poke" by Morgan Jon Fox and Brett Hanover, which pokes fun at such local celebrities as Joe Birch and Craig Brewer before it eviscerates the story's villain, Condoleezza Rice; the faux French "Doctrine and Aesthetics of Pig Husbandry" by Adam and Melissa Remsen, which recommends exposing juicy growing piglets to Baudelaire and Mondrian; and Hanover's "The Nine Circles of BBQ Hell" and Tammy Marqueerius' "What It's All About," which follow in the gory cloven hoofsteps of Georges Franju's 1949 documentary "Blood of the Beasts."

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