Film festival returns to Cooper-Young with renewed focus of music

Mabon Teenie Hodges: A Portrait of a Memphis Soul Original, a documentary of the Memphis soul songwriting and guitar great, is one of the featured film in this year's On Location: MEMPHIS film festival.

Mabon Teenie Hodges: A Portrait of a Memphis Soul Original, a documentary of the Memphis soul songwriting and guitar great, is one of the featured film in this year’s On Location: MEMPHIS film festival.

The On Location: MEMPHIS International Film & Music Festival returns this month with a new date and renewed focus on music.

Festival organizers say they will still provide the same world-class filmmaking and the variety of networking opportunities festivalgoers have come to expect. Highlights of this year’s event include films from more than 15 countries as well as a music festival featuring a brand-new blues concert.

Slated for Labor Day weekend, September 3rd-6th, OL:M will kick off on Thursday with a Mix & Mingle Preview Party at the Hard Rock Cafe on historic Beale Street. The festival and the Hard Rock have partnered up before, and this preview party comes on the heels of the successful first edition of the On Location: MEMPHIS Shorts Festival in July. The party is scheduled for 7 p.m. and will feature film trailers, performances by Marco A and Crockett Hall, filmmakers, festival organizers, sponsors, musicians and others.

This year the Friday portion of the festival is devoted to music, and will be held entirely at Cooper-Walker Place in the Cooper Young area of Midtown Memphis.  Films include The Amateur, a dramatic look at trying to make it in Los Angeles; When the Blues Come to Town, spotlighting a Canadian blues festival; and

. The night will then conclude with OL:M’s much-anticipated inaugural blues concert. The program kicks off at 8 p.m. and is hosted by blues and soul singer Redd Velvet with a variety of local blues acts taking the stage throughout the evening, highlighted by the Garry Burnside Band. A business expo will be held during the day as well.

On Saturday the festival expands to Overton Square. A variety of documentaries, features, live action shorts, and animated shorts will be screened throughout the day at Malco’s Studio on the Square, a longtime OL:M partner. Highlights include the features The King of New Orleans, Primrose Lane and Writer’s Cramp, documentaries Imminent Threat, Stink!, And We Won’t Bow Down, and three sets of shorts.

The Lipscomb Pitts Breakfast Club will also present Memphis Rocks!, a program highlighting films from students, businesses, and civic leaders from around the Bluff City.

Saturday’s Studio on the Square lineup also includes two free screenings: At 2 p.m. director Tommy Ford of TV show “Martin” fame will be in attendance to present his feature Switching Lanes. Meanwhile at 6:30 p.m. The Man in 3B featuring Billy Dee Williams will be screened.

A full day is also scheduled for Cooper-Walker Place. At noon Johnny Cash’s sister Joanne’s faith-based documentary I Do Believe will take center stage, with Cash herself in attendance. More music-related films are slated throughout the day, kicking off with Music in Mali: Life is Hard, Times are Good and including The Record Man featuring Memphian Anita Ward (who will also be on-site), a set of music videos, and concluding with the documentary My Voice, My Life all the way from Hong Kong.

In the evening, the music festival continues at Cooper-Walker Place with a variety of genres taking the stage, including rock band the Everdeens and R&B artist Al Chauncey. Country, hip hop, pop and soul acts are also scheduled throughout the weekend.

The 16th OL:M winds down on Sunday, September 6th, with a full slate of films at Studio on the Square. Imba Means Sing, PAN! Our Music Odyssey, Gangsta Walking: The Movie, and three more sets of short films are on tap as well as the feature Waffle Street from local Memphis filmmaker Autumn McAlpin. The film stars Danny Glover and features the music of Memphis’ Ghost Town Blues Band.

The festival also features a number of industry discussions, with one of the most notable on the topic of distribution for short films. It is scheduled for Ardent Studios at noon on Friday, and features Christie Taylor, acquisitions coordinator for Black Lava Films, and Linda O. Olszewski, acquisitions consultant for Shorts HD. Business services providers such as stylists, physical trainers, attorneys, recording studios, entertainment business consultants and others will be on hand during the ongoing business expo throughout the festival.

Film and music festival passes are $65, with a pass to the On Location: MEMPHIS Music Festival (granting access to all music-related films, performances and the business expo) available for $45. Friday and Saturday film and music single-day passes are $40 apiece. Friday and Saturday music single day passes are $25 each, and VIP access to Thursday’s Mix & Mingle Preview Party at the Hard Rock Cafe is priced at $30. General admission to that event is free. Individual screening tickets for all film is just $8. Tickets are available via TicketLeap by visiting; promo code: SWEET16 can be used for a 25% discount.

A wide variety of filmmakers and musicians will also be on hand throughout the weekend.

Author: LampLighter

The voice of Cooper-Young, a vibrant, diverse neighborhood to live, work and play, in the heart of Midtown Memphis, Tennessee.

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