State of the Festival: Making Room at Indie Memphis 2021

State of the Festival: Making Room at Indie Memphis 2021
Ferny & LucasEach year, films from the “Big 5” film festivals—Cannes, Venice, Berlinale, Sundance, and Toronto—pour into regional festivals across the United States, where programmers reorient them according to their respective audiences or, in more unsavory cases, nothing more than their personal taste. Many regional festivals prioritize the same sure-fire hits, leaving fewer slots for original premieres or local films. That approach might make sense for states with scarce or no arthouse exhibition, but feels redundant in New York and Los Angeles, where festivals compensate for that short window of exclusivity by bringing more filmmakers, cast, and crew to their audiences than most of their midwest or southern counterparts can afford. NYFF, Telluride, SXSW, and their less-financed imitators neglect opportunities to cultivate regional talent and showcase smaller, idiosyncratic films that may better represent their communities. Miriam Bale, the artistic director of Indie Memphis Film Festival, put it plainly, “Other festivals
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