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Innovation: the Soul of Memphis

Memphis has always been a city of innovators. W.C. Handy, Clarence Saunders, Sam Phillips, Elvis Presley, Kemmons Wilson, Jim Stewart, Isaac Hayes. Booker T Jones, Fred Smith, Alex Chilton, Pitt Hyde, Al Bell, Willie Mitchell … and this long list hardly scratches the surface.

Why have Memphians been able to innovate so successfully over the years? What is the secret? Is it in the water? Our schools? Our colleges and universities? Our politicians?

One reason that people often overlook is something that is often taken as a weakness, but is in fact one of our greatest strengths as a community. We are slightly out of the mainstream. Memphis is a place where people see the world differently and as a result are ready to take risks that others would dismiss as folly. We somehow feel freer to fail and sometimes succeed in spectacular, world-changing fashion.
Indie Memphis was founded 15 years ago as “The Soul of Southern Film,” and over the years has been recognized as “one of the 25 Coolest Film Festivals” by MovieMaker Magazine and a Top 20 Event by the Southeast Tourism Society. With the increasing digital convergence of film, music and interactive media it was only natural to introduce an innovation component into the festival.  So when Kevin Mireles of FedEx approached us last summer with an idea for how to get it done in time for this year's festival, we jumped at the chance. With the help of FedEx, Microsoft and LaunchMemphis, we've been able to put together a concentrated program that would be the envy of any media and technology conference and will be a springboard to engaging the entire community in the creativity and innovation that are part of the soul of Memphis.

We want everyone to realize that part of the creative soul of the city consists of smart people doing smart things. That’s something Memphians and our guests will experience when they come to these innovation conversations. And we hope people will stay to experience the wealth of independent voices in film and music from all over Memphis and all over the world.
Don’t miss your chance to participate in the 15th Annual Indie Memphis Film Festival presented by Duncan-Williams, Inc. Get your passes and tickets now at

-- Iddo Patt, Indie Memphis board president

Photo by Adam Hohenberg.

About Indie Memphis: One of the city's core arts institutions, Indie Memphis connects and inspires indie filmmakers and film-lovers through the unique creative landscape that is the home of the Blues and the birthplace of Rock 'n' Roll. Now entering its 15th year, the 501(c)3 non-profit organization is a two-time Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences grant recipient, receives project support from the Tennessee Arts Commission, and is the only film organization to receive annual funding from ArtsMemphis.


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The latest news from the Greater Memphis Chamber. For more information, contact Director of Communications Christina Meek at (901) 543-3504 ( or Communications Specialist Jenny C. Fish at (901) 543-3558 (