Official Selection, Sundance Film Festival 2014
A strange singer with “god given talent” drifts through the mythic city of Memphis under its canopy of ancient oak trees, shattered windows, and burning spirituality. Surrounded by lovers, legends, hustlers, preachers, and a wolfpack of kids, the unstable performer avoids the recording studio and is driven to spend time in his own form of self-discovery. Shown in fragments, his journey drags him from love and happiness right to the edge of another dimension. Featuring an explosive performance and score from the singular recording artist-cum-wizard, Willis Earl Beal, MEMPHIS is a film steeped in folklore, music, surrealism, and the abstract search for glory.
It is legend in Memphis that a blessed and cursed singer by the name of O.V. Wright fell from grace and was buried in an unmarked grave. I learned of his myth around the same time I was brought to Peace Baptist Church, and witnessed a deep spirituality as ancient as the oak trees that dress every street in the city. A true believer in ghost stories and a scholar of African American studies, I was drawn to tell my own folk tale, and there was only one place on my mind. Our film captures the descent of a troubled singer as he drifts through an urban landscape looking to save his very soul. We surrounded ourselves with real Memphians and made a film that hopes to project a cool, beautiful world – as old as dirt and yet entirely new, and deserved of the title MEMPHIS.
Written and Directed by Tim Sutton.
Cast: Willis Earl Beal, Lopaka Thomas, Constance Brantley, Devonte Hull, John Gary Williams, Larry Dodson Music by Willis Earl Beal. Digital. USA 79 mins.
Official Site is Here.