David Merrill is that guy you run into at every networking event. Even though I spent years trying to get away from the the film business (although I have gotten pulled back in a few times by Craig Brewer), I have kept up with a lot of what has what happened over the past decade in Memphis through our friendship. When I was doing 48 Hour Pitches at Emerge, he was starting Fuel Film and had an office in the building. When StartCo moved to their new offices at 88 Union, he managed to score an office with them in the center of all the start-up action. Whenever a new production is scouting in town, he always has the lowdown on who the players are and how to get involved.
The latest news is that FuelFilm has joined forces with Film Prize Foundation and Executive Director Gregory Kallenberg to launch the Memphis Film Prize, a brand-new short film competition and festival. The winner of the prize will take home $10,000 in cash with a chance at $50,000 more by simply making a short film. c.
Here’s their pitch:
The Memphis Film Prize (MemphisFilmPrize.com), which combines elements of a film contest and festival, invites filmmakers from all over the world to create and present a 5-15 minute short film with just one rule – it must be shot in Shelby County, TN. Filmmakers may shoot their films beginning the night of the launch event on February 18th, but must finish by midnight on June 14th when a rough cut of the films are due to contest organizers. From the eligible submissions, ten filmmakers will be chosen to participate in the Memphis Film Prize Festival on August 12-14, 2016 and, through a jury vote and a public vote, will vie for a $10,000 cash prize. The festival will be held in conjunction with the long-standing On Location: MEMPHIS International Film & Music Festival, and FuelFilm will work to assist filmmakers and to promote the Prize.
“The Memphis Film Prize presents a great opportunity for filmmakers and for the city of Memphis, to foster emerging talent and incentivize filmmaking while continuing to expand a network of film industry connections started by the Louisiana Film Prize.” said David Merrill of FuelFilm.
In addition to the Memphis Grand Prize of $10,000, the winning filmmaker will advance to compete at the Louisiana Film Prize Festival (September 30-October 2) in Shreveport, La, for a chance at an additional $50,000 grand prize – the largest cash prize for a short film in the world.
“We are incredibly excited to bring the Film Prize to one of my favorite cities in the country,” said Gregory Kallenberg, founder and Executive Director of the Film Prize Foundation. “Memphis has an amazing vibe and has a rich history in independent filmmaking. We can’t wait to see the amazing work that will come out of the Memphis FIlm Prize.”
The Louisiana Film Prize 2015 garnered a record 127 submissions from around the world including cities like Los Angeles, Boston, Houston, Chicago, and Cairo, Egypt. Over 1,000 people participated in the production of Film Prize projects, and, over time, Film Prize Foundation hopes to bring a similar outcome to Memphis. These productions, along with the festival weekend, yielded over $7 million in economic benefit for the Shreveport-Bossier area since it’s inaugural year in 2012.
Visit MemphisFilmPrize.com to learn more information about the Louisiana Film Prize contest and festival. The deadline for submissions is June 14, 2016.