Indie Memphis’ Black Independence Film Series, through partnership with Rhodes College and the Brooks Museum, is showcasing this fall work from the past 50 years by some of the world’s most significant Black independent filmmakers. Set in locations such as Senegal, Paris, New York, South Central Los Angeles, and the South Carolina coast, most of the films will be screened for the first time in Memphis.
“Hyenas” (1992) by Senegalese director Djibril Diop Mambéty is one of the films that will be shown at Rhodes. It is described as “a film of sinister, mocking laughter, and a biting satire of a contemporary Senegal whose post-colonial dreams are faced with erosion by western materialism.” Free and open to the public, the screening (with English subtitles) will be held Sunday, Oct. 6, at 5 p.m. in Blount Auditorium. It also will feature an introduction and a post-screen discussion by Rhodes French professors Dr. Abou Bakar Mamah and Dr. Laura Loth. Mamah will also introduce the screening of “Soleil O” at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 18, at Malco Ridgeway.
“Since last spring when French director Amandine Gay returned to Rhodes for a master class and a repeat screening of her documentary “Speak Up,” I had been discussing the possibility of collaborating on a series of international films by Black filmmakers with Miriam Bale, the senior programmer for Indie Memphis,” says Loth about Rhodes involvement in the film series. “The goal is to give viewers in Memphis access to rarely seen, yet foundational, films in Black cinema and to provide, with introductions and post-screening conversations, some context and conversation around these important films.”
The free screening of “Hyenas” is sponsored by Rhodes’ French and Francophone Studies, Africana Studies, and Film and Media Studies programs.
Indie Memphis’ Black Independence Film Series is an offshoot of the Black Creators Forum that Bale initiated in 2018 as part of the Indie Memphis Film Festival. “Viewers can expect to be introduced to films that challenge Hollywood and European representations of Black people and display a diversity of thematic choices and visual styles. The older films selected for the festival are not usually seen on the big screen and have been newly restored,” says Loth.
In past years, Rhodes student filmmakers have contributed films to the Indie Memphis Film Festival, with several winning awards. “Hyenas” is the first screening of an Indie Memphis film on campus as part of its programming. Current Rhodes students are strongly encouraged to attend the festival’s other screenings around town, and should contact Loth for tickets.
For the list of all films shown as part of the Black Independence Film Series, visit here.