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Poster for The Blues Society (2024)
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The Blues Society (2024)

Opens on May 4

Director: Augusta Palmer Run Time: 76 min. Rating: NR

Country: United States
Language: English

On Friday, May 3, 2024, Director Augusta Palmer will be in attendance for a screening and Q&A of her new film, The Blues Society (2024). Join us at 6:00pm for a happy hour in The Festival Lounge before the 7:00pm presentation. This screening is presented in part due to the support of Larry and Donna James and The Greater Columbus Film Commission. Learn more and get tickets.

About the film:

World Premiere, 2023 Indie Memphis Film Festival.

A new documentary about a forgotten festival. The Blues Society (2024) is a re-evaluation of the 1960s seen through the lens of the Memphis Country Blues Festival (1966-1969). It’s the story of Blues masters like Furry Lewis and Robert Wilkins, who had attained fame in the 1920s but were living in obscurity by the 1960s. It’s also the story of a group of white artists from the North and the South who created a celebration of African American music in a highly segregated city.

In her film, Dr. Augusta Palmer follows the festival from its start in 1966 as an impromptu happening, through a period of cross-pollinization with New York’s East Village scene, and up to the 1969 Festival, which mushroomed into a 3-day event and garnered substantial print and television coverage – including an appearance on Steve Allen’s national PBS show, Sounds of Summer. What is the legacy of the Memphis Country Blues Festival, and who do the blues belong to in 2020?

About the filmmaker:

Augusta Palmer makes music documentaries that unspool their stories from the bottom up rather than from the top down, using music as a critical path to the heart of history and culture. She is also an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Communication Arts at St. Francis College in Brooklyn. She holds a Ph.D. in Cinema Studies from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

As a documentarian, she is best known for her debut feature The Hand of Fatima (2009), a documentary about music, mysticism and family history which premiered at London’s Raindance Film Festival and was a New York Magazine Critic’s Pick. Her first fiction short, A is for Aye-Aye: An Abecedarian Adventure (2015) screened at children’s film festivals from New York to New Zealand. Her newest film, The Blues Society (2024), is a documentary about the Memphis Country Blues Festival of the 1960s, which was co-founded by her father, Robert Palmer.

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