Memphis Film Prize 2018 - Prize Presentation - David Merrill, Ricky D. Smith, Kevn Brooks, Gregory Kallenberg (Photo by Wildman)
Memphis Film Prize 2018 – Prize Presentation – David Merrill, Ricky D. Smith, Kevn Brooks, Gregory Kallenberg (Photo by Wildman)

Last Day directed by Kevin Brooks is the winner of the 3rd annual Memphis Film Prize, along with the Film Prize’s coveted top award of $10,000 cash.  Brooks’s Last Day centered on the plight of a young man facing a sentencing for a crime he did not commit, and the manner in which he and his wife deal with that potentially devastating news, while shielding it from their young daughter. The short film featured exemplary performances by Ricky D. Smith as the father and Rosalyn R. Ross as the mother.

Last Day was also one of four films among the ten finalists to be helmed by black filmmakers that also dealt with timely socio-economic and political topics in a dynamic and affecting manner (including Daniel R. Ferrell’s Dean’s List, Will Robbins’s Minority, and Jaron S. Lockridge’s The Stix).

“In our third year, the Memphis Film Prize films, once again, raised the bar in both ambition, vision, and technical skill, so Kevin and the cast and crew of Last Day sincerely earned our $10,000 prize,” said Gregory Kallenberg, founder and executive director of the Film Prize Foundation. “This year showed remarkable growth both in the number of filmmaker submissions, as well as the number of audience members turning out to watch the films and cast their votes. It’s become very clear that Memphis has embraced our mission at the Film Prize to inspire great filmmaking, and then reward it in a very direct and profitable way.”

This year, the rapidly growing event nearly doubled their audience numbers from last year with close to 1300 people attending the screenings throughout the weekend in Memphis. In three short years, Memphis Film Prize has not simply rewarded the winning films with their famously large checks, but has also influenced other film festivals to offer filmmakers more concrete benefits, be it cash prizes or paid residencies.

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