Last night, a funny thing happened. Corduroy Wednesday won the 2009 Best Hometowner Feature at this years festival. This makes their feature film, “The Conversion“, award winning. Why is that funny? Well, cause it wasn’t supposed to happen.
“The Conversion” was just to follow the growing trend in Memphis and just be a web series. Craig Brewer’s “$5 Dollar Cover” and Mark Jones’ “On The Edge of Happiness” had started the buzz and it looked like Corduroy’s latest idea would be simply become “me too” project. It was to premiere when the actual analog to digital tv single was going to be switched. The mutli-million dollar advertising campaign promoting the “Big Switch’ seemed ripe for the picking, but the trio would have to rush the production to meet date. Rushing a project as big as this independent series could cause the series to fold even it before itbegin, but thanks to the the public, the “Big Switch” got pushed back and Corduroy breathed a fresh breathe of air.
The series launched via YouTube and promoted each new episode on it’s Facebook fan page. Having cast several people within Memphis, it was destined to become a local hit. The gang was contacted by Indie Memphis and wanted to bring the series to their 2009 Southern Film Festival. It was thought it would join Craig’s and Mark’s series that played earlier that year in a unique category. My web series, “Chasing Daylight” would also join this category. What played out would surprise everyone.
The category never came to be and “The Conversion‘ found itself as a Hometowner Feature. This category was not new to Corduroy Wednesday. The group’s 2006 “Grim Sweeper” was thier first feature and sold out the premiere at that years Indie Memphis festival at Muvico (the film had to be moved to a larger screen just based on demand). Grim Sweeper was a film that played an important role to me personally and to sell out the premiere, was unbelieveable.
I had been part of the Corduroy Wednesday group from the beginning. We shared classes together and one day Erik shared the script of “Grim Sweeper” with me. After reading it, I threw myself at the project. Raised funds, got equipment, and was looking forward to getting my feet wet. Right before the project began, I got my current position and had to move to St. Louis. My involvement dwindled and my view of the process was limited to miniDV tapes that I received weekly. Editing a feature film took everything I had, but it was an amazing process.
Corduroy Wednesday lost that year, it was devastating to me since I poured everything I had into it. That drive back to St. Louis was the longest of my two years living there. I couldn’t help to blame myself for thier lost. I have since moved to Memphis, but my job had taken a good chunk of my free time and distanced from me from the group.
The last several days I tagged along with the gang as they jumped around the festival. Reminded me of times back in school. It was great. I especially loved it last night when they brought me in for the awards ceremony. Anticipation was huge. When they read “The Conversion” everyone went nuts. It was a great moment, one of which I am glad was shared with me.
However, Last night’s win for the gang was bittersweet. I was estatic for them, they have come along way since the days of Grim Sweeper. However, watching them win meant I lost. The trio is just that, a trio. The days of college are over, last night cemented that. It was a weird feeling. That said, I couldn’t me more proud of what they’ve done.
Do yourself a favor and come out the premiere of award winning “The Conversion.” You won’t be disappointed, that I promise.