Filmmaker Craig Brewer Says ‘Hooray’ for Hollywood Film Festival

The awards portion of the annual Hollywood Film Festival, running at the Arclight Cinemas October 20-24, has its fair share of detractors. Most notably grand poobah David Poland, who each year takes a running jump at the ceremony’s transparent, self-serving mechanics.

But the wholly separate film festival has done a lot of good over the years, including way back in 2000, when the event showcased then-unknown Craig Brewer. With the Footloose remake currently in theaters, Brewer will be in town tomorrow night for a tribute Q&A and special screening of a restored version of his early drama The Poor and the Hungry. He spoke with Sean O’Connell, lead journalist for festival founder Carlos de Abreu‘s spinoff website, about how critical the early HFF support was:

“I remember getting a call from Carlos saying that he wanted to show it in the digital showcase. It was a huge deal for me. Some people dream of Sundance and other festivals. For me, with the size of this movie, it just felt like some validation that somebody outside of Memphis saw it and appreciated it. It was a fantastic experience. Probably one of the best of my life.”

Brewer tells O’Connell he spent $20,000 on the sound restoration and will be bringing to tomorrow night’s event the camera and handmade lights he used to shoot his 2000 tale of a Memphis car thief’s romance with a cellist. Very cool.