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The Filmmakers of the Future Rise at Indie Memphis Film Festival ‘22


By Roger Costa


Making her feature length directorial debut, writer/director/editor Elizabeth Ayuki’s compelling drama follows the daily struggles of a Black woman dealing with a patriarchal system and some dysfunctional behavior. While working hard to get a promotion at her car-dealer business, Mya frequently attends a recovery program for eating disorder. But as the film evolves, we learn that her anxiety and trauma come from other sources, a more familiar ground. Anchored by a moving, passionate and enigmatic performance by A’Keyah Dasia Williams, this efficient, timely micro-budget drama reveals the incredible potential of both its director and star. They leave an impressive mark, proving to be ready to reach the next level, they are indeed ready to claim the spotlight. Punctuated by Mya’s attempts to overcome her social fears, loneliness, mental and eating disorder, as well as the mysterious trauma that constant haunts her, and developed through her interactions with her exploitive co-workers and tempestuous boss, her estranged sister and a bartender who becomes a risky flirtatious case, director Ayuki composes an impactful and heartbreaking portrait of female perseverance and resilience in a world taken by male dominance. It’s a satisfying and utterly confidant debut that gives indie-realistic genre a new boost.

(Screens 10/22 at Studio on the Square).


Beautifully shot in B&W, this upbeat, sincere and adventurous romcom subtly embraces issues related to Millennials with positive results. Masterly crafted by director Eric Younger, the film addresses ambition, love, friendship and loyalty through the singular universe of a youngster who returns home aiming to establish a name for himself with an unusual business of recording people’s memories. When his car (borrowed from his uncle) gets stolen with all his working tools, he is granted his ex-girlfriend’s mercy, who joins him in a dangerous road trip in order to restore the stolen goods. Younger extracts charming, convincing performances from the pair of protagonists, while demonstrating his unique approach and artistry: elegance, ambiguity and sensuality predominate in his work, with the use of classical music as an attractive conductor to the narrative, the thought-provoking dialogue exploring male and female perspectives, the precise editing and atmospheric/contemplative cinematography, and infusing mysterious, horror-like elements. He proves he is a natural auteur investigating the aspirations, goals and anxieties of his generation with a great, high-scale sense of sophisticated entertainment.

(Screens 10/23 at Studio on the Square).


Bold and humane, charismatic and cynical, multi-tasker Kit Zauhar’s debut reveals the sensibility of a young, emerging filmmaker who understands the world around her. Written, directed and starring herself, the film lively revives the feeling of being young and delusional while seeking your place in the world. About to get out of college and uncertain of what the future holds, Riley, an Asian-American girl is experiencing a series of misadventures and misfortunes but remaining strong to herself and her pursuit of fulfillment. Having trouble to finalize her exams, dealing with a vaginal infection, miscommunicating with the one-time lover turned roommate, and being ignored by her most promising crush, Riley is persistent though lacks motivation, and at one point she must return to her roots to find remedy. Influenced by the rhythms of Woody Allen and Eric Rohmer, this is a very funny, perceptive, fresh and touching comedy that digs deep in what it feels to be a young female in our competitive, messed-up world.

(Screens 10/23 at Studio on the Square).

(The 25th Indie Memphis Film Festival runs October 19 thru 24 in various locations in Memphis, and available nationwide thru Streaming platforms. Go to for details.)

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