Memphis-born Independent filmmaker Eddie Bailey’s Memphis Majic traces the rise of “Jookin’,” an urban dance born on the streets of Memphis. Bailey, a passionate social activist, saw the homegrown art form as the perfect opportunity to frame his feature-length documentary through a lens of social justice.
“I am interested in local community empowerment. I’m interested in historical truth and in learning more about history and how history has played a part in the development of this country.”
So how does a film about dance manage to cross over to become an inspiring and crowd-pleasing film about social justice? That’s the magic of Memphis Majic. Bailey deftly juxtaposes the evolution of Jookin’ against the racially charged history of Memphis and the current sociopolitical environment left in its wake.
“The role of an Independent filmmaker is to go out there and make films and be unashamedly truthful. Be truthful and make films that mean something, that could possibly change lives and outlooks on things.”
Bailey uses the global popularity of Jookin’ to serve as a vehicle for the world to discover the rich and dramatic history of Memphis and the vibrant creativity of its African-American community today. His hope is that by raising awareness and appreciation of the dance, opportunities for young African-American artists will grow.
“The Black American struggle is specific to Black America, but it’s also, in a universal sense, a human struggle, and everybody can relate to that. I think that one of the better ways to [communicate] that is through the medium of film.”
Memphis Majic made its broadcast debut on Documentary Showcase, a platform featuring the works of Independent filmmakers dedicated to making a positive impact on the world through their films, and is airing around the world on Scientology Network.
“Documentary Showcase is important because it gives filmmakers like myself an opportunity to show their film on a bigger platform so that the world can see it … a platform that will show films of integrity, socially conscious films … and when that happens, ‘majic’ can happen.”
Bailey’s next documentary is in production right now, but he’s keeping its subject matter tightly under wraps. For Independent filmmakers, getting films made can be an existential struggle even in the best of times, so how has Bailey’s work been impacted by the pandemic and lockdown?
“The pandemic in my opinion hasn’t slowed me down. A lot of things that I do, I do from Zoom now. You know, you don’t get the same quality that you would if you hired a crew, but there are ways that you can still be creative and still get your concept or your film out there. You just have to do it in other ways, in a way that is significant to the times that we’re in.”
Fundamental to Scientology is a humanitarian mission that extends to some 200 nations with programs for human rights, human decency, literacy, morality, drug prevention and disaster relief. For this reason, the Scientology Network provides a platform for Independent filmmakers who embrace a vision of building a better world.
DOCUMENTARY SHOWCASE debuts films weekly from award-winning Independent filmmakers whose goal is to improve society by raising awareness of social, cultural and environmental issues.
For more information, visit scientology.tv/docs.
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