For release: October 10, 2011
For press information, contact Gabrielle Maxey, 901/678-2843
The University of Memphis College of Communication and Fine Arts will recognize William
“Willy” Bearden, acclaimed Memphis writer and filmmaker, with its 2011 Distinguished
Achievement Award in the Creative and Performing Arts.
William “Willy” Bearden
The award luncheon will be held Friday, Nov. 4, at 11:30 a.m. at the Rendezvous restaurant.
Reservations are required. Tickets are $50 per person or $400 for a table of 8. For
more information, or to purchase tickets, contact Patty Bladon at 901-678-4372 or
Sara Rose at 901-678-5086. Tickets may also be purchased online.
As a filmmaker, Bearden may be best known for his popular Memphis Memoirs series about
local history. His films Overton Park: A Century of Change, Elmwood: Reflections of Memphis, and Playing for a Piece of the Door: A History of Garage Bands in Memphis continue to draw viewers when they air on public television.
His first feature film was One Came Home, set in Mississippi just after World War II. It tells the story of a con artist who
preys on a Mississippi family by posing as a wartime friend of the family’s son, who
was killed in action in Europe.
Bearden produces commercials, educational and corporate films for such clients as
the Blues Foundation, the Cotton Museum, the Elvis Presley Birthplace Museum, FedEx,
the West Clinic, and the Memphis Wonders Series. He also is an event producer, staging
productions like the annual W.C. Handy Blues Music Awards.
Bearden has also served as chairperson and presenter for the U of M’s popular annual
“The Delta – Everything Southern!” conference.
The Distinguished Achievement Award, established in 1979 in memory of Elvis Presley,
recognizes outstanding career achievement and contributions by artists associated
with Memphis and the Mid-South.
Sponsors include the Memphis Music Foundation, Carol and Mike Palazola, Elvis Presley
Charitable Foundation, Sam Phillips Recording/Knox Music Inc., FedEx Corp., the Memphis
and Shelby County Film and Television Commission, and Charles Vergos Rendezvous