Indie Film Series kicks off with ‘Age of Champions’

By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal

A movie lover’s dream: a dark theater with a film lighting up the silver screen, complete with popcorn and a soda.
The Indie Film Series, presented by the Tupelo Film Commission, gives movie lovers just that, plus the opportunity to chat with the filmmaker, all for $5.
“It provides a personal, intimate feeling, to be able to have that opportunity to actually get to visit with the filmmaker,” said Tupelo Film Commission’s Pat Rasberry.
Most of the films in this year’s line-up are documentaries; one is a feature.
The first film screened in the series is “Age of Champions,” a documentary about senior Olympians, directed by Christopher Rufo. He’ll come in from Sacramento, Calif., for the screening this Tuesday at the Black Box Theatre at the Link Centre.
“Age of Champions” follows a group of Olympians, including a 100-year-old tennis champ, a group of basketball-playing grandmas and an 86-year-old pole vaulter.
On Oct. 23, “The Entertainers,” directed by Michael Zimmer, will screen at the Black Box.
The documentary is about musicians battling to win the title of World’s Greatest Old-Time Piano Player, and the musicians featured include ragtime “professors,” a teen piano phenom and a hearing-impaired administrative assistant.
Director Joshua Z. Weinstein’s doc, “Drivers Wanted,” takes a peek into New York City’s most famous taxi garage, where audiences meet the world’s oldest taxi driver. “Drivers Wanted” screens on Nov. 13.
“Trust: Second Acts in Young Lives,” directed by Nancy Kelly, is about an 18-year-old Honduran immigrant whose traumatic story is turned into an original play. The doc screens Feb. 26.
The series’ feature film, “The MisAdventures of the Dunderheads,” directed by D.G. Brock, stars “Community” star Alison Brie, Olympia Dukakis and Haley Joel Osment. In the film, Grandmother Ira (Dukakis) is raising her teenage grandkids, Womple (Osment) and Ella (Brie), when Womple accidentally kills his best friend. The trio take off to Canada for Ira’s fantasy idea of a safe haven in this comedy.
The final selection in the Indie Film Series is “Heart of Stone,” directed by Beth Toni Kruvant, screening on April 23.
The documentary is about one principal’s journey to turn his high school, overrun with gangs, back to its former glory.
The Tupelo Film Commission teamed with South Arts to bring in each of these films and their filmmakers for every screening.
“Where else can you go for $5 to see a film, get popcorn and a Coke and meet the filmmaker?” Rasberry said. “We encourage everyone to build an evening around it: Get dinner and come see the movies.”
sheena.barnett@journalinc.com