Small town suspense Tupelo director Glenn Payne premieres new film, ‘Zion’

By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal

Picture it: three sheets hanging on a laundry line in the woods. A brilliant white sheet is hung perfectly, but a dirty sheet is messily clothes-pinned to the line. The final sheet is stained with bright red blood, and is haphazardly hanging on.
That’s the dramatic poster for Tupelo director Glenn Payne’s new short film, “Zion.” Payne is hosting the short’s world premiere next week at the Malco.
“It’s a story about a rural family, and a tragedy that strikes them,” Payne said. “They live in a different world we’re not used to, a broken world.”
Payne’s reluctant to say much more than that. He doesn’t want to give away the ending to the suspense thriller.
“The feeling is, hopefully, early M. Night Shyamalan,” Payne, 29, said.
“Zion” was written by Tupelo screenwriter Erica Montgomery and stars Amye Gousset, Kenny Cook, Ashton Waters, Aleigh Farris and Todd Barnett. Many other Tupelo and North Mississippi filmmakers helped out on the short, including special effects master Brandon Murphree, director of photography Michael Williams, gaffer Jason Lively and Casey Spradling on sound. They’ll be on hand for a Q&A session after the screening.
The short was filmed over three days in Mantachie.
Two of Payne’s other short films, “Curtain Call” and “The Fall of Henry,” will be screened, too. DVDs of the films will be available, and proceeds from the screening will be used to send “Zion” to film festivals.
Payne’s got a busy month: In addition to the premiere of “Zion,” he’ll be performing in this weekend’s West of Shake Rag show, and a collection of his paintings is going on the walls at The Parlor at Devilish Mary’s.
Oh, and he’s working on the script to a crime thriller feature film, “Pumpkin Eater,” with his fellow film and West of Shake Rag buddy, Casey Dillard.
“It’s dramatic, but with funny moments,” he said of the script. “It’s like a Coen brothers movie.”
There’s that idea, but there are a million more to follow them. “Zion” is, after all, Payne’s 15th film, and he has more ideas than he has time to execute them.
“I’m trying to figure out what one’s next,” he said. “I have five scripts in my head, and they’re all fighting to become next.”

Dim the lights
What: World premiere of Glenn Payne’s short film, “Zion”

When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Malco, Tupelo
Cost: $7


Extra: “Zion” isn’t rated, but Payne said it would be PG-13.

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