TUPELO – Five days full of more than 50 films are on schedule for the 10th anniversary of the Tupelo Film Festival.
Documentaries, feature films, short movies, animated films and music videos from all over the world will grace the big screen in Tupelo next week, and plenty of filmmakers will be in attendance to meet and greet fans.
“There are a lot of diverse things going on,” said Tupelo Film Commissioner and festival director Pat Rasberry. “There are great films and wonderful stories.”
The festival kicks off May 15 at the Malco Theater in Tupelo with a screening of the “The Fallen Faithful,” starring “Vegas” actor Sonny Marinelli, who is scheduled to make an appearance.
Producer P.J. Leonard will be there too, and Paul Thorn will perform, Rasberry said.
Festival selections will hit the screen at The Lyric at 12:30 p.m. May 16. The official kick-off party is in front of The Lyric at 6:30, featuring music by 2 Drink Minimum. The film “Pride and Joy,” which includes Jackson chef Geno Lee, will be screened.
“He’ll be there cooking his pig ear sandwiches,” Rasberry said, alongside local vendors. Music videos will also be shown and audiences can vote for their favorite.
“Bring a lawn chair or blanket and prepare for a nice evening on the grounds,” Rasberry said.
Documentaries and shorts will be shown at The Lyric at 12:30 p.m. on May 17 and continue through 7:30 p.m. Then, the party moves to Goodlett Manor for A Touch of Jazz, a screening party for “Bob Barry: Jazzography in Black and White.”
Barry is a renowned jazz photographer and he’ll be at the party. Fifteen of his photos – all of them framed, signed and numbered – will be up for auction.
“They are all black and white, all extremely gorgeous,” Rasberry said.
Jazz musicians Brian “Breeze” Cayolle and Bob Sundra will perform.
Films will begin screening at 9 a.m. May 18 at The Lyric.
To celebrate both 10 years of the film fest and 40 years of Mississippi filmmaking, Dixon McDowell will present a discussion on screenwriter Horton Foote at 10 a.m. May 18 at the Lee County Courthouse. The event includes a screening of “Tomorrow,” a 1960 Robert Duvall film that was made in Tupelo and based on a short story by William Faulkner. Foote wrote the screenplay for the film. The event is free.
Winners of the Mississippi High School Film Competition will be screened at noon May 18, and the awards ceremony is slated for 8 p.m. The best of show award, named for Mississippi film enthusiast Ron Tibbett, will be awarded, as will the Elvin Whitesides Director’s Award.
The festival wraps on May 19, with a screening of the documentary “Muscle Shoals,” about the city’s music history, at 7 p.m. at the Malco in Tupelo. The movie will be screened here ahead of its theatrical release, which is the beauty of film festivals, Rasberry said.
“There are so many diverse films, and you’re getting exposure to indie films,” she said. “You never know which ones will hit the big screen.”
Tupelo Film Festival
WHAT: 10th annual Tupelo Film Festival
WHEN: May 15-19
WHERE: Most films will be screened at The Lyric, with a few at the Malco in Tupelo.
COST: $10/May 15 admission; $15/day pass for May 16-18; $7.50/day pass May 16-18 for seniors or students; $5/A Touch of Jazz event without a day pass; $10/May 19 admission; $35/all access pass
INFO: tupelofilmfestival.net, (662) 841-6521. Programs
are available online or at the Tupelo Convention and Visitors
SPECIAL EVENTS at the festival:
• 7 p.m. May 15: Tupelo premiere of “The Fallen Faithful,”
Malco in Tupelo
• 6:30 p.m. May 16: Kickoff party featuring music by 2 Drink Minimum, music video screenings and screening of “Pride & Joy,” Tupelo courthouse lawn
• 7:30 p.m. May 17: A Touch of Jazz, Goodlett Manor
• 10 a.m. May 18: “Memories: Tomorrow,” Lee County Courthouse
• 7 p.m. May 19: “Muscle Shoals” screening, Malco in
Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal