The Tupelo Film Festival is taking the celebration of film out of a dark movie theater and taking it all over downtown.
This year’s festival features a record number of films and visiting filmmakers, four bands, additional parties, workshops and exhibits, all in just four days.
“We have over 67 films, and we have all genres: music, animation, documentaries, student films, features, shorts,” said festival director Pat Rasberry. “We have a lot of the filmmakers coming in from all over the States.”
The Tupelo Film Festival kicks off with a free teaser night Wednesday.
“We’ll have a short, a documentary and an indie film,” Rasberry said.
The short is “The Purple Hat,” based on a Eudora Welty story. The documentary is “DayDreaming on My Cotton Sack,” an autobiographical film about Mississippi inventor John W. Campbell, who’s also the brother of blues great Little Milton. The indie film is “Where I Begin,” filmed in Oxford and co-written by Oxford Eagle reporter Melanie Addington.
The official festival kick-off is Thursday on the courthouse lawn. Latin band Cucho and Los Papis will perform, and the Oscar-nominated documentary “Waste Land” will be screened.
The music video competition will take place then, with the winner being judged by audience applause, Rasberry said.
Full days of films
The festival gets serious Friday.
At the GumTree Museum of Art will be an exhibit featuring the work of Mississippi costume designer Luster Bayless.
The films begin screening at noon and include short films, animation and documentaries.
Friday night wraps at Goodlett Manor, with a block of horror movies and performance by Tupelo horror punk band Astrocasket.
Saturday morning is full of workshops.
Make-up artist Brandon “Scott” Murphree will host a special effects workshop at 9 a.m., and the Pied Pipers will host a “To Do and What Not to Do” children’s acting workshop at 8:30 a.m.
The films begin screening at 12:15 p.m. at The Lyric. Features include “Splatter: Love, Honor and Paintball,” a comedy about a paintball tournament.
A special block of criminal and justice-related movies will be screened in a courtroom at the Lee County Justice Center at 4 p.m. Saturday, Rasberry said.
The awards party closes the festival. This year, in addition to the Ron Tibbett Award, a director’s award will be given. The award is named for Elvin Whitesides, a Tupelo filmmaker.
“It’s a fun, fun, fun film festival,” Rasberry said, and noted the Tupelo celebration has been voted one of the top 10 small film festivals in the country. “To get that news, it just makes you feel good.”
Tupelo Film Festival
– When: May 11-May 14
– Where: Most screenings are at The Lyric, with other screenings at Goodlett Manor and the Justice Center.
– Cost: $30/weekend pass, $15/day pass, $7.50/seniors and students. Horror block party for non-ticket holders is $5.
– Info: tupelofilmfestival.net has a downloadable program.
Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal