By Sheena Barnett
TUPELO – The Tupelo Film Festival is “graduating,” and now comes with a new venue, dates and leadership.
The festival has been headed by Tupelo Film Commissioner Pat Rasberry for all of its 10-year history, and it was always held in May at the Lyric and various other locations downtown.
Next year, the festival will be under the Tupelo Film Festival Society with a new director who has not been named yet, at the Malco in Tupelo and will take place April 17-19.
Raspberry, who is also the in-market strategist for the Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the move shows growth for the festival.
“The festival is graduating,” she said. “Simply (the CVB) is no longer an event-running business. Now the festival has grown to an entity of its own, and the festival advisory board is very proud of it.”
Rasberry will still be a part of the festival, but many duties are being transferred to the society, which includes the society board president Roy Turner.
“We’ve helped it grow and would like to see it grow. The submissions keep getting better and better,” Turner said. “It’s very fine entertainment for a very affordable price.”
The switch to the Malco will help the festival save money, Turner said, and the new April dates will be more accommodating. The previous May dates were usually around final exams and graduations.
The Tupelo Film Festival will also include the Mississippi High School Film Competition, which was previously a separate event.
Other film events founded through the Tupelo Film Commission have changed hands, too.
The Indie Film Series is now being handled by the Link Centre, which screens the films once a month in its Black Box Theatre.
The Manhattan Short Film Festival will be a part of the Film Festival Society, and the Movies in the Park will be handled by the Tupelo Film Alliance, a group of area filmmakers.
Submissions are now open for the Tupelo Film Commission.
There’s a special early bird rate now through early October. For details, visit tupelofilmfestival.net.