A Tupelo native returns home to make his first feature film

TUPELO – Tupelo isn’t 12th century Canterbury, but then again, Michael David Perkins doesn’t want 12th century Canterbury.
Although Canterbury is where his full-length feature film, “Becket 2,” takes place, Perkins is using Tupelo as a backdrop to create his unique view of the English city.
His Canterbury is full of skateboards, computers and philosophical talk – the stage Perkins and his small film crew set up at the Lifeblood Skate Shop at Ballard Park on Tuesday morning.
His main character, Prometheus, is “a former apprentice of Thomas Becket, who is a skate shop owner. He finds a VHS cassette tape that makes him question his existence.”
Tuesday morning, the crew filmed a scene between Prometheus, played by Perkins’ brother Nate, and Billy, played by Andrew Whitaker, 26, of Baldwyn. In the scene, the pair have a philosophical conversation before heading out for a skate. The crew filmed in and around Ballard Park on Tuesday.
Perkins’ vision
Perkins, 26, of Tupelo, brought in his classmates from the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Ga., as his crew and hired his pals from Tupelo to star in the film.
“Becket 2” is a sequel to a short film he shot while in high school, which will be included in its sequel. Perkins is pulling triple duty as writer, director and producer.
“It’s a metaphysical comedy,” Perkins said. “It’s a joke on sequels.”
Perkins knew he wanted to shoot in his hometown.
“I chose Tupelo because I knew what was available, and it’s practical working on a small budget,” he said. Besides Ballard Park, the crew has filmed scenes in downtown Tupelo and will travel to shoot at Enid Lake today.
The film is scheduled to wrap Saturday after a 10-day shoot, and Perkins has set aside 10 weeks for editing. Both of those time frames are especially short for a full-length feature, but working with his classmates and friends makes the work easy.
Perkins said the film’s budget is small, and he’s fine with that.
“You utilize what you have available to you. I’m not interested in a high production value,” he said. “What interests me is the reality of the performances.”
Perkins is also editing his full-length documentary, “Beaumont,” which is about memory and family history.
Once work on “Becket 2” is complete, Perkins will submit the movie to festivals.
“I know an audience will connect with it, but I don’t know where that audience is or how they’ll find it,” he said. “You never can tell how a film will connect to an audience.”

Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal

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