'It takes an army': Tupelo Film Alliance up and running

TUPELO – Saturday mornings might mean a few hours of laziness for most, but for the members of the Tupelo Film Alliance, it’s a time for networking, discussing ideas and making plans.
Aimed to support filmmakers in Tupelo and Mississippi, the Tupelo Film Alliance is made up of more than 35 directors, writers, actors, producers, editors, set designers, make-up artists, and movie fans. Tupelo Film Commissioner Pat Rasberry started the group in February, and since then members from West Point, Aberdeen, Pearl and Collierville, Tenn., have been driving to Tupelo for the monthly meetings.
“It’s an alliance,” Rasberry said. “That’s one of the reasons we wanted to do this, was to incorporate film enthusiasts and filmmakers from Tupelo and beyond that. We have people here who are writers, producers, who work in sound, editing, all of the elements of film, and film enthusiasts. It’s very open.”
This past Saturday, the alliance gathered to discuss the art of storyboarding with Chuck McIntosh, who presented the storyboards for his short film, “Most Changed.”
The alliance’s vice president, David Collins, said the group is the beginning of a blossoming film community for Tupelo and the region.
“This is planting seeds. We’ve got to plant a lot of seeds in the beginning, and the timing is critical,” he said, noting the growth the region has seen lately.
Members do not have to have any kind of film experience to join. In fact, Rasberry said she welcomes students who want to take on apprenticeship jobs on film sets.
Pre-meeting chatter at the most recent meeting involved everything from movie recommendations to shooting locales in Memphis and Mississippi, but the talk afterward revolved around plans – workshops, film shoots and movie screenings.
Collins is inspired by the enthusiasm of the alliance members.
“I’d like to see a work force that’s competent and experienced that can work with an incoming film crew or can work on original pieces,” he said.
On the alliance’s agenda is setting up monthly workshops in the various areas of filmmaking, and those should begin later this fall.
The group also is promoting the Film Mississippi car tag and has many more projects in the works.
“It’s a long time in coming,” Collins said. “It takes an army of people, and the fun will come in seeing the metamorphosis.”
sheena.barnett@journalinc.com

To Join
THE TUPELO FILM ALLIANCE welcomes anyone from those who work in film to film enthusiasts. The group meets the fourth Saturday of every month at the Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau. The next two meetings are Sept. 24 and Oct. 22. For more information, call Pat Rasberry at (662) 841-6521 or email prasberry@tupelo.net.

Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal