TUPELO – Film buffs and friends of Mantachie native Casey Spradling honored their friend at the Link Centre on Sunday. Spradling, 31, collapsed and died July 18, while in Jackson working on the film, “The Hollars.”
Casey Dillard and Glenn Payne met Spradling about five years ago through working with West of Shake Rag, Tupelo’s improv comedy troupe. They said his personality and drive enabled him to be successful at what he loved.
“We were filming a movie and using him as part of the crew, and it became apparent very quickly that he was someone you wanted to have around. He was such a creative person, a storyteller, whether he was producing something or just having a conversation with you,” Dillard said.
Looking around at Spradling’s photography that lined the walls, Payne agreed.
Payne said Spradling’s work ethic gained him a reputation that led to work for ESPN, the Food Network, American Idol, and more. Spradling also took part in over two dozen films.
“He was one of the hardest workers I’ve ever met,” he said. “He could mix and mingle with anyone.”
After reminiscing over food provided by local restaurants, a live auction was held to benefit the Casey Spradling Memorial Endowment Fund, to provide awards and grants for filmmakers, as well as the Casey Spradling Memorial Scholarship Fund, which will provide scholarships for filmmakers.
Following the auction, friends and relatives of Spradling shared their memories, while a slideshow of Spradling’s films and YouTube videos were displayed in the Link Centre’s Black Box theater throughout the event.
Contributions to the endowment and scholarship unds should be written to the CREATE Foundation Inc., at P.O. Box 1053, Tupelo, MS 38802, and should be specifically noted to go to either the scholarship or endowment fund.