By Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – The board of the Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau voted Monday to hand off control of the Tupelo Film Festival.
The decision came as part of the board’s unanimous approval of new marketing strategies recommended by consultant Berkeley Young.
“The CVB does not need to be running events,” said Neal McCoy, executive director of the Tupelo CVB. “Events are great pep rallies for the community, but the CVB is better served with supporting events and not producing them.”
The Tupelo CVB started the festival and has operated it for nine years. McCoy said he’d like to see a local group, like the Tupelo Film Alliance, take over the event.
“We’d still support it, but we want to put it in the hands of someone else,” he said.
Pat Rasberry is the director of the Tupelo Film Commission, which falls under the umbrella of the CVB. She currently produces the annual film festival, in addition to assisting film crews and filmmakers seeking locations in the area.
“Pat’s getting more location requests from filmmakers and that’s taking up more of her time,” McCoy said. “That’s where the focus should be for her – not just the three-day festival that we do.”
Rasberry also is the newly-elected president of the Tupelo Film Alliance, which has about 30 active members.
“The Tupelo Film Alliance just got started last year and it’s in its infancy,” she told the board. “It’s not strong. I’ve talked with them and they aren’t interested in taking over the festival” right now.
McCoy stressed that the hand off will be done over a transitional period. He didn’t say how long he thought it would take. He said the board would discuss it more at its August retreat and planning session.
Added board member Jeff Snyder, “If we pass it off, we should make sure that we hand it off to an organization that will maintain it and keep it around for years. I don’t want to hand it off and give money to an organization that won’t treat it right.”