Tupelo film fest kicks off

By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – The ninth annual Tupelo Film Festival kicked off Thursday night under the stars, with screenings of films all about Tupelo.
The Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau-sponsored short, “Tupelove,” and the documentary “The Church of Elvis” were screened on the courthouse lawn to an overflow of film fans and filmmakers. The festival continues this weekend with parties, film screenings and workshops.
“It’s one thing to make a film about Elvis, and another thing to come back and present the film in the town in which it was made,” said Scott Dobson, “The Church of Elvis” director. “it’s a great honor.”
Dobson, a Toronto, Canada-based filmmaker, shot the documentary in Tupelo. It tells the story of “Elvis’ spiritual journey and how that resonates today,” he said. The documentary, shown in three parts in Canada, was so popular that Dobson returned to Tupelo to film a fourth segment and may shoot a fifth in the future.
“It’s the first time to watch a film with the people who are in the film,” he said. “I hope they like it.”
International filmmakers like Dobson were able to meet local filmmakers like April Perea and Rex Harsin, who screened their films Wednesday night at the festival’s celebration of local and regional filmmakers.
“Last night was really special, getting to play the two films by local people,” Harsin said. “That’s what a local film festival is really good for, having the opportunity to show films like that.”
Whether it’s the workshops, movies or parties, Tupelo Film Festival Director Pat Rasberry invites film fans to see what the festival’s about.