Tupelo Film Fest Draws Small Crowds for First Day

15 May

By Melanie Addington

The crowds never picked up during the film festival today, however, a small audience enjoyed some pretty good movies screened at The Lyric as part of the fifth annual Tupelo Film Festival.

Today’s first film was one of my favorites. Melungeon Voices is a feature documentary about the Appalachian people of mixed ethnicity and sort of a historical look at where they came from and the trials they went through. Overall, a very thorough and enjoyable doc and you can look for my review at Oxfordfilmfreak in the next couple of days. Filmmaker Julie Dixon did a Q&A after the film.

Afterwards local filmmaker Russell Fox screened his animation short, Escape from 13 set at Vanelli’s Restaurant. Although the film suffered from a few technical glitches (the DVD froze in the beginning) the short was well made and quite entertaining. It screened with a 2 minute short titled, The Father, which was well shot and well acted but quite short so very little story line could be developed. At the end of the block was Forgotten Coast, Jamie Christensen Johnston’s amazing documentary that looks at the aftermath of Katrina on the coast of Mississippi and Alabama. The film focuses on the rebuilding process a year after the hurricane and some of the footage is shocking and unseen on any of the newscasts that focused on New Orleans. Forgotten Coast previously screened at the Oxford Film Festival in February.

After a Q&A with Russell Fox and Jamie Christensen Johnston, another block of films played. First up was The Miracle which I had originally put in my top ten list but felt the adaptation from the original story was over sentimentalized. Following that was Roses Are Greek by a young filmmaker. A non dialogue film that uses music to set the emotional appeal of the story, I felt it was ok.

Just when I was starting to give up on the short films, I got the chance to see Book of Wisdom by Canadian filmmaker Josh Kimmel. A delightful short comedy about a guy who is stepped on at work and invisible to the girl of his dreams. Upon discovering a book, aptly titled “All the Answers,” he begins to turn his life around and make things happen. Look for my review at Oxfordfilmfreak.

After several other films, the filmmakers, audience, and fest staff headed to The Ice House for a bbq plate dinner and an amazing performance from blues band Homemade Jamz. As the youngest professional blues band in the world (the drummer is 9!), this family of musicians completely rocked. The fest wrapped up tonight with a screening of Genghis Blues, Adrian Belic’s Oscar nominated documentary. Although the tradition of showing a film on the lawn of the courthouse fell through due to rain (good call on director Pat Rasberry’s part), the audience enjoyed the amazing story of the blues musician that traveled to Tuva.

Overall, the fest so far has been quite fun and I look forward to the next two jampacked days of screenings. Check out the schedule for tomorrow. A ton of filmmakers are going to be at their screenings and this will be a great opportunity to see some strong films.


MOST CHANGED 11:00 – 11:30 a.m.
Short – 17 minutes
Tupelo, MS, World Premiere


Two knuckleheads drop in on a 10-year high school reunion of a school they never attended and find out that identity is in the eye of the beholder. (non-competition)

Chuck McIntosh, Austin Haley and Tom Booth will be attending.


1:00 – 2:15 p.m.
Feature Documentary- 1 hour and 15 minutes
Sherman Oaks, CA, Mississippi Premiere


After the death of his older brother, a Hollywood talent agent drags his son through an excessive quest to recapture his childhood. The quest involves zero gravity flights, obsessive collecting of pieces of Disneyland, and a trek around the world to discover the perfect rollercoaster. Along the way both father and son discover the true meaning of living life to its fullest. Language


2:15 – 2:25 p.m.
Student – 7 minutes
Tupelo, MS, World Premiere

Inside vocie

A librarian spends his time musing about people in the real world he detests. David Rice will be attending


2:35 – 3:00 p.m.
Short – 23 minutes 30 seconds
Avon, CO, Mississippi Premiere


Rabia is a woman who must blow herself up in order to exist. From the moment she straps explosives to her body, we are exposed to flashbacks of her past. When she steps onto a popular beach strapped with explosives we find ourselves wondering about her motives.


3:00 – 3:05 p.m.
Experimental – 3 minutes
Austin, TX


A childhood friend of mine escaped with his life from the World Trade Center on 9/11 2001. This film is culled from extremely rare footage he captured that day, inside as well as out. Images and sounds in memory….


3:05 – 3:10 p.m.
Music Video – 2 minutes 45 seconds
Blue Springs, MS
World Premiere

Never Give Up Hope

with: Uncertain Future

A music video for a song with a positive message by Tupelo’s own Uncertain Future.
Daniel Lee and Jake Wood will be attending.


3:10 – 3:40 p.m.
Experimental – 28 minutes
Nashville, TN, Mississippi Premiere


This imaginative film features artwork, animation and the concept of creation to bring to life the inspiration of one man – one artist.
Dominique Arrieta and Jorge Arrieta will be attending.


3:40 – 3:50 p.m.
Young Filmmaker – 6 minutes
Hatley, MS, World Premiere

Breaking Point

A young recent divorcee and her sister are confronted by the divorcee’s ex-husband who demands to see his son. After a heated argument, things turn drastically wrong.
Dustin Edmonson, Hunter White, Sarah Mitchell, Ashley Craig, and Brennan Harris will be attending


7:00 – 7:05 p.m.
Experimental – 3 minutes 12 seconds
Valencia, CA, Mississippi Premiere

Love Pills

There is a goddess of love who drops love pills into the forest and makes creatures fall in love. But one day she falls in love herself and does not know what to do.


7:05– 7:15 p.m.
Short – 9 minutes 30 seconds
Scotia, NY


Growing old is the most unexpected certainty. In the twilight of his life, Ned reflects on his past, his remaining years and discovers how his role in life has changed. This sentimental film addresses two issues; the old truly are young at heart, and universal emotions live within us all.

(With English Subtitles)

7:15 – 7:35 p.m.
Short – 19 minutes
London, United Kingdom, Mississippi Premiere


An offbeat black and white romantic comedy about love and communication … with subtitles. This film features sparking music by singer/songwriter Barbarossa.


7:35 – 7:50 p.m.
Student – 11 minutes, 30 seconds
Calbasas, CA, Mississippi Premiere


A young man’s search for his missing girlfriend launches him into a head to head battle with a stranger who claims to know everything about him. The youth must defy the stranger’s harrowing accusations and face his own tortured past if he is to have any hope of finding her. Language


7:50 – 8:15 p.m.
Student – 23 minutes
Los Angeles, CA, Mississippi Premiere


This is the dramatic story of a broken family who discovers healing within the broken keys of an old piano. Emotions are never just black and white.
Damen Fletcher and Christopher Babers will be attending


8:15 – 8:35 p.m.
Short – 21 minutes
Somerville, MA, Mississippi Premiere


A young woman named Lilly comes across a little girl playing in her front yard who appears to be completely alone. Concerned for the child’s safety, Lilly decides to get involved. And it is the last mistake she will ever make.


8:35 – 8:55 p.m.
Student – 15 minutes 17 seconds
Studio City, CA, Mississippi Premiere


One day after school 10 year old Kate takes a different route home.
Kristina Lear will be attending


9:05 -9:10 p.m.
Music Video – 4 minutes 14 seconds
Tupelo, MS, World Premiere

Great Day

with: Paul Thorn

In this music video Paul Thorn performs an original song in which characters inspired by Paul’s artwork come to life. (song written by Billy Maddox and Paul Thorn)
vaz Vanelli will be attending.


– Short – 21 minutes
Los Angeles, CA , Mississippi Premiere


Based on a Kurt Vonnegut short story, EPICAC is a science fiction romance about a machine that learns to love. When it understands that it is not made of “protoplasm” it short circuits itself out of the female and male mathematician’s lives forever.


9:30 – 11:00 p.m.
Feature Film – 1 hour 29 minutes
Hollywood, CA, Mississippi Premiere


Hoyle, a girl with a sharp mind and a weakness for bourbon, finds herself on the trail of a reclusive genius. Her work takes a series of unforeseen twists as events around her grow increasingly surreal. Plunged into a dark world of intrigue and earth-shattering cosmological secrets, she is haunted by an ever present shadow whom she is destined to face. Hoyle discovers the most powerful force in the universe lies within the depths of the human heart.

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