Published on January 27th, 2015 | by TLV News0
5th Annual Clarksdale Film Festival January 29–31 at Delta Cinema
Are you ready for a full weekend of cinema in the Delta? It’s time once again for Clarksdale’s Annual Film Festival! There will be a music reception at 5 pm in the lobby each night featuring Preston Rumbaugh and friends, followed by special guests and a “welcome” in the lobby at 6 pm. Robert Birdsong history bus tours (CFF ticket required) at 12 pm and 1:30 pm on Saturday. $10 gets you a weekend pass (valid Thu. – Sun.), or you can pay $5 a day.
To get ticket info and to find out what related events will be happening around Clarksdale during the festival, visit www.jukejointfestival.com/film_fest.php. For more Clarksdale music happenings during this weekend (and always), visit www.cathead.biz
THU. 1/29, DOWNSTAIRS MAIN THEATER:
6:30 pm: It’s Time: The Story of Brad Gaines and Chucky Mullins (90 min.)
8 pm: Book signing with Jody Hill
Clarksdale premiere with special guests Brad Gaines (from the movie) and Jody Hill (author of 38: The Chucky Mullins Effect). On October 28, 1989, Ole Miss defensive back Chucky Mullins hit Vanderbilt running back Brad Gaines in the back and separated him from the ball. While Gaines was uninjured, Mullins suffered a broken neck on the play, leaving him a quadriplegic. The SEC Storied (ESPN) documentary chronicles the touching friendship between Gaines and Mullins, two men who were brought together through tragedy. Author Jody Hill will sign copies of 38: The Chucky Mullins Effect after the film.
THU. 1/29, UPSTAIRS THEATER:
6:45 pm: M for Mississippi: A Road Trip through the Birthplace of the Blues (94 min.)
Award-winning travelogue follows blues fans Jeff Konkel and Roger Stolle on their 2008 pilgrimage from Clarksdale through the Mississippi Delta in search of the region’s last great bluesmen. Includes music and interviews with T-Model Ford, Mr. Tater, R.L. Boyce, L.C. Ulmer, Duck Holmes, Bilbo Walker, Terry “Harmonica” Bean, The Mississippi Marvel, and other Blues characters. www.mformississippi.com
FRI. 1/30, UPSTAIRS THEATER:
11:30am: Canoeing into Confidence: A Film about Overcoming Fear (22 min.)
Follows several Spring Initiative teenagers on their journey to and on the river, as they each face different fears and discomforts — and discover strength, freedom, and joy on the other side. Spring Initiative is an after-school program where participants get to push themselves and each other to be all that they can be. Directed by Bianca Zaharescu.
12 pm: The River Sonnet (44 min.)
Mississippi premiere. Slideshow of photographs overdubbed by an intersplicing of braided clips including ambient sound recordings, regional dialects and fractured audio readings of original poetry. The primary goal of the film is to track shifts in natural and cultural land and soundscapes in order to present a realistic assessment of the state of life in the Mississippi River Valley biosphere. Directed by Matthew Leavitt Brown and Justin Orlowski. www.riversonnet.org
1 pm: Hard Times (69 min.)
The classic story of Delta blues gone North — told through the eyes of sharecropper, boxer, club owner and bluesman Big George Brock. Hard Times mixes live concert footage in Clarksdale and St. Louis with on-location interviews and archival photos. Directed/produced by Damien Blaylock and Roger Stolle.
2:30 pm: Mississippi Madam: The Life of Nellie Jackson—The Trailer (6 min.)
Clarksdale premiere. Preview trailer for forthcoming documentary film on the life and times of Natchez, Mississippi’s infamous brothel owner — Nellie Jackson. Directed by Mark Brockway.
3 pm: We Juke Up in Here: Mississippi’s Juke Joint Culture at the Crossroads (63 min.)
Award-winning blues film follows blues fans Jeff Konkel & Roger Stolle as they visit Mississippi’s surviving juke joints. Includes live performances by Anthony “Big A” Sherrod, Elmo Williams, Hezekiah Early, Gearshifter, Duck Holmes, Big George Brock, Terry “Harmonica” Bean, and more… but the star of the show is the self-proclaimed “King of the Juke Joint Runners”, Red Paden of Red’s Lounge in Clarksdale. Learn more at www.wejukeupinhere.com
4:15 pm: Clarksdale Municipal School District Film (6 min.)
Promotional yet inspirational educational film short presented by Clarksdale Municipal School District (CMSD). CMSD is committed to giving students the opportunity to explore skills that will enable them to excel in the areas of technology, science, medical sciences, and much more.
4:30 pm: The Mighty Quapaws (17 min.)
New documentary tells the story of the Mighty Quapaw Apprenticeship Program in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Founded by John “Riverman” Ruskey of Quapaw Canoe Company, the young program teaches “canoe ethics” — using the “Mr. Johnnie” method — to brighten the lives of his students and the future of the river itself. Directed by Joseph Dickinson.
FRI. 1/30, DOWNSTAIRS MAIN THEATER:
12 pm: Barefoot Workshops — New Clarksdale Films (45 min. total)
Barefoot Workshops returns to Clarksdale to tell the memorable food-related stories of Lil’ Kitchen, Big Sauce — the owners of Wops BBQ — and Kim’s Way — the founder of Kim’s Processing (pork skins, etc.). Clarksdale loves Barefoot Workshops, by the way. Join ‘em, and make your own films! The next workshops start February 1st — www.barefootworkshops.org
1:15 pm: Fever Dreams (62 min.)
Clarksdale premiere. Four new, spellbinding vignettes of suspense described as “Twilight Zone meets Tales from the Crypt”: The Agent, The Entertainer, Timed Romance and The Cameraman. Directed by Rob Underhill. (Join Underhill for his Saturday lobby workshop at 3 pm.)
2:30 pm: Bragg N East (24 min.)
Clarksdale premiere. In the time of Ferguson, this gritty police drama explores powerful ways for law enforcement to bridge the gap of communication and understanding with the communities they serve. Directed by Rob Underhill. (Join Underhill for his Saturday lobby workshop at 3 pm.)
3:15 pm: Time Brings About a Change: A Floyd Dixon Celebration (134 min.)
Clarksdale premiere. In June 2006, a special concert event honored blues piano legend Floyd Dixon. Dixon succumbed to cancer just 55 days later. This is the story behind the landmark live recording. Floyd Dixon, Pinetop Perkins, Henry Gray, and other blues legends are immortalized through live music and special interviews filmed during that one historic weekend in 2006. Directed by Phillip Cruess.
6:15 pm: Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten: Cambodia’s Lost Rock and Roll (105 min.)
Mississippi premiere. A roots music documentary set in another “Deep South” — a half a world away. During the 60’s and early 70’s as the war in Vietnam threatened its borders, a new music scene emerged in Cambodia that took Western rock ‘n roll and stood it on its head – creating a sound like no other. But as Cambodian society — young creative musicians in particular — embraced western culture and flourished under its influence, the rest of the country was rapidly moving to war. After taking over the country in April 1975, the Khmer Rouge began wiping out all traces of modernity and Western influence. Intellectuals, artists and musicians were specifically and systematically targeted and eliminated. Thus began one of the most brutal genocides in history, killing an estimated two million people. Directed by John Pirozzi.
SAT. 1/31, LOBBY WORKSHOPS:
1 pm: Filmmaking with Cellphones: A Workshop for Kids* with Coop Cooper
Join experienced filmmaker Coop Cooper in the Delta Cinema lobby — and outside — as he shares his ideas and methods for young folks (*recommended for ages 7-18 but everyone is welcome) who want to make movies with their cell phones! Cooper is a Clarksdale-based writer/director and Press Register movie critic; he is best known for the films Regress (2012), The Best Day (2011) and S for Sally (2013).
3 pm: A Movie: Making it Happen on Low/No Budget with Rob Underhill
Join special guest Rob Underhill in the Delta Cinema lobby as he shares his vast knowledge as a successful film/TV director, producer, writer and editor. His Clarksdale Film Festival WORKSHOP will show burgeoning filmmakers the secrets of making affordable movies in any genre. Underhill’s films have competed in over 200 film festivals worldwide, receiving over 70 awards; watch his new films Fever Dreams, This Was My Son, Bragg N East, and The Wheeler Parker Story at this weekend’s festival.
SAT. 1/31, UPSTAIRS THEATER:
11:15 am: 2014 Clarksdale Christmas Parade (35 min.)
World premiere. Relive Clarksdale, Mississippi’s annual downtown holiday parade as captured on film by local filmmaker Conor Coughlin.
12:15 pm: This Was My Son (7 min.)
Mississippi premiere. The true story of the American Civil Rights icon, Mamie Till (mother of Emmitt Till), and the tragedy that inspired her to spend her life battling social injustice and racial prejudice. Directed by Rob Underhill. (Join Underhill for his lobby workshop at 3 pm.)
12:30 pm: The Wheeler Parker Story (16 min.)
Clarksdale premiere. Constructed from historic interviews, one actor (Mike Wiley) portrays Wheeler Parker as he gives his firsthand account of events leading up to the abduction and eventual murder of his cousin, Emmett Till, in 1955. Directed by Rob Underhill. (Join Underhill for his lobby workshop at 3 pm.)
1:15 pm: subSIPPI (56 min.)
Clarksdale premiere of exploratory documentary highlighting the incredible diversity of people and personalities in Mississippi. The goal is to present modern Mississippi — not one fabricated on myth or romanticized notions but one showcasing the progression and evolution of the state. Directed by Vincent Jude Chaney. Learn more at www.subsippi.com.
2:45 pm: Will To Change (45 min.)
The inspirational true story of William Kozielski, a 29-year-old parolee who is breaking the cycle of violence in his community, and mentoring youth out of delinquent behavior. Created as an intervention tool for youth and residents of Clarksdale, Mississippi, it is also being used by the Mississippi Department of Corrections to support pre-release and re-entry programs. A film by Alison Fast and Chandler Griffin. Learn more at www.W2Cmovie.com.
3:30 pm: Cheesehead Blues: Adventures of a Dutchman in the Mississippi Delta (82 min.)
U.S. premiere of final cut with introduction by Theo “Boogieman” Dasbach. Dutch director (and blues fanatic) Jan Doense tells the story of Rock & Blues Museum founder Dasbach’s Rock & Blues Museum and his blues friends in Clarksdale — a town reinventing itself to keep the blues alive. Includes James “T-Model” Ford, James “Super Chikan” Johnson, Frank “Rat” Ratliff, Watermelon Slim, Red Paden, and other local blues characters. Rough cut of film received Best Blues & Roots Music Film Award at 2014 Clarksdale Film Festival.
5:30 pm: Howl-N-Madd: Mississippi Blues Family Man (27 min.)
The story of Abbeville, Mississippi, bluesman Bill “Howl-N-Madd” Perry, his musical life, and family. From picking cotton in the Mississippi Hill Country to playing music on the Chicago blues scene… and ultimately, returning to Mississippi some 40 years later… this new film celebrates Perry’s survival and success. Highlights blues performances in the Delta and NYC. Directed by Lee Quinby. Learn more at www.truedeltaproject.org.
SAT. 1/31, DOWNSTAIRS MAIN THEATER:
11 am: Tom Sawyer (44 min.)
Mississippi premiere. Maria Newman is an award-winning composer, violinist and pianist who has scored a number of restored vintage silent films — including this classic, 1917 silent film version of Mark Twain‘s Tom Sawyer — the story of a boy growing up along the Mississippi River. Born into a musical family with ties to Clarksdale, Maria Newman is an Annenberg Foundation Composition Fellow, Mary Pickford Foundation Composition Fellow, Malibu Coast Chamber Orchestra Composer-in-Residence, Louis & Annette Kaufman Composition Chair and Joachim Chassman Violin Fellow.
12:15 pm: Love Them Well (21 min.)
Clarksdale premiere. New documentary follows Clarksdale-raised Trey Lewis — a born-again Christian with a checkered past — as the works to spread the word of God and touch the lives of at-risk people in the Atlanta area. From trailer parkes to the inner city, Lewis tries to make a difference one prayer at a time. Directed/produced by Nick McNaughton.
1 pm: Life of Riley — special engagement courtesy of B.B. King Museum (123 min.)
Visit the B.B. King Museum in Indianola, Mississippi, and see this movie at the Clarksdale Film Festival to fully understand the life, success and importance of the Magnolia State’s most famous bluesman — Riley “B.B.” King. Mississippi’s Morgan Freeman narrates this moving story of King’s rise from Delta cotton sharecropper to world-famous “King of the Blues”. Special thanks to our friends at the B.B. King Museum & Delta Interpretive Center.
3:30 pm: Yazoo Revisited: Integration and Segregation in a Deep Southern Town (84 min.)
Clarksdale premiere with introduction by director. This compelling new documentary directed/produced by David Rae Morris explores the history of race relations and the 1970 integration of the public schools in Yazoo City, Mississippi. The integration there was considered by many to be a model of success, unlike in many other districts where white families fled the public schools for private academies.
4:30 pm: Nobody (17 Min.)
Clarksdale premiere. New short film about an 18-year-old kid named Elvis, before he became Elvis Presley. The biographical story features the tender relationship between a young man and his loving mother, his devoted teacher, and the senior year talent show that changed everything. It’s an intimate portrait of a young dreamer, before the fame and revolutionary fandom. Directed by William Bryan. Learn more at www.nobodyshortfilm.com.
SAT. 1/31, CINEMA LOBBY:
6:30 pm: Take Me to the River (95 min., with special guests director Martin Shore and musicians featured in the film such as Charlie Musselwhite; Q&A with Martin Shore at 8 pm, followed by a meet and greet.)
Clarksdale premiere with introduction and Q&A. Special guests include director Martin Shore and musicians Charlie Musselwhite, William Bell, Boo Mitchell, Frayser Boy and more. New film celebrates the inter-generational and inter-racial musical influence of Memphis in the face of pervasive discrimination and segregation. Brings multiple generations of award-winning Memphis and Mississippi Delta musicians together, following them through the creative process of recording a historic new album. Film features Terrence Howard, William Bell, Snoop Dogg, Mavis Staples, Otis Clay, Lil P-Nut, Charlie Musselwhite, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Yo Gotti, Bobby Rush, Frayser Boy, The North Mississippi All-Stars and many more. www.takemetotheriver.livingfilm.com
This article was originally printed in The Local Voice #221 (printed January 22, 2015.)
To download a PDF of this issue, click here.