The 8th Annual Clarksdale Film Festival returns to Bluestown, USA—Clarksdale, Mississippi—on Friday and Saturday, January 26 and 27. And it’s going to be a party.
“This is a curated film festival, so it’s not just whatever films came out this year,” said cofounder Roger Stolle. “We premiere new works, of course, but we also showcase films that we think are important and folks may have missed.”
Films this year range from Two Trains Runnin’ (blues/civil rights story of search for lost 1930s Mississippi’s bluesmen during Freedom Summer) and Shake Sister Shake (world-premiere about women in blues, including Clarksdalians) to Love is a Sensation (about Mississippi folk artist/personality LV Hull) and Chasing Trane (the acclaimed John Coltrane documentary). The full schedule of films and events can be found here.
The film festival, which specializes in blues/roots music and Mississippi-related movies, is also about more than just screenings, according to co-organizer Nan Hughes.
“In addition to all of the wonderful films, we feature History Bus Tours of Clarksdale, a film workshop for kids, live blues music, a daily reception, special guests and more,” said Hughes. “The Clarksdale Film Festival is really just another excuse to show off our amazing little music town.”
This year’s cool and funky pop-up theaters are Grandma’s Sports Bar (115 3rd Street, next to Grandma’s Blues House and Grandma’s House of Pancakes) and New Roxy (the inside, front bar area at 363 Issaquena Avenue).
Bluesmen Lucious Spiller and Sean “Bad” Apple will perform at the daily 5 pm reception at Grandma’s.
Admission is just $5 daily thanks to sponsors that include Clarksdale-Coahoma County Tourism and Clarksdale Public Utilities, among several others. A ticket includes all official events at both theaters.
After the film screenings and official events each day, attendees can go out on the town for live blues at places like Red’s Lounge and Ground Zero Blues Club (cover charges may apply).
“Since we’re Clarksdale, Mississippi, we have live blues seven nights a week, every week,” said Stolle. “We hope that music and film fans will come in for the movies but stay for the blues.”
For information of Clarksdale’s blues scene, see Stolle’s Music Calendar here.