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Top 10 Must Sees for Tupelo Film Festival

May 1, 2008

So, after sorting through the schedule of the upcoming May 15-17 Tupelo Film Festival, I created my top ten must see list. This list only includes those that I have not seen before. There are several I rather enjoyed that are playing at the festival and I will be highlighting those over the upcoming week. But while I always want to see everything at a fest, that is not always feasible. But for now, here are my must sees!


Thursday, May 15th

11:00 – 12:05 p.m.
Feature Documentary – 1 hour 3 minutes
Raleigh, NC
World Premiere

Writer, Director, Producer – Julie Williams Dixon
Co-Director/DP – Warren Gentry
with: Dr. Brent Kennedy and other leading Melungeon researchers

Mystery has surrounded the multi-ethnic Melungeons who have lived deep in the Appalachians for hundreds of years. Their story of coming together from diverse backgrounds and putting aside cultural and racial differences to survive offers a look at an almost forgotten people and a never told piece of America’s history. Julie Williams Dixon will be attending.


Thursday, May 15th

2:20-2:50 p.m.
Short – 29 minutes
Chicago, IL
Southern U.S. Premier

Writer, Director, – Jeffrey Jon Smith
Executive Producer – James Aull
Producer – Jerry Prochazka

with: Tekki Lomnicki, Rula Sirhan Gardenier

While confessing to her priest, Tikki Lomnicki born with dystrophic dwarfism must face the painful truth about a journey she and her mother made to Lourdes twenty-seven years earlier. This is a film about redemption.


Thursday, May 15th

3:30 – 3:55 p.m.
Student – 24 minutes 50 seconds
Glasgow, United Kingdom
Mississippi Premiere

Writer, Director – Simon Arthur
Producer – Stuart Devon
Executive Producer – Mark Cousins
Associate Producer – James Alcock

With: Alison Peebles, James Grant, Jon Morrisson, Una McLean, Maureen Carr

A wandering couple travel the road, becoming different people in each town, playing a gleefully sadistic game of deceit. In this film they prey on the care home of senile dementia suffers convincing them that they are family members.


Thursday, may 15th

4:15 – 4:25 p.m.
Short – 10 minutes 43 seconds
West Point, MS

Writer, Director, Producer, – Michael Williams

with: Jon Paul Whitlock, April Wren, Wes Pumphrey
Have you ever wished you had powers? In this short dramedy, Ben, an obsessed fan of the TV show Heroes, begins to believe that he may be developing powers just like the characters in the show. Michael Williams, Jon Paul Whitlock and April Wren will be attending.


Thursday, May 15th

4:25 – 5:55 p.m.
Feature – 1 hour 34 minutes
War Eagle, ARK
Mississippi and Southern USA Premier

Director, Robert Milazzo
Screenplay by Graham Gordy – Story by Vincent Insalaco and Graham Gordy
Producers – Marco Henry, Vincent Insalaco,
Assistant Director – Chris Carroll

with: Bryan Dennehy, Dan McCabe, James McDaniel, Luke Grimes, Mare Winningham, Mary K. Place, Misti Traya

War Eagle, Arkansas is a character driven drama about a young man’s dilemma of whether to leave his family and friends for a career in baseball or stay and redeem his struggling community. The story takes place over a few pivotal weeks in the summer after Enoch Cass’s senior year, and is set against the backdrop of the Ozark Mountains.


Friday, May 16

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

Writer, Director, – Tim Plester
Producers – Margery Bone, Collin Teague

with: Tim Plester, MyAnna Buring, Craig Parkinson
An offbeat black and white romantic comedy about love and communication with subtitles. This film features sparking music by singer/songwriter Barbarossa.


Friday, May 16th

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

Writer, Director – Christopher Babers
Producer – Damen Fletcher
Executive Producer – Wendy Raquel Robinson

Damen Fletcher, Francisco Farr, Trhea Danae, Wayne Baldwin

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


Saturday, May 17th

2:30 – 2:40 p.m.
Young Filmmaker – 10 minutes
Silver Spring, MD
Mississippi Premiere

Writer, Director, Producer, – Melissa Mergner with: Melissa Mergner – narrator of film

A short documentary about farm laborer activists Baldemar Velasquez and his organization, the farm labor organizing committee.


Saturday, May 17th

4:45 – 6:25 p.m.
Feature Documentary – 1 hour 37 minutes
Cleveland, Ohio
Mississippi Premiere

Writer, Director, Producer – Todd Kwait
Executive Producer – Carol Kwait

with:Narrator – Todd Kwait

A personal exploration of the roots and growth of jug band music in the US starting with Gus Cannon in the 1920’s and his dynamic influence on the popular folk music movement of the 60’s and 70’s. The film discovers its modern popularity in Japan and features interviews and performances by John Sebastian – Lovin’ Spoonful, Bob Weir – Grateful Dead, the voice of Taj Mahal and Jim Kweskin, Geoff Muldaur, and the late Fritz Richmond, Bill Keith and Maria Muldaur from the Jim Kweskin Jug Band, and David Grisman.


Saturday, May 17th

6:40 – 8:40 p.m.
Feature Film – 1 hour 58 minutes
Lavallette, NJ
Mississippi Premiere

Writer/Director – Greg Chwerchak
Writer/Producer – Gabrielle Berberich
Co-Producer – Gregory Charles Schaefer
Executive Producer – Robert I. Schulman

with: Kim Shaw, Paul Sorvino, David Fumero, Jay O. Sanders, Andrew Shaifer, Lars Arentz-Hansen

Still reeling from the death of her father, a young girl spends one last summer at the Jersey Shore before heading off to college. But when her plans fall apart, the girl stumbles into a mysterious world of Russian sailors, high-stakes gambling, and unexpected love.

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