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Indie Film Night in Mississippi

August 8, 2008

Oh I wish every night I could sit in a theater in Mississippi and see movies made by Mississippians! Tonight in Starkville was the Indie Film Showcase organized by Michael Williams of Shendopen Productions. Held at the fun State Theatre (a bar with a huge screen – kinda like the Lyric in Oxford will be soon!). An interesting mix of short films from filmmakers throughout the state screened to a full audience.

Starting the night off was Trigger and Sledge, which was a play on 70’s B-Cop movies but fairly creative for a low budget short. Then the Devil and Tom Walker which was gruesome but interesting, however the sound quality seemed a little off so I would hope to see it again.

My first favorite of the night was Kary Rogers, The Second Most Hated Family in America. I knew the moment I saw the disclaimer that they were not making fun of all of the Baptist Church that we were in for a fun ride. And I was right. A delightful mockumentary about “multi-meat enablers,” I thought it was fun.

Two more of Rogers comedic shorts played afterwards, Disborderlies which I did not enjoy as much, although found myself laughing at the live donkey show (when no one else in the audience seemed to get it!). In Man Versus Wilderness, there were a ton of one liners that cracked me up, but it didn’t have as much of an impact as his first short for me.

Next up was Bible Belted by Corey Hart which I sadly missed due to several phone calls.

After I got off the phone, April Wren’s What Happened and Cookies and Milk played back to back. Both are solid short films, with What Happened a very quirky way to look at alternate endings.

My favorite of the night played next, (un)wanted by Michael Williams. Williams took an interesting angle on surprise pregnancy and with it had some very lovely cinematography. Without giving the story away, he has this pan shot that moves through doorways and gives us a glimpse that is able to progress the story line. It was quite the impressive film.

One of my other favorites of the night was Faithful Departed by Tupelo filmmaker Daniel Lee. Someone I sat next to said his films are very dark and I said, yeah, he is the Edgar Allen Poe of filmmaking. Lee has great technical skill with his effects and this film had some unusually bright and pretty graphics for Lee. Typically he works in a lot of black and white, which I enjoy about his work, but this film had a dark but charming style.

Next up was Lee’s Doppelganger, labeled experimental, but upon watching it I felt that it was too linear and didn’t seem very experimental in terms of manipulating the images other than a few effects. But, alas, I am absolutely no expert on experimental.

Three of the films that were supposed to screen tonight did not arrive so we skipped ahead to the last few. (can you tell I am tired, my reporting is very to the point tonight).

First up was Zombies from the Blackest Dawn Chronicles. Great quality campy film, I absolutely loved it as did much of the audience as cheers from friends and family of the filmmaker filled the opening scenes.

Technical difficulties plagued the next installment of the series, so we screened Orbis Romanus instead.

I felt for a short film it attempted to take on too much, an epic storyline without the epic battle, but I give them credit for attempting a historical storyline for a short as most are modern tales. Still, some of the editing was very rough for me and I would like to see it cleaned up a bit with some better sound quality to better get an understanding of the film. Sam Watson did the sound, and also did last year’s Ballast so I feel that the screening we got may not be what was really done.

The night ended with Dust to Dust: from the Blackest Dawn Chronicles. Although the film had some great DP work in the beginning, I skipped out in order to drive 2 hours home. I hope to see it soon though!


Now I must prepare for our own movie night up in Oxford as Tate Taylor’s Pretty Ugly People will show at the Powerhouse at 7pm. A great movie – go see it!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 9, 2008 8:45 pm

    It was a fun night – Michael I hope you are planning to do this again soon! I say we have one in every region of the state – like trade off! That would be awesome!

  2. August 8, 2008 9:46 pm

    It was a fun night. Thanks for the kind words.

  3. August 8, 2008 7:23 pm

    The Edgar Allen Poe comment is a huge compliment for Daniel.

    I totally laughed about the Donkey show…

    Maybe a few people have at least seen Clerks 2…

  4. Corey Hart permalink
    August 8, 2008 4:31 pm

    I hate you missed “Bible Belted”. I would love to hear your opinion. E-mail me with contact info and I could send you a copy of my movie. Thanks for supporting your local film makers!

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