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Documentary remembers making of Intruder In the Dust

June 25, 2009


By Melanie Addington

As published in the Oxford Town

What started as a five minute student project by Paul Dean has grown into a community effort to collect the memories of locals about the making of the film “Intruder in the Dust,” filmed in Oxford in 1949.

joeWorking with Justin Nystrom’s Southern Studies course at the University of Mississippi, Joe York helped with students as they collected interviews and told stories involving the Square.

“Paul Dean did a good job,” York said. “Obviously it was short and he was doing it for class but it was good. It did not have all the elements we hoped it would though so we are working with Leadership Lafayette to build off of his work into a 20-30 minute documentary.”

Leadership Lafayette is working on the documentary as a community service project, hoping to capture some of the oral history of Oxonians. Diala Chaney is part of the group of eight that will work on the documentary and also is serving as the hospitality coordinator for the Oxford Film Festival.

Chaney is also helping to create a place to show the film as she organizes a major fundraiser for the film festival.

The Oxford Film Festival is working with The Lyric theater to screen the movie on its 60th anniversary on October 2 as this year’s major fundraiser for the festival. The event will kick off with the documentary showcasing the memories of the making of the film and the world premiere that occurred at the Lyric in 1949.

“I think the documentary will give locals the opportunity to present their views on the filming of the movie and its impact on the town, at the same time bringing an even more personal touch to the event,” Chaney said.

A behind the scenes discussion with child actor Claude Jarman, now 76, will also kick off the screening. York said he will interview Jarman after the anniversary screening to include the footage into the documentary. Then he hopes to screen the completed version at the film festival for those who miss it on Oct. 2.

“The coolest thing about the project is the university, the community, and the young professionals in Leadership Lafayette – all these different sectors of the community – are working on this project together,” York said. “Then having this ready made situation thanks to the Oxford Film Festival to share this with people is great. I think the stories are great and it will help people appreciate the film even more.”

York said while they had done some interviews as part of larger subject interviews, the group will now make a push to just do interviews about the movie experience from the premiere to the making of the film.

“We just want to have the people who remember this huge event in the history of the town share,” York said. “Currently there is not one place where all those memories could fit, so we are trying to create a little space within this film and then later add it to the archives.”

Interviews will be held on July 9 and 10 at the Powerhouse on University Avenue from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Interviews will be 30 minutes. If interested in an interview, contact Joe York at 915-7954 or e-mail

For information on the 60th anniversary screening of Intruder in the Dust along with special guest Jarman and the screening of the documentary, visit


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