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Local documentary filmmakers focus of summer series

July 23, 2009
john-hodgman-thacker2776cThacker Mountain Radio brings authors and musicians to Oxford. The new documentary explores the origins and behind the scenes action of the show. Pictured here is John Hodgman.

A documentary on the Thacker Mountain Radio Show will have its premiere at the Lyric on Monday as part of the Oxford Film Festival Summer Series. Created by someone who knows a bit about the topic, Mary Warner, the documentary explores the origins of Thacker Mountain along with footage of a show from last spring.

For Warner, former executive producer of Thacker Mountain, moving away from Oxford gave her the perspective she needed to finish the documentary.

“You have to assume that people know nothing of your subject, and initially, that was hard for me to do. Leaving the show in February as I did, and then moving to Atlanta actually made it easier to connect the dots,” Warner said.

Warner lived in Oxford from 2001 until recently when she moved to Atlanta. She worked at Square Books and then returned to the University of Mississippi to obtain a Southern Studies graduate degree. Most of her degree was focused on studying imagined or invented communities such as Thacker and her graduate assistantship allowed her to focus on the show.

“Working so closely to the show as I did piqued my curiosity as to its origins,” Warner said.

“When I began working on the show, the only information about its roots was published on Square Books website. I wanted to know more, so I began to ask questions starting with Bryan Ledford. Suddenly, my project evolved into a film, in addition to a written history of the show.”

She began the project as part of her documentary studies class last year and made a shorter version.

With documentary filmmaker Joe York’s assistance she has developed the short into a feature documentary.

“I’ve learned a lot more since then, especially working with Joe York. I don’t think this would be the caliber that it is without his insight, criticism, and support,” Warner said.

Warner has learned quickly about the world of film especially once she began editing the project. Picking up a camera helped her to become a better storyteller, Warner said.

“You want to put everything you shot in the film, but the best films are those that are tightly edited. I can hardly watch a film now without noticing those kinds of details,” Warner said,

“Everyone should be given a camera to dissect the world around. It’s an interesting experiment.”

For Warner, her hope when people see the film is the realization that there are Thackers in every community.

“It is up to us to create communities that give meaning to our lives, form bonds, and inspire and nurture creativity. I think it’s also important for people to see the behind the scenes of the show. It really has been a labor of love for those who have worked on it over the years,” Warner said.
The documentary screens along with Joe York’s “Saving Willie Mae’s Scotch House” on Monday at 7 p.m. at The Lyric. Tickets are $5. For more information, visit

By Melanie Addington
As Published in the Oxford Town

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 27, 2009 2:42 am

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