February 16, 2013 8:39:49 PM
Independent films produced in Mississippi, New York, California, Spain, Australia, France and points between will be the focus of the Magnolia Independent Film Festival Feb. 21-23 in Starkville. Indie film buffs will be able to attend sessions at Hollywood Premier Cinemas showcasing films of all lengths and genres.
On Thursday and Friday, Feb. 21 and 22, festival screenings begin at 7:30 p.m. There will be an afternoon session on Saturday, Feb. 23 beginning at 2:30 p.m., and an evening session at 7 p.m.
Laura Dixon, festival chair, said, "We are really excited about this year's festival. We have some great selections from Mississippi and all over the world. Everything from drama and comedy to documentary. We would love to see everyone out at Hollywood Premier."
Throughout the three-day event, the movie screen will be filled with characters ranging from hussies and criminals to castaways, Australian sheep farmers and basketball players. Audiences will be treated to light-hearted fare, as well as serious topics.
Mississippi filmmakers with entries selected for the 2013 festival include Melanie Addington, Robbie Coblentz, Casey Dillard, Gary Glenn and Glenn Payne.
Coblentz, of Starkville, is executive producer of "One Night in March," a 35-minute documentary about a basketball game that captured national imagination and influenced the state's athletics for years to come. Coblentz chronicles Mississippi State's bold decision to play an integrated team in the 1963 NCAA Tournament. The film includes insight from key figures like Bailey Howell, Jack Cristil, Leland Mitchell, Red Stroud and attorney Aubrey Nichols of Columbus.
"We hope that this documentary tells the story from a Mississippi point of view," said Coblentz.
The Mag, as the festival is affectionately known, is Mississippi's oldest film fest. It was founded by the late Ron Tibbett of Columbus in 1997. The Chicago-born filmmaker died tragically in an accident in 2004, but the festival continues as his legacy. Tibbett's hope was to support and nurture filmmakers and their craft.
The Magnolia Independent Film Festival is presented by the Starkville Area Arts Council. A complete list and descriptions of scheduled films is available at magnoliafilmfest.com.
For more information about the event, go to magnoliafilmfest.com or contact Dixon at email@example.com. For more information about the Starkville Area Arts Council, visit starkvillearts.org or call 662-324-3080.
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.