February 27, 2010 10:58:00 PM
Jan Swoope - [email protected]
When Andrew Colom picked up a pen to write his first short film, "The Flight of Calvin Waters," he set in motion a long and sometimes bumpy journey that led to a worth-it-all moment Feb. 20. The 19-minute piece inspired by a true story won the Ron Tibbett Award for Excellence in Film at the 13th annual Magnolia Independent Film Festival presented by the Starkville Area Arts Council.
Thirty-five films from across the country, Spain and Canada, were screened for judges and the public Feb. 18-20 at Hollywood Premier Cinema in Starkville.
"We were definitely really, really pleased to win this award," said Colom of the honor given to the work judges deemed most represents the late festival founder''s spirit and vision.
Colom, who also directed, and producer Arjun Kaul, joined filmmakers from New York and Los Angeles on the final night of the festival for Q&A sessions with the packed house.
"I''ve never had as much fun as I had making this film," Colom said. I''ve met a lot of other Mississippi filmmakers now, and I really want to be a part of building the filmmaking community. Mississippi has the greatest writers, the greatest musicians, and maybe one day we''ll also have the greatest filmmakers."
"The Festival was a big success," remarked Mag chairman Joe Evans of Starkville. "We had a great turnout as far as audience was concerned. The night that ''Calvin Waters'' screened, we had a huge response from Columbus. There was so much support for that film."
The title character in the Colom/Kaul project was portrayed by Sammie Lee of Columbus. Mississippi University for Women Police Chief Kennedy Meaders, Shane Tubbs and Dante Butler, all of Columbus, were also cast in the film about tense undercurrents surrounding a hometown basketball stand-out. Colom''s father, attorney Wilbur Colom, had a cameo, as well.
Familiar sites spotted on screen included the Golden Triangle Regional Airport, the John C. Stennis Lock and Dam, a mobile home park near Columbus Air Force Base, the Columbus High School gym, and even a basketball court in Burns Bottom.
Colom and Kaul''s film wasn''t the only Golden Triangle entry honored. "The Mistake," by Michael Williams of West Point and Mississippi University for Women student and Fulton native April Wren, won the award for Best Student Film.
Evans was enthusiastic about the annual festival. "The filmmakers seemed to have a blast. The camaraderie among our artists was so genuine," he said. "They networked, but even more than that, they became friends. I think many of them were sad to have to leave."
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.