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Magnolia Film Festival returns for 22nd year


A row of awards at the 2018 Magnolia Independent Film Festival is ready for recipients. This year's festival is Feb. 28-March 2 at Hollywood Premier Cinema in Starkville.

A row of awards at the 2018 Magnolia Independent Film Festival is ready for recipients. This year's festival is Feb. 28-March 2 at Hollywood Premier Cinema in Starkville.
Photo by: Courtesy photo


Michael Williams

Michael Williams



Jan Swoope



Mississippi's oldest film festival will once again celebrate independent filmmakers with a showcase in the Golden Triangle. The Magnolia Independent Film Festival returns to Hollywood Premier Cinema in Starkville Feb. 28 through March 2 with 32 films ranging from drama to comedy, animation to experimental, narrative to documentary. Select entries from the United States, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Italy, Denmark and China as well as other countries will be screened for festival-goers during the three-day event.  


"For our 22nd year, we look forward to continuing the legacy of both The Mag and its founder Ron Tibbett," said Michael Williams of West Point, president of the Magnolia Independent Film Festival Board of Directors.  


Williams credits the late Tibbett's passion for independent cinema and his pioneering spirit for inspiring a thriving film festival tradition within the state. 


"Personally, I wouldn't be the filmmaker I am today without Ron and the legacy he left behind," continued Williams. "The same can be said for many filmmakers who owe much of their success to either The Mag or one of the several film festivals that were born from his vision of bringing quality independent film to Mississippi." 


Williams describes this year's slate of films as "moving, unique, hilarious, thought-provoking and inspiring."  


A small sampling includes works such as "Delta Crossing," a story of String, a blues musician from the Delta who has a run-in with an elderly woman trying to escape her past. The stop motion animation of "Two Balloons" features two adventurous lemurs who take to the skies. The line-up on opening night, Feb. 28, includes "Driven," a film directed by Mag alumnus Glenn Payne of the Tupelo area. In this latest work, a female cab driver picks up a mysterious passenger, which leads to a race against the clock to defeat a force of evil.  


Find the complete film schedule at, where tickets may also be purchased. An all-festival pass is $30; individual sessions are $10. A student festival pass is $15; individual sessions are $5 for students. A VIP Experience pass is $75. 


Evening screenings begin at 7 p.m.; a matinee session March 2 begins at 1 p.m. All films are shown at Hollywood Premier Cinema, 101 Hollywood Boulevard, Starkville. Awards will be presented the evening of March 2. 


In addition to 20 exclusive Mississippi or world premieres, the festival presents a free workshop open to the public March 2 on the topic of becoming an emerging filmmaker in the state. 


"We're continuing to expand the festival to a wider, more diverse audience while retaining the charm and intimacy that makes this festival one of the most memorable experiences for our filmmakers and audiences alike," said Williams.  


The festival is funded in part by grants provided by the Mississippi Arts Commission, the Starkville Area Arts Council and local and regional sponsors. 


Follow the festival on Facebook or learn more at


Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.


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