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10 reasons to attend the 2nd annual Clarksdale Film Fest

Posted on January 24th, 2012
Posted on January 24th, 2012

by Coop Cooper

Why should you check out the 2nd Annual Clarksdale Film Festival? I can think of a few reasons…

1. Memphis wrestling idols “Superstar” Bill Dundee and Buddy Wayne will be on hand Thursday night for a Q&A following the documentary “Memphis Heat: The True Story of Memphis Wrasslin’.” Anyone who grew up in the area remembers seeing these guys performing on live TV or at the Clarksdale Civic Auditorium. If you missed this event by the time you read this article, pay close attention. There is much more to look forward to the rest of the weekend…

2. Live music by Sean “Bad” Apple (and Johnnie Billington on Friday night) in the lobby at 6pm before the main shows. Sean’s “Hill Country” blues style has made him a local juke joint favorite.

3. $5 per day or $10 for the entire event ticket price. You can’t beat that at any other film festival in the state. Also, the prices at the concession stand are a steal!

4. The Delta Cinema: Also known as the old “Tyson” theater, the Delta Cinema holds special memories for nearly every resident who grew up in Clarksdale and the Delta. Come back to re-experience this classic venue.

5. Documentaries about “Clarksdale Celebrities”: Within the small confines of Clarksdale, we have musicians and personalities who are world famous. Documentarians come from all over the world to feature them in movies. Come see films about Watermelon Slim, James “T-Model” Ford, Big Jack Johnson, Terry “Big T” Williams, “Honeyboy” Edwards, Pinetop Perkins, Muddy Waters and many more.

6. Veteran Mississippi actor and Tennessee Williams Festival participant Johnny McPhail has no less than three films (“25K,” “Where I Begin,” and “Gypsy Heart”) playing at the festival. Johnny’s next acting project will be in Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming “Django Unchained.” Come to the festival Saturday to meet this prolific, one-of-a-kind actor.

7. Network with the up-and-coming filmmakers/actors of Mississippi: The most hard working and dedicated film talent in the state make the “circuit” and attend nearly every film festival their film is accepted into. Many of them now include Clarksdale in that list and this new generation will be on hand to mingle and present their films to the public. Ignore the velvet ropes and meet as many as you can because one day we could be bragging about how these future stars are fellow Mississippians.

8. A very special screening of “The Help” on Saturday at 7pm will feature a Q&A panel of Mississippi residents who helped in making the film possible. Come hear their stories! The film features several scenes shot in and around Clarksdale, using many local resources and extras.

9. An unprecedented two fictional films (“Land” by Will Goss and “The Best Day” Coop Cooper) and numerous documentaries made by Clarksdale residents will screen at the festival. Some of the notable local documentarians include Roger Stolle, Leonette Henderson, Conor Coughlin, John Rusky, Vincent Productions (Gary Vincent) and selections from the Barefoot Workshop program which uses Clarksdale as a bi-annual location for filmmaking. This confirms the momentous fact that Clarksdale does indeed have an active and growing filmmaking community.

10. The honor of having a film festival in Mississippi: In 1996 there were no film festivals in the state. Now there are over a dozen with at least two more starting up this year. Clarksdale has joined the ranks of larger cities to include filmmaking and celebration of movies into its culture. I’d say that’s a very large source of pride for Clarksdale, one that could reap many future rewards.

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Trailer for the award-winning short PRISMA…


A corporate promotional VHS tape from 1984 conceals a brain-altering signal which is said to grant increased health, longevity and psychic powers to those who watch it. View at your own risk...

WINNER: SPECIAL JURY PRIZE, 2017 Oxford Film Festival

WINNER: BEST EXPERIMENTAL FILM, 2017 FantaSci Short Film Festival

SEMI-FINALIST: 2017 NanoCon International Science-Fiction Film Festival

NOMINEE: BEST ANIMATION, 2017 End of Days Film Festival

NOMINEE: BEST GRAPHICS, 2017 FantaSci Short Film Festival

OFFICIAL SELECTION:
2017 Nightmares Film Festival
2017 H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival
2017 Oxford Film Festival
2017 Crossroads Film Festival
2017 Clarksdale Film Festival
2017 Twisted Dreams Film Festival
2017 Tupelo Film Festival
2017 NanoCon International Sci-Fi Film Festival
2017 FantaSci Short Film Festival
2017 End of Days Film Festival
2017 Grenada Afterglow Film Festival
2017 Shiver International Film Festival

Trailer for the lost short GOD MAKER…


Northern Mississippi 1932:
In a cabin in the woods, a blind blues guitarist will discover his destiny from a lovesick goddess who seeks to corrupt his soul.

GOD MAKER remains unfinished and in limbo for now, but the trailer expresses the mood and imagery intended for the project...

Coop’s award-winning 48 hour short film trailer for REGRESS…


Told in reverse, this experimental made-in-48-hours film begins with a shocking murder then backtracks (like a viewer rewinding a VHS tape) to reveal the chilling origins of this tragedy.

WINNER: BEST SHORT FILM at the 2013 Clarksdale Film Festival...
NOMINATED: BEST DIRECTING by the 2012 48hr. Guerrilla Film Challenge (international contest)...
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2013 Crossroads Film Festival

Watch Coop’s award-winning short film THE BEST DAY…


WINNER: 2012 MAGNOLIA FILM FESTIVAL "Best Homegrown Film"
WINNER: 2012 SEATTLE TRUE INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL "Best Scream"

OFFICIAL SELECTION:
2012 OXFORD FILM FESTIVAL
2012 CLARKSDALE FILM FESTIVAL
2012 CROSSROADS FILM FESTIVAL
2012 NORTHEAST MISSISSIPPI FILM FESTIVAL
2012 ATLANTA INDIE HORROR FILM FESTIVAL
2012 OTHERFEST
2012 MISSISSIPPI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
2012 SUN AND SAND FILM FESTIVAL

Morgan Freeman asks Coop a question at THE BEST DAY premiere! Video below…


My short film THE BEST DAY premiered in October 2011 at the Delta Cinema in Clarksdale, Mississippi.

Little did I know I had a special guest in the audience who was about to ask me a question during the Q&A. Yep, I got a little flustered when I saw who it was.

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