INCLUDE_DATA

Film selections at the 6th Annual Clarksdale Film Fest impress…

Posted on February 5th, 2016
Film selections at the 6th Annual Clarksdale Film Fest impress…

by Coop Cooper

The 6th Annual Clarksdale Film Fest is over and a good time was had by all. Here is a bit of what was screened at the fest and some of the fest’s more interesting (and Clarksdale-centric) offerings…

The festival kicked off Thursday night with the documentary “The Rolling Stones: Crossfire Hurricane” which included dozens of performances and candid footage from the Stones’ early years on up into the present. Interviews of the band members are used as voice overs to accompany and sometimes narrate the past footage, giving a rare insight into the history of the band, their blues influences and how they persevered and cheated death to become the icons they are today…

Read more...
Comments Off on Film selections at the 6th Annual Clarksdale Film Fest impress…

The 2014 Clarksdale Film Fest was a hit!

Posted on January 27th, 2014
The 2014 Clarksdale Film Fest was a hit!

Definitely a blast had by all with the award-winning documentary “Muscle Shoals” taking the primetime Saturday spot. It was one of my favorites at the Oxford Film Fest last year and it was a pleasure to see it again. Also great was “Cheesehead Blues”, a documentary starring Clarksdale’s own Dutch transplant Theo Dasbach as he goes around town and meets the various musical personalities here in town. It’s a work in progress and I am impressed with director Jon Doense for his dedication to the project (and the fact that hew flew all the way to Mississippi from the Netherlands for the premiere)…






Read more...
Comments Off on The 2014 Clarksdale Film Fest was a hit!

Mississippi Filmmakers: Johnson Thomasson

Posted on July 4th, 2013
Mississippi Filmmakers:  Johnson Thomasson

by Coop Cooper

Johnson Thomasson is a young and enterprising Mississippi filmmaker based in Starkville (with roots in the Delta) whose film career is taking off. He directed his first festival-bound short film “Blood Feud” in 2010 and just completed his latest film “Headrush,” an ambitious and wonderfully shot short that questions the morals of cutting-edge science. He was recently a guest-speaker at the Tupelo Film Alliance meeting in June and has been accepted to the graduate Directing Program at University of Southern California – one of the top three film schools in the world – for this upcoming fall semester. Thomasson is a gifted Mississippi filmmaker who has a knack for production value and direction, and is an inspiration for other Mississippi natives looking to break into the business. Here is my brief interview with him…






Read more...
Comments Off on Mississippi Filmmakers: Johnson Thomasson

What I have learned after a year of film festivals…

Posted on November 6th, 2012
What I have learned after a year of film festivals…

It’s been one year since my short film “The Best Day” premiered and since then it has appeared in ten film festivals in Mississippi and across the country. Most of these festivals were small but I attended all of them and learned a lot about their functions. Each one has a unique style, method of operation and problems. Now that the festival run of my short is coming to a close, here is what I learned about film festivals (in general) over the course of one year…

Most smaller fests cater toward a niche. In most cases they appeal to local interests, showcasing work from local filmmakers, but they also survive by catering to particular genres such as horror or documentary. Without a niche, a small film fest is likely doomed.

The best fests do more than just show movies. They hold also panels featuring industry professionals giving advice on different aspects of filmmaking. They hold Q&As with filmmakers after screenings. They host parties and special events with musical entertainment. They hold awards ceremonies…






Read more...
Comments Off on What I have learned after a year of film festivals…

10 reasons to attend the 2nd annual Clarksdale Film Fest

Posted on January 24th, 2012
10 reasons to attend the 2nd annual Clarksdale Film Fest

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…






Read more...
Comments Off on 10 reasons to attend the 2nd annual Clarksdale Film Fest

GYPSY HEART brings a fresh spin to an old legend

Posted on January 24th, 2012
GYPSY HEART brings a fresh spin to an old legend

by Coop Cooper

While watching “Gypsy Heart” one might wonder where the story is going, until the payoff when they realize the story is oddly familiar to those who appreciate a good legend. A good samaritan (Glenn Payne) picks up an alluring hitchhiker (Courtney Cheek) on a rural Mississippi road. The more questions the guy asks, the more uncomfortable the girl becomes. Soon it becomes apparent that the girl is hiding something. As they approach their destination, both parties soon discover the reason for their chance meeting…






Read more...
Comments Off on GYPSY HEART brings a fresh spin to an old legend

Mississippi indie filmmaker spotlight: Michael Williams’ ILLUMINATION

Posted on November 4th, 2011
Mississippi indie filmmaker spotlight:  Michael Williams’ ILLUMINATION

Michael Williams is a reliable fixture at film festivals in Mississippi and the neighboring states. He’s also very talented, so when he asked me to take a look at his new short film “Illumination,” I jumped at the chance.

His story, clearly influenced by early Spielberg, easily reminds one of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (1977) but with some similarities to Alex Proyas’ “Knowing” (2009). A cheating archeologist (Glenn Payne) discovers what is truly important in his life after his wife (Juliet Reeves) and son (Grayson Easterling) vanish under unusual circumstances. Saying anymore than that would be telling, but Williams manages to draw out some effective suspense through technical expertise and the performances of the actors…






Read more...
Comments Off on Mississippi indie filmmaker spotlight: Michael Williams’ ILLUMINATION

Things I learned while making a movie

Posted on November 2nd, 2011
Things I learned while making a movie

I went to one of the best films schools in the world and I learned a heck of a lot about screenwriting. I taught it to high schoolers in Los Angeles and adults at seminars. I got to work with some seasoned pros and I learned a little about the other aspects of filmmaking. Unfortunately, back in 1997, it wasn’t very easy to make a short film. It was expensive and cheap ones ($1000 and up) often looked terrible due to the technical hurdles crews would have to overcome. Watching my colleagues slave over their thesis projects with (mostly) mediocre results was discouraging. Because of this, I focused on becoming a writer and academic, ignoring the technical aspects I had little access to.

Fast forward to summer 2010… I had a weird dream and quickly churned out a screenplay based on it. I met some filmmakers at festivals, asked some questions, went back home, did research and took stock of my resources. I suddenly realized it could be done competently for much cheaper than it did thirteen years ago. I raised a crew, secured equipment, auditioned actors and in December of 2010 I shot my first short film “The Best Day.” The premiere was last night and here are a few important lessons I learned from the entire process:






Read more...
Comments Off on Things I learned while making a movie

2011 Tupelo Film Festival was a blast…

Posted on May 23rd, 2011
2011 Tupelo Film Festival was a blast…

The more film festivals I attend, the more I learn to appreciate the unique qualities of each. For instance, small and friendly can be just as rewarding as big and bustling.

The Tupelo Festival (May 11-14) takes place at the Lyric Theater in the historic downtown area of the city and runs primarily on the theater’s single screen. Like the Clarksdale Film Fest, it has a more intimate setting than the Oxford or Crossroads fests as it is free of the distractions inherent in a multiplex theater trying to balance regular movie-going patrons with festival attendees. It also has the advantage of allowing every attendee unlimited access to the filmmakers and festival events…






Read more...
Comments Off on 2011 Tupelo Film Festival was a blast…

10 reasons why film festivals are important

Posted on May 9th, 2011
10 reasons why film festivals are important

After attending numerous film festivals over the years, I quickly learned the benefits of such an event, but was frustrated I was not exposed to them sooner. I feel it is necessary to highlight the advantages so people in my community, and others, can understand what the big deal is. These positives do not apply exclusively to film festivals, but to music, art and all other creative festivals as well…






Read more...
Comments Off on 10 reasons why film festivals are important

Coop is teaching a screenwriting workshop at the Crossroads Film Fest…

Posted on March 29th, 2011
Coop is teaching a screenwriting workshop at the Crossroads Film Fest…

This Saturday, April 2nd, I will teach a “Screenwriting Workshop” at the Crossroads Film Festival in Jackson Mississippi.

Theater:  Malco Grandview in Madison, MS (Screen “C”)

Time:  9:00am

Duration:  2 hours

Price:  $8 (or $6 for members/students/65+ seniors)

Here’s the official site’s info on the workshop, but unfortunately the personal information they posted about me there is a bit out of date.  Looks like it was culled from a bunch of info on my website that I have since updated.  For a more up-to-date bio, go HERE.

CONTENT:  To be more specific, I will talk about the differences between writing a “Spec. Script” for Hollywood and an “Indie Script” for independent productions.  I will include a lot of helpful information and resources for seasoned veterans as well as those new to the process.

Topics covered:

  • Honest opinions on the latest screenwriting/support software
  • Where to find examples of good scripts
  • Ironclad resources to help you perfect proper screenplay format
  • Effective exercises for beginners and veterans
  • The difference between “Hollywood” and “Indie” screenplay structure
  • Strategic screenplay outlining
  • Pitfalls of writing your first script (spec. or indie)
  • Crafting a rich story mythology
  • Creating memorable characters
  • Solid plot construction
  • Insider secrets of the spec. script
  • Critical tips for indie screenwriters
  • Why “writer’s groups” will help you succeed
  • Why rewriting IS writing
  • What to do when you THINK you’ve completed a final draft
  • Things pro screenwriters NEVER do
  • Why making your own film makes you a better screenwriter
  • Why living in a “small town” gives you an advantage in writing and making films

Plus, you get…

  • Additional resources reviewed and approved by me (many of them are FREE)
  • Online access to my supplemental materials just for attending

Hope to see you there!

– C






Read more...
Comments Off on Coop is teaching a screenwriting workshop at the Crossroads Film Fest…

COOP predicts the 2011 Academy Awards!

Posted on February 26th, 2011
COOP predicts the 2011 Academy Awards!

No nonsense this year. I have not the taste nor the stomach for it. I just hope that James Franco understands the folly of hosting during his own nomination. The acid may dissolve him permanently due to overexposure and he shows no signs of relenting. Don’t push our buttons too hard, Frank…

Besides that, Hi :)…






Read more...
Comments Off on COOP predicts the 2011 Academy Awards!

The 8th Annual Oxford Film Fest Reviewed by COOP…

Posted on February 15th, 2011
The 8th Annual Oxford Film Fest Reviewed by COOP…

Once again the fine staff of the Oxford Film Fest have topped themselves to produce the biggest turnout yet. My congratulations to all involved and I already can’t wait to see what is on the menu for 2012.

Films I saw (in no particular order):






Read more...
Comments Off on The 8th Annual Oxford Film Fest Reviewed by COOP…

MICRO REVIEWS (via Twitter!): The best of the FEEL GOOD FILM FESTIVAL by COOP

Posted on August 18th, 2010
MICRO REVIEWS (via Twitter!):  The best of the FEEL GOOD FILM FESTIVAL by COOP

Follow smalltowncritic on Twitter
Coop’s most recent MICRO REVIEWS (via Twitter):

I got to conduct some great Q & A’s for some terrific films at the FEEL GOOD FILM FESTIVAL this past weekend. I met some truly gifted filmmakers and inspirational people.

I’d like to thank these special guests for affecting me the most: Cheryl Hines for her big intro, Shirley Jones for classing up the joint with her presence, Marty Ingles for reminding us what this festival is really about, Leeza Gibbons for singling me out with a nice compliment, writer/director Lexi Alexander for the lively discussion, producer/actor Googy Gress for his sincere enthusiasm, the League of S.T.E.A.M. for entertaining us all weekend and motivational speaker/actor Nick Vujicic for the sheer inspiration he gave to us all with his fantastic short film The Butterfly Circus (watch here!).

I’d also like to give big high-fives to all of the coordinators and volunteers for making the festival such a fun and engaging experience. I had a great time bonding with you all.

Finally a big congratulations to producer/actor Joe Russell and writer/actress Casey Strand from the short film “Strawberries” whose engagement I helped orchestrate during one of the more memorable Q & A’s.

I wish I had seen them all but of the ones I did see, here are the films that I felt were the best (in no particular order)…






Read more...
Comments Off on MICRO REVIEWS (via Twitter!): The best of the FEEL GOOD FILM FESTIVAL by COOP

COOP is introducing movies and conducting Q & A’s at the FEEL GOOD FILM FESTIVAL Aug. 13-15!

Posted on August 2nd, 2010
COOP is introducing movies and conducting Q & A’s at the FEEL GOOD FILM FESTIVAL Aug. 13-15!

Hey folks. Dropping the word that I’ll be in Los Angeles the weekend of Aug. 13 for the Feel Good Film Festival. I’ve been asked to introduce some of the features/short films and run the questions & answers session after each. This will be my first year to attend the festival, so I’m excited to get out there and meet the filmmakers, press and organizers involved with the event which will take place at the American Cinematheque’s Egyptian Theater in downtown Hollywood. The festival, which apparently has grown significantly since its beginnings, has quite an impressive indie film line up.

Come by, check it out and find me on the red carpet!…

Here’s the official Press release with details on each film being screened…






Read more...
Comments Off on COOP is introducing movies and conducting Q & A’s at the FEEL GOOD FILM FESTIVAL Aug. 13-15!

COOP reports from the 2010 OXFORD (MISSISSIPPI) FILM FESTIVAL

Posted on February 9th, 2010
COOP reports from the 2010 OXFORD (MISSISSIPPI) FILM FESTIVAL

The 7th year of the annual Oxford Film Festival in Oxford, Mississippi kicked off the night of Thursday the 4th by taking over half of the Malco Oxford Studio Cinema and roping an area off for the media, filmmakers and other assorted guests. While I had attended screenings at large festivals during my tenure in Los Angeles, I was only moderately enthused about covering a local one. I figured I’d see a few underwhelming indie flicks and slink on back home to Clarksdale for some light writing and shut-eye. Boy was I ever wrong.






Read more...
Comments Off on COOP reports from the 2010 OXFORD (MISSISSIPPI) FILM FESTIVAL

THE SMALL TOWN CRITIC to host Q & A at the 2010 Oxford Film Fest!

Posted on February 4th, 2010
THE SMALL TOWN CRITIC to host Q & A at the 2010 Oxford Film Fest!

WARNING: Shameless self promotion ahead…

The Oxford Film Fest – which takes place in the friendly town of Oxford, Mississippi – begins tonight (2/4/10) and yours truly will be hosting the Q & A for the Mike McCarthy cult hit Cigarette Girl at 10pm tonight and 9:45pm Friday night.

You might remember me reviewing Cigarette Girl at it’s Memphis premiere where I heralded its importance as a symbol of modern cinema born from the ashes of the Memphis urban landscape. Its stylistically gorgeous production design and its bold originality made it one of my favorite cinematic experiences of 2009.






Read more...
Comments Off on THE SMALL TOWN CRITIC to host Q & A at the 2010 Oxford Film Fest!

SLEEP DEALER (2009) ****1/2 ain’t snooze-worthy. In fact, It’s great sci-fi! by COOP

Posted on September 28th, 2009
SLEEP DEALER (2009) ****1/2 ain’t snooze-worthy. In fact, It’s great sci-fi! by COOP

Whew, back from a relaxing vacation to bring you an indie film that needs more exposure.

Set in the future where fears of terrorism have made travel across the border between America and Mexico nearly impossible, native Mexicans find a new, high-tech method of illegal immigration. Luis Fernando Pena plays Memo, a young man who reads “Hacking for Beginners” books and tinkers with his own surveillance equipment at his father’s struggling farm in Mexico. The U.S. Government has…






Read more...
Comments Off on SLEEP DEALER (2009) ****1/2 ain’t snooze-worthy. In fact, It’s great sci-fi! by COOP

David Cronenberg’s CRASH (1996) NC-17 movie reviewed in 159 one-word statements. by DARK SIDE

Posted on July 1st, 2009
David Cronenberg’s CRASH (1996) NC-17 movie reviewed in 159 one-word statements. by DARK SIDE

No, not that lame, heavy-handed racial character study starring Sandra Bullock and Don Cheadle. This one won a Cannes Special Jury Prize for “Daring, Audacity and Originality.” It premiered with a limited run in America with an NC-17 rating. It stars James Spader, Holly Hunter, Deborah Unger, Rosanna Arquette and Elias Koteas. Its experimental nature inspired me to do some experimenting of my own. Instead of a run-of-the-mill plot description how about one in haiku form?…






Read more...
Comments Off on David Cronenberg’s CRASH (1996) NC-17 movie reviewed in 159 one-word statements. by DARK SIDE

MOON trailer is freaking me out! by COOP

Posted on April 12th, 2009
MOON trailer is freaking me out!  by COOP

Here’s what you need to know: It stars Sam Rockwell as a guy alone on a moon base without a soul on the rock to talk to except for his trusty, super-intelligent computer voiced by Kevin Spacey. He’s lost communication with Earth, but his 3 year tour is almost up and he’s preparing to go […]

Read more...
Comments Off on MOON trailer is freaking me out! by COOP
Search
Search Form
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 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

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.

The Small Town Critic’s SCREENWRITING SERVICES
Follow Coop on Twitter...
    follow me on twitter
    Follow smalltowncritic on Twitter
    Archives
    Subscribe via Email!

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    Subscribe via RSS feed!