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More critically acclaimed movies of 2011

Posted on January 23rd, 2012
More critically acclaimed movies of 2011

by Coop Cooper
All of the following films are on the short list for Academy Awards nominations, and while they all have Oscar-caliber qualities (particularly acting), I felt they fell short as “Best Motion Picture” contenders… except for one.

1. “War Horse” – Based on a book and a stage play (????), “War Horse” chronicles the story of a boy searching for his remarkable horse that is lost in the chaos of the battlefields of World War I. Possibly the best film ever in which a non-talking animal is the main character of the story, “War Horse” didn’t unfold as maudlin as I expected. Director Steven Spielberg tends to serve his weepy dramas with an overdose of sugar, but this film has just enough action and skillful execution, it rises above the typical “Lassie” story. While the plot is episodic and awkwardly paced, it’s just too…

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Does STRAW DOGS (2011) harm Mississippi’s reputation?

Posted on December 23rd, 2011
Does STRAW DOGS (2011) harm Mississippi’s reputation?

Based on the original 1971 classic, this version of “Straw Dogs” moves the locale from rural England to rural Mississippi. David (James Marsden) and Amy Sumner (Kate Bosworth) return from Hollywood to Amy’s home town to fix up her deceased father’s hurricane-damaged home and so David can get some quiet time to work on his next screenplay. They soon run into Charlie (Alexander Skarsgard) and his contracting crew hired to fix up the Sumner barn. Charlie, an ex beau of Amy’s, gives David a hard time and leers at Amy along with his cronies. An escalating series of circumstances results in these mean-spirited locals pushing too far. They lay siege to the house, giving David and Amy no choice but to fight for their lives…






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MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE… One of the best movies of 2011

Posted on December 2nd, 2011
MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE…  One of the best movies of 2011

“Martha Marcy May Marlene” has an oddly cryptic title but a fascinating premise. It stars Elizabeth Olsen (younger sister to the infamous “Olsen Twins”) as Martha, an impressionable runaway who, after a lengthy disappearance, finally contacts her sister Lucy (Sarah Paulson) for a place to stay. Lucy, now married and pregnant, takes in Martha who refuses to divulge any information about the past two years in which she was missing. Through flashbacks, we learn that Martha had been seduced and brainwashed by a Manson-like cult lead by a charismatic nihilist named Patrick (Oscar-nominee John Hawkes). As Lucy and her husband (Hugh Dancy) become increasingly disturbed by Martha’s inappropriately erratic behavior, flashbacks reveal key moments in her time with the cult which hint at the reasons behind her shattered sense of reality…






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6 great movies for the Halloween season

Posted on October 31st, 2011
6 great movies for the Halloween season

by Coop Cooper
There are many great horror films out there but very few actually take place during or around Halloween. Here are six of the best…

6. “Ginger Snaps” (2000) – Ginger and her sister, Brigitte are two high school Goth outcasts… Until Ginger gets bit by a werewolf. The infection gives Ginger the confidence she’s never had… and an appetite for human flesh. The climax occurs during a Halloween party where Ginger doesn’t need a fake costume to look scary. One of the great underrated werewolf films, “Ginger Snaps” is a sly, grim allegory to the pains of female puberty. It spawned two bizarre and substandard sequels but the original has a large fan following…






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Best new primetime TV shows of the 2011 season

Posted on October 12th, 2011
Best new primetime TV shows of the 2011 season

“Terra Nova” (Monday 7pm on FOX) – In the future where Earth has become ravaged and polluted, adventurous citizens get the chance to go back in time to the dinosaur age (85 million B.C.) to begin a new civilization. Ex-cop Jim Shannon (Jason O’Mara) breaks out of prison to join his family on a one-way trip to the past. On the other side they encounter two warring factions of humans fighting over a well-protected secret while trying to survive amongst predatory monsters. Plagued by clichés, the first episode rose above the poor writing with big-budgeted special effects and an intriguing mystery reminiscent of “Lost.” Trying to duplicate some of the qualities of “Avatar,” the show employs “Avatar” veteran Stephen Lang to play the gruff militaristic leader of the main colony. The pilot showed a lot of promise. Hopefully it becomes more like “Lost” and less like “Land of the Lost.”(…)






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“Apollo 18” is direct-to-video at best

Posted on September 13th, 2011
“Apollo 18” is direct-to-video at best

If you had problems with “The Blair Witch Project,” you’ll find yourself frustrated with “Apollo 18” for the same reasons. The actors have to deal with long takes which cause them to ham it up when on camera for too long. Eerie sounds spring up at convenient points to convey tension, for instance: A sudden heartbeat on the soundtrack isn’t natural when the scene is supposed to mimic reality. Plus there shouldn’t be sound in the vacuum of space. The sound design people seemed to forget that one when adding sound effects to the track (in stereo, no less)…






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DVD REVIEWS: BLACK SWAN and TRON LEGACY

Posted on April 12th, 2011
DVD REVIEWS:  BLACK SWAN and TRON LEGACY

By Coop Cooper

One highly anticipated sequel (“Tron Legacy”) and one Oscar-winning film (“Black Swan”): Both are now available on DVD for you to buy or rent.

“Black Swan” tells the harrowing story of a talented, yet emotionally repressed ballerina named Nina (Natalie Portman) who suddenly receives the role of her career playing the Broadway lead in “Swan Lake.” When the sleazy and demanding director (Vincent Cassel) challenges Nina to tap into the dark side of her personality in order to play the sinister Black Swan role, she begins a slow spiral into madness. The conniving upstart Lily (Mila Kunis) both seduces Nina and threatens her career, propelling Nina’s insanity into disturbing realms of paranoia and hallucination.

“Black Swan” emulates the unsettling art-house horror films of Roman Polanski and David Cronenberg, but manages to remain explainable enough for general audiences to digest. It punctuates the more disturbing scenes of… CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THE REVIEW AT THE CLARKSDALE PRESS REGISTER WEBSITE






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Coop Cooper’s sci-fi/horror short film THE BEST DAY has a trailer…

Posted on April 4th, 2011
Coop Cooper’s sci-fi/horror short film THE BEST DAY has a trailer…

Coop here. I released the trailer for THE BEST DAY on Facebook this past weekend and have gotten a very positive response so far.  Now that I’m back from teaching my screenwriting workshop at the Crossroads Film Festival (thanks to all of you who attended), I finally have the opportunity to release the trailer by way of a blog post where it will reach many more viewers…

A few details about this sci-fi/horror short:  It was filmed in four days in December 2010 entirely in Clarksdale, Mississippi by myself and a crew of locals.  It stars Anna Carson Tyner as Jenny, Amye Gousset as Mommy, David Dallas as Daddy and Lois Erwin as Miss Vargas.  The film is currently in the final stages of post production.

Logline:  Little Jenny wishes nothing more than to reunite with her “sick” mommy and daddy, but poor Jenny will live to regret this wish…  again, and again, and again.

CLICK “Read More” below to watch the trailer…






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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):






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The cast of sci-fi short THE BEST DAY has been chosen!!!

Posted on November 7th, 2010
The cast of sci-fi short THE BEST DAY has been chosen!!!

The film is written, produced and directed by Coop Cooper (The Small Town Critic) with a production crew that consists entirely of Clarksdale, Mississippi residents.

“The Best Day” is a 15-minute science fiction short about an innocent child in a dire situation. Jenny arrives home from school, excited that newly “resurrected” Mommy has returned, only to find that something is very wrong with her. When Mommy’s memories fully return, so do the tragedies of the past. They were once human, now part of a cruel experiment that repeats over and over… and it is all Daddy’s fault.

THE CAST…






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So yeah, I’m making this short film…

Posted on October 18th, 2010
So yeah, I’m making this short film…

I’ve been pretty busy lately, neglecting the site a bit, and the press release below explains why. If you live within driving distance of Clarksdale or Oxford Mississippi and you have an interest in acting, you might wanna read this…

SHORT FILM PRODUCTION IN CLARKSDALE, MS – A short film will be shot in Clarksdale this December. The film is written, produced and directed by Coop Cooper. Lois McMurchy has been cast as the villain and two non-speaking roles will be played by crew members. The crew consists entirely of Clarksdale area residents.

“The Best Day” is a 15-minute science fiction short about an innocent child in a dire situation. The child arrives home from school, excited that newly “resurrected” Mommy has returned, only to find that something is very wrong with her. When Mommy’s memories fully return, so do the tragedies of the past. They were once human, now part of a cruel experiment that repeats over and over… and it is all Daddy’s fault.

The film’s rating falls into the PG to PG-13 range due to intense situations. The shooting dates will be two weekends, December 4th – 5th and 11th – 12th. CLICK BELOW TO LEARN MORE…






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HALLOWEEN REWIND: HAIR METAL MOVIE MADNESS presents “Ode to Slashers!” Music from Jason, Freddy and Michael! by DARK SIDE

Posted on October 1st, 2010
HALLOWEEN REWIND:  HAIR METAL MOVIE MADNESS presents “Ode to Slashers!”  Music from Jason, Freddy and Michael! by DARK SIDE

Does anyone remember that bizarre pop song that Alice Cooper did for the Friday the 13th movie franchise? Yeah, I didn’t either until a friend reminded me that it existed. FT13 Part 6 was poised to resurrect (literally) the flailing franchise who already saw the demise of it’s main character, Jason, in IV and replaced him with a temporary impostor in V. Nobody liked that, so what was their solution for 6? Death to Arnold Horshack from Welcome Back, Kotter. Just kidding, but not really…






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MICRO REVIEWS (via Twitter!): MOTHER, MONSTERS, THE KILLER INSIDE ME, INTRUDER, DRILLBIT TAYLOR, THE TOWN, CENTURION…

Posted on September 27th, 2010
MICRO REVIEWS (via Twitter!):  MOTHER, MONSTERS, THE KILLER INSIDE ME, INTRUDER, DRILLBIT TAYLOR, THE TOWN, CENTURION…

Got a slew of them here. MONSTERS is currently available as a $10.oo rent on iTunes and THE KILLER INSIDE ME will be available on DVD/Blu-Ray tomorrow (Sept. 28)…

MOTHER – Poor Korean mom turns detective in an attempt to free her alleged murdering, simple-minded son. Powerful cinema. 5 out of 5 stars.

MONSTERS – Immigration statement thinly disguised as arthouse sci-fi. Watchable for critics, unsatisfying for mainstream. 3 out of 5 stars

THE KILLER INSIDE ME – C. Affleck plays a psycho lawman in 1960’s TX. Brilliant, brutal and one of the best of the year. 5 out of 5 stars

INTRUDER – Sam Raimi & crew try to survive a slasher attack in a supermarket. Nice camerawork but lame considering the talent. 2 – 5 stars

DRILLBIT TAYLOR – Innocuous comedy where 3 nerds hire a homeless buffoon to protect them from a bully. Cute but hollow. 2&1/2 out of 5 stars

THE TOWN – A guilt-ridden Boston bank robber falls in love with a former hostage. Affleck remakes HEAT with kick-ass results. 4 out of 5 stars

CENTURION – Spec fiction about what may have happened to the 9th Roman Legion. Sloppy pacing/high watchability. Bloody brutal! 3 out of 5

Thy Twitter has spoken…

-Coop

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A SERBIAN FILM… DARK SIDE returns to review the most controversial horror movie of the year!

Posted on September 20th, 2010
A SERBIAN FILM… DARK SIDE returns to review the most controversial horror movie of the year!

So apparently THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE is no longer the most disturbing film of 2010…

A SERBIAN FILM has been shocking and flabbergasting audiences in the festival circuit this summer and for good reason, it features some grisly set pieces and sequences that have caused people to both condemn it for audacity and praise it for its satirical and political messages. I had to see it for myself and now that I have, I see what the big deal is. I also see the movie what it truly is: A missed opportunity.

Milos (Srdjan Todorovic) is a retired Serbian porn star trying to go legit with a Swedish interpreter wife and a 10-ish year-old son. He can’t seem to get a break, so he takes the odd skin flick job to help pay the bills. One of his scumbag ex-co-stars gives him a lead on a supposed well-funded filmmaker offering Milos an exorbitant amount of cash to make an arthouse porn film. This crazed filmmaker, named Vukmir Vukmir (Sergej Trifunovic), explains to Milos that the cash agreement will be honored as long as Milos enters the scenes without a script or prior knowledge of what they are about. Milos must then improv his way through the scene. Though uncomfortable with the conditions, Milos cannot turn down the money, so he agrees. The scenes start off mildly disturbing, then escalate to violent and illegal…






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THE RISE OF THE “HOAXUMENTARY”: ARE FILMMAKERS CROSSING THE LINE? by COOP

Posted on September 7th, 2010
THE RISE OF THE “HOAXUMENTARY”: ARE FILMMAKERS CROSSING THE LINE? by COOP

In 1999, the world became fascinated by a little independent film called “The Blair Witch Project”. Word spread about this “real-life” found footage of college kids being stalked and ultimately murdered by a spectral being which sparked a wildfire of interest and prompted many people to discuss and investigate this story. Of course we all know now it was phony and even the smallest amount of research revealed the truth, but at the time it was quite the sensation. If you’re like me and keep up with current film industry rumors and news, you were clued-in far ahead of the rest of the general public. Besides, the movie never technically claimed to be real (even the “based on true events” tag no longer holds validity since then), merely the clever marketing suggested it could be.

Now in more jaded times, audiences are harder to fool. We think we’ve seen it all and most of us can’t fathom being duped like that again. This has prompted many filmmakers to resort to gimmicks or ambitious campaigns, sometimes involving some type of a hoax, in an attempt to get their project noticed. Three films releasing this year are trying to accomplish just that and so far, it looks like at least two are succeeding. They herald the return of the genre known as the “Hoaxumentary” which takes the “Mockumentary” one step further by officially claiming to be 100% real. These films are: “I’m Still Here”, “The Virginity Hit” and “Catfish”…






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MICRO REVIEWS (via Twitter!) TURKEY SHOOT, BOOKIES, RESTORATION, SHELTER, THE GREAT RAID, I SELL THE DEAD…

Posted on August 6th, 2010
MICRO REVIEWS (via Twitter!) TURKEY SHOOT, BOOKIES, RESTORATION, SHELTER, THE GREAT RAID, I SELL THE DEAD…

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Looks like a random video store sampling this time. Sometimes, that’s the way I like it…

TURKEY SHOOT: Bourgeois sadists hunt Aussie political prisoners. Banned in OZ in the 1980’s, but a total exploitation hoot. 3&1/2 out of 5

BOOKIES: 3 college dorks start a gambling operation out of their dorm room and run afoul of the mob. Smug and sloppily written. 2 out of 5

RESTORATION: A disgraced English doctor is forced to marry King Charles II’s mistress, resulting in tragedy and redemption. Epic. 4 out of 5

SHELTER: Shrink meets a schizo man who suffers from a demonic curse. Gimmicky yet stylish thriller from the writer of IDENTITY. 3 out of 5

THE GREAT RAID: True story of WWII rescue of POWs from a Japanese camp in Philippines. Inspiring story yet poorly executed film. 2 out of 5

I SELL THE DEAD: Amusingly well-written tale of cockney graverobbers who specialize in capturing vamps, zombies and aliens. 3&1/2 out of 5

Thy Twitter has spoken.

-Coop






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MICRO REVIEWS (via Twitter!): THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, PECKER, WATCHING THE DETECTIVES, SALVAGE (2006), SALVAGE (2009), 2012, APACHES…

Posted on July 27th, 2010
MICRO REVIEWS (via Twitter!):  THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, PECKER, WATCHING THE DETECTIVES, SALVAGE (2006), SALVAGE (2009), 2012, APACHES…

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

Nothing brand new here, but I just can’t get the energy up to go see WANTED II… I mean, SALT…

THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO: Quirky autistic hacker chick fights crime and has a lot of sex in Sweden. High brow yet boring. 2 out of 5

PECKER: Photog’s quick fame ruins lives of loved ones. Semi-autobio of John Waters. Clever allegory for artistic expression. 3&1/2 out of 5

WATCHING THE DETECTIVES: A girl (Lucy Liu) uses wild pranks to woo a nerdy boy (Cillian Murphy). Well-written indie rom-com. 3&1/2 out of 5

SALVAGE (2006): Girl relives her death at the hands of a serial killer over and over. Above par indie horror with a great twist. 3 out of 5

SALVAGE (2009): Mother searches for daughter during invasion by soldiers hunting a murderous mutant. Good tension, lame BBC plot. 2 out of 5

2012: John Cusack tries to save family from the apocalypse. Worst disaster movie ever. Roland Emmerich should take up bowling. 1 out of 5

APACHES: Sinister 1977 British public service film about irresponsible brats dying in farming accidents. Brutal and brilliant. 4 out of 5

Thy Twitter has spoken.






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Strange things are afoot at THE MAN BEHIND THE DOOR… by DARK SIDE

Posted on July 23rd, 2010
Strange things are afoot at THE MAN BEHIND THE DOOR…  by DARK SIDE

I love the “paranormal”. Hell, I AM the paranormal and I don’t wait around for Halloween just to get excited about the subject. So when Coop inherited a box of crazy from an amateur paranormal researcher, I was giddy. GIDDY, I say. Now Coop ain’t tellin’ me much about what’s in The Box [cue organ music and mad scientist laughter], but he’s already found some groovy stuff from this rogue investigator named Wes Cotten. Formerly based out of Memphis, TN, Wes has gone AWOL and left a bunch of his research for his old friend Coop to wade through and do what he wants to with it, including Wes’s creepy website THE MAN BEHIND THE DOOR






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MICRO REVIEWS (via Twitter!): PREDATORS, BLOOD AND BONE, THE WHITE RIBBON, THE BROOD, ECLIPSE…

Posted on July 15th, 2010
MICRO REVIEWS (via Twitter!):  PREDATORS, BLOOD AND BONE, THE WHITE RIBBON, THE BROOD, ECLIPSE…

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

All I can think about is how jazzed I am about INCEPTION tomorrow…

PREDATORS: Cheesy fun that honors and expands upon the original. Quite satisfying, but does it warrant more sequels? Maybe. 3&1/2 out of 5

BLOOD AND BONE: Michael Jai White plays badass, honorable ex-con fighting in underground circuits. Another Lionheart remake. Bah. 2 out of 3

THE WHITE RIBBON: In a pre-WWI German village, a cruel act reveals an underlying evil. Masterful allegory on the rise of fascism. 5 out of 5

THE BROOD: Shrink invents therapy to manifest rage in flesh of patients. Mediocre Cronenberg film still tops most horror efforts. 3 out of 5

ECLIPSE: Better than the first two due to bigger battles and neat vamp backstories. Romance scenes still terminally cheezy. 3&1/2 out of 5

Thy Twitter has spoken.

-Coop
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MICRO REVIEWS (via Twitter!): A-TEAM, JONAH HEX, MACABRE (2009), GALAXY OF TERROR, NECROMENTIA, IN AMERICA…

Posted on July 5th, 2010
MICRO REVIEWS (via Twitter!): A-TEAM, JONAH HEX, MACABRE (2009), GALAXY OF TERROR, NECROMENTIA, IN AMERICA…

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

Yep, I’ve been slackin’. Maybe it’s the weak summer box office releases getting me down. At least I’ve been watching a lot of low-budget horror… an unapologetic passion of mine. Groovy…

IN AMERICA: Fine acting, but ultimately pretentious Oscar-bait about modern Irish immigrants. Includes an AIDS subplot? Ick. 2&1/2 out of 5.

NECROMENTIA: Ripoff of HELLRAISER in theme and visuals, but told backwards. Terrific atmosphere and creep factor. Inept story. 2 out of 5

GALAXY OF TERROR: Goofy, gory Corman shocker. Flimsy storyline with some neat H.R. Giger visuals and monsters. Worst ending ever. 2 out of 5

MACABRE: Better than average, ultra-gory killer family story out of Indonesia. Creepiest lead villain in Asian movie history. 3&1/2 out of 5

JONAH HEX: Cool comic book premise gets railroaded into cinematic hell. Everything sucks, especially Jonah’s face makeup. 1&1/2 out of 5

A-TEAM: Sloppy… but great actors/characters have undeniable chemistry. Nice action. Better than THE LOSERS. Murdock rules. 3&1/2 out of 5






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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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