The 8th annual Clarksdale Film Festival returns on Friday-Saturday, January 26-27. And organizers said it’s going to be “a real house party.”
“This is a curated film festival, so it’s not just ‘whatever films came out this year,'” said co-founder Roger Stolle. “We premiere new works, of course, but we also showcase films that we think are important and folks may have missed.”
This year’s films include:
“Two Trains Runnin’”—A blues-meets-civil rights story about the search for 1930s Mississippi bluesmen during Freedom Summer
“Shake Sister Shake”—A world premiere about women in blues, including Clarksdalians
“Love Is a Sensation”—This is a special preview of a bio-pic on Mississippi folk artist L.V. Hull, described as “the second most famous woman from Kosciusko.”
“Chasing Trane”—A highly acclaimed documentary about the legendary jazz composer and saxophone player John Coltrane
The Clarksdale festival’s 20-some films will screen at two pop-up theaters: New Roxy (the covered inside front bar area at 363 Issaquena Ave.) and Grandma’s Sports Bar (115 3rd St., next to Grandma’s House of Pancakes). Tickets will be available at both doors.
But while the film festival specializes in blues/roots music and Mississippi-related movies, it’s about more than just screenings, according to co-organizer Nan Hughes.
“In addition to all of the wonderful films, we feature History Bus Tours of Clarksdale, a film workshop for kids, live blues music, a daily reception, special guests and more,” said Hughes. “It’s really just another excuse to show off our amazing little music town.”
Directors agree there is something special about screening their work in the home of the Crossroads.
New York director Lesley Abbey said, “My documentary brings together generations of Long Island’s blues greats. To be acknowledged by Clarksdale, Mississippi, where it all began, is truly an honor.” Her film, “Big Fish Blues,” will make its Mississippi premiere at the fest.
Similarly, Lisa Eismen, Australian director of Shake Sister Shake, said, “I love Clarksdale, and I’m so excited to have the world premiere of my film there. It’s the perfect fit.”
One of the festival’s more popular events is its daily 5 p.m. music reception, which this year will be held at Grandma’s Sports Bar and feature bluesmen Lucious Spiller (Friday) and Sean “Bad” Apple (Saturday) along with complimentary hors d’oeuvres while they last.
Admission to the Clarksdale Film Festival is $5 per day, thanks to sponsors that include Clarksdale-Coahoma County Tourism and Clarksdale Public Utilities, among several others. Each ticket includes all official events at both theaters, including movies, tours, receptions.
Special to HottyToddy.com