(CLARKSDALE, MS) – Hollywood comes to Clarksdale? Or
maybe it’s Sundance? Nope. The world comes to Clarksdale — to celebrate movies,
music and Mississippi, y’all.
The 10th Annual Clarksdale Film &
Music Festival returns Friday-Sunday, January 24-26, to celebrate its first
decade in the historic downtown — an arts and entertainment district in the
midst of revitalization due, in large part, to nightly blues music and annual
festivals like this one.
“This is the tenth edition of our film festival,
and it promises to be our biggest and brightest yet,” said event
co-founder Roger Stolle. “Even more exciting than this single event is all
of the progress we’ve seen in the areas of blues tourism and downtown
revitalization during our festival’s first ten years. We like to think that our
film festival and April’s Juke Joint Festival had something to do with some of
our progress here.”
According to Stolle, this year’s Clarksdale Film
& Music Festival will showcase the small town’s big successes and deep
history. In addition to blues/roots music, civil rights and
Mississippi-connected films (many featuring Clarksdale content and characters),
this year’s special weekend also includes multiple panel discussions and
workshops with plenty of special guests. One panel will specifically cover
Clarksdale’s downtown revitalization.
This year’s pop-up movie theaters are two popular
downtown hangouts: Grandma’s Sports Bar and Hambone Gallery. The panel
discussions and workshops will be held nearby at the Delta Blues Museum and
“We have definitely expanded our film festival
offerings this year. We increased our ‘workshoppy’ stuff threefold and added a
day of free music shows on Sunday,” Stolle explained. “We’re always
looking for ways to positively impact more Clarksdale businesses as well as
present world-class entertainment and educational activities for our visitors
and locals alike. As always, plenty of the filmmakers will be on hand as well.”
In keeping with the festival’s
“edu-tainment” philosophy, once again historian Robert Birdsong will
conduct two History Bus Tours on Saturday (limited seating; first come, first
served), showcasing Clarksdale’s deep musical, literary and civil rights
Even with all of the other events and activities, the
heart of the Clarksdale Film & Music Festival is still its amazing array of
films somehow connected to “here.” Sample highlights include:
– Memphis ’69 – Concert film of 1969 Memphis
Country Blues Festival.
– Satan & Adam – The acclaimed tale of an
unlikely blues team forged on the streets.
– Walk with Me – The story of Clarksdale
transplant, bluesman Lucious Spiller.
– Miles Davis: Birth of Cool – The life and
music of the blues-inflected jazzman.
– John Lee Hooker: The Boogie Man – BBC
documentary (special FREE screening).
– Eliades Ochoa: From Cuba To The World – Doc
includes Clarksdale’s Charlie Musselwhite.
– The Blues Trail Revisited – Blues fan filmed
Mississippi in 1970 and returned 50 years later.
– Rosedale Freedom Project – Homegrown student
films from just down Highway 1.
And many, many other features, shorts and music
videos — subjects include blues, civil rights and more.
So, what does the Clarksdale Film & Music
Festival cost attendees?
“We have some amazing sponsors and volunteers,
so we keep things affordable,” said co-organizer Nan Hughes. “A
ticket is just $5 per day on Friday and Saturday, and it gets you in to both
pop-up theaters as well as a ride on the History Bus Tour. It also includes our
5pm daily receptions with ‘live’ blues music and hors d’oeuvres. Then, our
fabulous workshops, panel discussions and official Sunday music is all
Film workshops will be conducted by Coop Cooper
(Clarksdale filmmaker) and Quinn Thomashow (Hampshire College). Blues and
revitalization panel discussions will be moderated by Clay Motley (Florida Gulf