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Clarksdale Film Festival January 23-26

Posted: January 23, 2014

For its fourth year in a row, the Clarksdale Film Festival aims to make you laugh, cry and occasionally, rock out. Organizers promise attendees a feast of Mississippi and Southern filmmaking – plus a little fresh popcorn.

According to Garden & Gun magazine,  "Mississippi gets its close-up... to celebrate the Magnolia State's films and filmmakers" at the Clarksdale Film Festival.

The festival runs Thursday-Sunday, January 23-26. The main downtown screening venue is historic Delta Cinema (11 Third Street) with a secondary venue at Channel Ziltch (119 Third Street). More information is available at or
662-624-5992. Tickets are $5 per day or $10 for a weekend pass; available at the Delta Cinema box office during festival hours. Official festival hats and shirts are also available in the Delta Cinema lobby.

"We're showcasing an amazing collection of Mississippi, Southern and blues music films in three theaters," explained Roger Stolle, co-organizer of the event and owner of Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art in Clarksdale. "The details are at our film fest web page – but we'll also feature live blues by Sean "Bad" Apple, a film workshop by Coop Cooper, history bus tours by Robert Birdsong and special introductions or Q&As with filmmakers."

Delta Cinema highlights of the Clarksdale Film Festival include nightly features: Thursday, Jan. 23 - ESPN's The Book of Manning (with special guests); Friday, Jan. 24 - Cheesehead Blues (with director introduction); and Saturday, Jan. 25 - Muscle Shoals (with special guests).

Channel Ziltch highlights include screenings of award-winning films like deep south and Louisiana Blues as well as Clarksdale-made films like the appropriately titled feature Clarksdale.

And that's not all.

"The Clarksdale Film Festival isn't just about great movies," said Nan Hughes, president of the non-profit that organizes the event. "It's also a wonderful excuse to experience the entertainment and restaurant mini-mecca that our revitalized downtown has become. What other small Delta town offers such great movies, food, history tours, museums, shopping and live music in the middle of winter?"

Case in point: Since the film festival is in blues-historic Clarksdale, Mississippi, every night also features deep blues in the clubs and jukes. Music calendar. There are also a couple new downtown business openings planned for the weekend.

Such an ambitious film festival and lively downtown setting wouldn't be possible without strong community support.

"Just like with the Juke Joint Festival we put on we want to thank all of our generous sponsors and volunteers," said co-organizer Goldie Hirsberg. For a complete list of sponsors, please visit

A sampling of the official Clarksdale Film Festival schedule is below:

DELTA CINEMA (11 Third St.):
THURSDAY, JAN. 23, 2014

4:30pm - Doors open: ticket/merchandise sales, $5 per day or $10 weekend pass.

5pm - Live Blues Music: Sean "Bad" Apple & Friends
5pm - Wine reception (while quantities last)
6pm - Festival welcome by Clarksdale Downtown Development Association6:05pm - Introduction of feature film by special guests

6:15pm - NIGHTLY FEATURE - The Book of Manning (1:17 ESPN) - A father-and-son story written into the pages of football folklore, it can be argued that no family has had more influence on a sport than the Mannings. Archie — the patriarch — a star quarterback at Ole Miss and then with the New Orleans Saints, followed by oldest son Cooper, whose football dreams were cut short by a spinal condition, then sons Peyton and Eli — both of them quarterbacks. Director Rory Karpf explores how a tragedy shaped the course of not only Archie's life, but his family's as well. Narrated by actor John Goodman. SPECIAL INTRODUCTIONS by sports writer Larry Liddell and Ole Miss offensive guard Bill Coker.
- LARRY LIDDELL was only media rep present when Archie Manning signed scholarship with University of Mississippi; Liddell was Clarksdale Press Register sports editor, 1964-68, following Manning's career at Drew High School; later, Liddell was Ole Miss assistant sports information director; following Manning's senior season at Ole Miss, Liddell became director of public relations with NFL's New Orleans Saints.
- BILLY COKER played football with Manning; as an Ole Miss offensive guard, Coker spent three years blocking for Manning; among other achievements, Coker played in the Liberty Bowl (1968), Sugar Bowl (1969-70) and Gator Bowl (1970-71).

FRIDAY, JAN. 24, 2014
4:30pm - Doors open: ticket/merchandise sales, $5 per day or $10 weekend pass.

5pm - Live Blues Music: Sean "Bad" Apple & Friends
5pm - Wine reception (while quantities last)
6pm - Festival welcome by Clarksdale Downtown Development Association
6:05pm - Introduction of feature film by special guests

2pm - Clarksdale: One Word (9:05) - Delta Bohemian's love letter to our wild & wooly hometown of Clarksdale, Mississippi.
2:15pm - You See Me Laughing (77) - Documentary featuring Oxford, Mississippi-based Fat Possum Records' blues roster, featuring Junior Kimbrough, Asie Payton, Johnny Farmer & more.
4:15pm - Hard Times (69) - The classic story of Delta blues gone North, told through the eyes of sharecropper, boxer, club owner & bluesman Big George Brock; by Damien Blaylock & Roger Stolle.

DOWNSTAIRS THEATER:1pm - True Delta (36) - Award-winning blues film about the past, present and future of the Delta's up-and-coming and recently-passed blues musicians; by Erickson Blakney & Lee Quinby.
2pm - M for Mississippi (94) - Blues Music Award-winning 2008 Mississippi blues road-trip film follows Roger Stolle & Jeff Konkel as they visit T-Model Ford, Bilbo Walker, Duck Holmes & other bluesmen.
4pm - Moonshine & Mojo Hands preview trailer (2) - Preview for "world's first blues music reality series" coming to; by Roger Stolle, Jeff Konkel, Lou Bopp & Tangent Mind/Jon Michael Ryan.
4:05pm - Call Before Demo: Resurrecting a Legendary Blues Hall (25:45) - Acclaimed documentary about legendary Bay St. Louis, Mississippi's 100 Man Hall blues venue; by Kerrie Loya, James K. Miller, Jesse Loya.
6:15pm - NIGHTLY FEATURE - Cheesehead Blues: Adventures of a Dutchman in the Mississippi Delta (65) - "Can a Dutchman have the blues?" A couple years back, Dutch filmmaker Jan Doense traveled to Clarksdale to find out, spending time with musician/museum director Theo Dasbach (Rock & Blues Museum) and his blues friends — including Super Chikan, T-Model Ford, Frank "Rat" Ratliff, Watermelon Slim & others. INTRODUCTIONS/Q&A by director Jan Doense & his subject Theo Dasbach.

SATURDAY, JAN. 25, 2014
11am - Doors open: ticket/merchandise sales, $5 per day or $10 weekend pass

FRONT PORCH (bus stop):Noon - Clarksdale History Bus Tour II with historian Robert Birdsong
1:30pm - Clarksdale History Bus Tour II with historian Robert Birdsong

THEATER LOBBY:1pm - Film Workshop with film director/critic Coop Cooper — "How to make a short film for (almost) zero dollars."
5pm - Live Blues Music: Sean "Bad" Apple & Friends
5pm - Wine reception (while quantities last)
6pm - "Thanks" from organizers & introduction special guests

Noon - Barefoot Workshops Documentary Shorts (60) - Four short films documenting aspects of Mississippi Delta arts, culture and characters.
1:30pm - Bizarre Foods (25) - Food & travel expert Andrew Zimmern visits Clarksdale for a Delta blues at Red's juke joint & hot tamales at Hick's BBQ among other stops in the critically-acclaimed TV show.
2:15pm - Jason McCoy Eats America (25) - Canadian country music star Jason McCoy visits Mississippi for a dose of music & food at Delta Amusement Café, Po Monkey's Lounge other Delta hotspots in this CMT TV show.
3pm - American Journey (25) - HLN TV star Ty Pennington journeys to Clarksdale to explore our town's blues-fueled revitalization. (Note: Special thanks to HLN producer Darian Billington for making this episode happen; he's a proud Clarksdale native and son of blues legend "Mr. Johnnie" Billington).
3:35pm - Respect the Kid (5:05) - A tribute to blues legend and music teacher "Mr. Johnnie" Billington; by Lee Quinby & Erickson Blakney.
4pm - The Carrington Event (48:30) - News of a massive solar flare goes viral, the power goes out and an epic fight for survival begins; by Rob Underhill.

Noon - Two short films by Nathan Willis:
   - Fox Pass (10:41) - A new short film about a Southern potter in Arkansas.
   - A Broken Road to Hope (7:57) - Compelling story of a teenager in the Arkansas foster care system.
12:30pm - Mile High Pie (4:00) - A look at famous mile high meringue at Ed & Kaye’s in Benton, Arkansas.; by Melanie Lynn Addington & Daniel Lee Perea
12:45pm - West of Elvis (7:35) - Filmmaker visits the Graceland Too and its amazing curator in Holly Springs, Mississippi; by Vox Press/Louis Bourgeois
1pm - Kane (26:00) - After losing what means most to him, a masked hero must decide the fate of his city; by Michael Willams & Josh White.
1:30pm - Three short films by Memphis' Geoffrey Brent Shrewsbury:
   - From Cotton Fields to the Silver Screen (11:30) - Story of Deltan's rise from sharecropper to LA costumer.
   - Historic Hospitality (6:30) - Story of blues-historic Riverside Hotel and proprietor "Rat" in Clarksdale, Mississippi.
   - Jimbo Mathus: Finding Your Roots (13:30) - Glimpse of Delta musician Mathus and his amazing career so far.
2:15pm - Baby Chicken (7:29) - A wooden man befriends his breakfast; then becomes a hero; by Mississippi-native Azod Abedikichi.
2:30pm - Timed Romance (7:00) - Romantic short that's all about the timing; by Mississippi's Rob Underhill.
2:45pm - Entertainer (13:00) - Prime-time interview with Bob about life & more; by Mississippi's Rob Underhill.
3:15pm - Danny Tate Gets Chased by a Drone (1:45) - World-premiere of Clarksdale filmmaker and film critic Coop Cooper latest locally-produced short film.
3:55pm - Moonshine & Mojo Hands preview trailer (2) - Preview for "world's first blues music reality series" coming to; by Roger Stolle, Jeff Konkel, Lou Bopp & Tangent Mind/Jon Michael Ryan.
4pm - Rural Blues, Mississippi 1989 (51) - Blues performances by RL Burnside, Son Thomas, T-Model Ford, Jessie Mae Hemphill and more in Mississippi pilgrimage film by Dutch filmmakers Ko de Korte & Tom Haarsma.
6:15pm - NIGHTLY FEATURE - Muscle Shoals (111) - New all-star documentary about the famed Southern recording mecca of FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The home of Rick Hall and the "Muscle Shoals sound," musicians like Gregg Allman, Bono, Clarence Carter, Mick Jagger, Etta James, Alicia Keys, Keith Richards, Percy Sledge and others bear witness in the film to Muscle Shoals' magnetism, mystery and why it remains influential today. "Elegant documentary about a remarkable musical town." - Chicago Sun-Times. "Music lovers will get plenty of thrills hearing first-hand accounts of how such classic tracks as Aretha’s ‘Respect’ and the Stones’ ‘Brown Sugar’ were created." - Dennis Harvey, Variety. SPECIAL GUESTS will be on-hand from the Americana Music Triangle project.

SUNDAY, JAN. 26, 2014:
1:30pm - Deep Blues (91) - Classic Robert Mugge film captures the Memphis/Mississippi blues scene in 1990, including performances by Jessie Mae Hemphill, Booba Barnes, Lonnie Pitchford, Big Jack Johnson & other blues heavies.
2:30pm - Rivergator (47) - 1,155-mile journey down the Mississippi River from St. Louis to the Gulf of Mexico, featuring wild places, people and spaces; by Quapaw Canoe Company's John Ruskey..

1pm - Times Like Deese (87) - Dutch film goes in search of older blues performers and their modern successors, rappers, in the Mississippi Delta; with LC Ulmer, Super Chikan, Razorblade & more; by Maarten Schmidt and Thomas Doebele
3pm - Moonshine & Mojo Hands preview trailer (2) - Preview for "world's first blues music reality series" coming to; by Roger Stolle, Jeff Konkel, Lou Bopp & Tangent Mind/Jon Michael Ryan.
3:05pm - We Juke Up in Here (63) - Award-winning 2012 blues film follows Jeff Konkel & Roger Stolle as they visit Mississippi's surviving juke joints; performances by Big A, Elmo Williams, Hezekiah Early & more.

CHANNEL ZILTCH (119 Third St.):
FRIDAY, JAN. 24, 2014
5pm - Shout Out to Australia (5:31) - By Clarksdale's Delta Bohemian.
5:10pm - Clarksdale Welcomes Australians (11:39) - By Clarksdale's Delta Bohemian.
5:25pm - Dresser Drawer (8:25) - Musically-rich, intriguing, symbolic study of a couple’s broken relationship; by Patrick Delhougne & PJ Tamayo.
5:35pm - Louisiana Blues (52) - Contemporary French-made documentary film capturing the Louisiana music and blues culture scene; by Jean-Pierre Bruneau & Jose Reynes.
6:35pm - Blues Bootleg Series A (1:11) - Vintage 1960s live performances, part 1, starring the biggest names in blues music!
8pm - Moonshine & Mojo Hands preview trailer (2) - Preview for "world's first blues music reality series" coming to; by Roger Stolle, Jeff Konkel, Lou Bopp & Tangent Mind/Jon Michael Ryan.
8:10pm - Homeplace: North Mississippi 1972 (:27) - Vintage documentary short capturing Mississippi Hill Country life & music; by Michael Ford.
9pm - Babe & Ricky's Inn (90) - Chronicles the last days of one of the most unique and vibrant blues clubs in the world — Babe & Ricky's in South Central LA; by Ramin Niami

SATURDAY, JAN. 25, 2014
Noon - 26th Year of Best of the Biscuit (1:07) - Concert footage from Helena, Arkansas' King Biscuit Blues Fest.
1:10pm - Down to Mississippi (1:13) - Twój Blues magazine editor Andrzej Matysik's 2005 pilgrimage from Poland to Clarksdale & the Delta in search of blues,
2:30pm - Barefoot Workshops Photo Essays (60) - Sixteen Mississippi Delta photographic slide shows with music.
4pm - deepsouth (72) - Doc about rural South and the people who inhabit its most quiet corners. Beneath layers of history and poverty, four Americans create their own solutions to survive; by Lisa Biagiotti.
6pm - Blues Bootleg Series B (:59) - Vintage 1960s live performances, part 2, starring the biggest names in blues music!
7:25pm - Moonshine & Mojo Hands preview trailer (2) - Preview for "world's first blues music reality series" coming to; by Roger Stolle, Jeff Konkel, Lou Bopp & Tangent Mind/Jon Michael Ryan.
7:30pm - Will Goss Music Videos (12:09) - An assortment of music videos by Clarksdale-native producer Will Goss.
8pm - Clarksdale (1:10) - The latest feature film by Clarksdale-native Will Goss is "the story of a father, a son and a bomb"; it features local actors and locations.

Go to here for complete schedule and special updates.