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MISSISSIPPI’S FIRST FILM FEST The Magnolia Independent Film Festival, affectionately known as The Mag, is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization whose mission is to bring quality independent cinema to the Golden Triangle Area and to support the growing film industry within the state of Mississippi. As Mississippi’s first and longest running film festival, The Mag is known for being an intimate, filmmaker-friendly festival that consistently brings unique, edgy, diverse and inspiring cinema to small-town Mississippi while also supporting home-grown filmmakers and storytellers. Started in 1997 by Ron Tibbett, The Mag filled a void within the state. At the time, there were no film festivals in Mississippi and no outlets to showcase, inspire and encourage independent filmmakers. From its humble beginnings in a cold auditorium in West Point, The Mag quickly grew and paved the way for the rich film festival culture currently thriving throughout the state. Thanks to Ron and his enthusiasm for bringing independent film to Mississippi, other prominent film festivals were born including the Oxford Film Festival, Crossroads Film Festival, and most notably Tupelo Film Festival. For the 23rd edition, The Mag will continue the tradition of showcasing independent films and filmmakers from around the world through a carefully curated lineup of films that are uniquely moving, hilarious, thought-provoking, and inspiring.


What is it about a great film that brings us together? While we live in a world full of conflict and differences, the beauty of cinema is that it’s unifying. A bunch of strangers come to sit in the dark to laugh, cry, or even shriek together. A single story can hold the power to connect people across all cultures. This is something that our world needs more of! It has been truly an honor to be the director of The 23rd Magnolia Independent Film Festival and I couldn’t be prouder of the films we have selected. The adventure leading up to this amazing event has been both challenging and satisfying. While challenging is a good word to describe the event, it would be impossible without the support of our sponsors and the hard work of the committee members, screeners, and our board. Whether you are at the Mag to connect with other filmmakers, meet fellow film fans, or to just see an amazing lineup of films, we hope that you sit back and enjoy the show!



Presented by West Point / Clay County Community Growth Alliance

7pm - February 27th, 2020

PRE-ROLL MUSIC VIDEO “Black Champagne”


Animation // Spain // PG-13// 8 min // Mississippi Premiere

A 60 year old woman needs a liver transplant. Told from the perspective of the donor.

A COLOURFUL RED Dir. Costa Karalis, Jack Owen Documentary // USA // PG-13 // 12 min // Mississippi Premiere

Accepting a job for a high-profile client, an amateur photographer travels to Indonesia and becomes part of a plot affecting hundreds in the freelance industry.

ZUCCHINI CAKE Dir. Fernando Diaz Drama // Venezuela // R // 19 min // USA Premiere

A gay couple goes through the process of accepting that one of them is transgender.

READY TO WORK Dir. Seth Farmer, Reagan Wells Documentary // USA // G // 15 min // Mississippi Premiere

At a local high school, three seniors attend a job fair through a career-readiness program.

CLOSE2U Dir. Marek Gluszczak

Drama // Poland // PG-13 // 25 min // USA Premiere

Timid Franek finds a new job. His task is to pretend to be attractive call girls and fortune tellers. This is the last chance to pay off his rent to a selfish landlord, Bronek. One day the boy discovers a sad secret of his landlord.


Followed by 10 Minute Intermission


FEATURE FILM EASY DOES IT Dir. Will Addison Comedy // USA // R // 95 min

Shot with a gritty ’70s road-movie aesthetic, EASY DOES IT follows the scrappy anti-heroics of two Mississippi no-hopers on a treasure hunt of epic proportions. Broke and on the run, these two smalltown buddies and their accidental hostage careen across the 1970s American South on a treasure hunt turned crime spree.


Opening Night Films are presented by West Point/ Clay County Community Growth Alliance www.westpointlife.com



Financial Concepts 7pm - February 28th, 2020 Presented by



“I Won’t”

CATGOT Dir. Ho Tsz Wing

Animation // China // G // 3 min // Mississippi Premiere

An abstract and colorful “fountain performance” from 2D hand-drawn animation using the song “Catgot” by ISAN.

DELTA BLIND SPOT Dir. John W. Bateman Drama // Mississippi // PG-13 // 4 min

In 1967, three graduate students headed into the Mississippi Delta to teach at a historically black college. The Klan was watching. Inspired by actual events.

HEBO Dir. Kevin Wells

Documentary // USA // PG // 11 min // Mississippi Premiere

An exploration of the work of Sam Ezell, an outsider folk artist in Hillsborough, North Carolina.

HONOUR THY MOTHER Dir. Yinghui Fu Horror // USA // PG-13 // 17 min // Mississippi Premiere

Homeless and living life adrift, Liz returns home to her God-fearing mother and discovers time has changed more than she ever could have imagined.


Dir. Marlene Goldman, Philip McKee

Drama // Canada // 14 min // PG-13 // Mississippi Premiere

From behind strange baby-faced masks, protestors issue a chilling simple demand: it’s time for the residents of this posh retirement home to give up their space on earth.

BLOOM Dir. Will Derrick, Chris Derrick

Drama // USA // PG-13 // 8 min // Mississippi Premiere

Darnel, a.k.a D’Block, a misfit teen who measures his self-worth in popularity, goes to extreme lengths to swap out his geek cred for street cred.

ALL THAT YOU LOVE WILL BE CARRIED AWAY Dir. Thad Lee Drama // Mississippi // R // 30 min // Mississippi Premiere

A Salesman’s love of bathroom graffiti may save his life on a cold, dark Nebraska night. Based on a short story by Stephen King.


Followed by 10 Minute Intermission



Dir. Brian C Miller Richard Drama // USA // PG-13 // 87 min // Mississippi Premiere

In this Southern Gothic mystery, a struggling addict ventures into the Louisiana swamps to reconnect with her faith healer father, only to discover he’s hiding a troubling secret aboard his houseboat.


Friday Showcase Films are presented by Financial Concepts in Columbus, MS.


by KIDS AND FAMILY Presented Little E’s Indoor Playcenter

11am - February 29th, 2020




Dir. Marti King Young, Alan Brazzell

When Dr. Black threatens the city of Nashville, it’s up to Wonderboy to save the day.

CATGOT Dir. Ho Tsz Wing

Animation // China // G // 3 min // Mississippi Premiere

An abstract and colorful “fountain performance” from 2D hand-drawn animation using the song “Catgot” by ISAN.

DOG GONE Dir. Tommy Wooldridge

Comedy // USA // G // 7 min // Mississippi Premiere

A man searches for his lost dog.

HANGRY Dir. Clint Till Comedy // USA // PG // 8 min

An elderly man attempts to right a lunchtime wrong.


Dir. Leon Joosen

Comedy // UK // PG // 30 min // Mississippi Premiere

The story of a young Mole and his adventure to pick a rose from the Queen’s Garden, not knowing that this simple act will change, not only his life, but the life of all Moles.

DANCING IN THE RAIN Dir. Juan Cristiani Music Video // Uruguay // G // 3 min

A musical animation about how children can teach us with their sensitivity and their imagination.


Saturday’s Family Friendly Films are presented by Little E’s Indoor Playcenter.



Bancorp South 1pm - February 29th, 2020 Presented by

PRE-ROLL MUSIC VIDEO “Johnny and The Devil�


STARVATION Dir. Zahra Rostampour

Animation // Iran // PG-13 // 7 min // Mississippi Premiere A hungry wolf gets stuck in stereotypes about being the big bad wolf of the story. She has to flee when everybody accuses her of violence and murder. She faces the danger of getting killed.

OH, SORRY Dir. Justin Giddings, Ryan Welsh Drama // USA // PG-13 // 15 min // World Premiere

A grieving young woman leans on her younger brother for emotional support until a spontaneous night out forces her to confront her denial.

DEAR JOHNNY REB Dir. Philip Scarborough Documentary // Mississippi // PG // 8 min

A heartfelt appeal for the removal of confederate monuments from Mississippi courthouse lawns across the state.

BAGHEAD Dir. Alberto Corredor Horror // UK // R // 15 min

After a life-changing event, Kevin is haunted by grief. He seeks a shapeshifting witch that is able to channel the dead that lives under a mysterious pub.


Documentary // USA // PG-13 // 15 min // Mississippi Premiere

Exploring the impact of digital technology, Binary Thinking examines how changes in the brain have outcomes that play out in human behavior, and in turn, our society at large.

DER MEISTER Dir. Simon Wottreng

Drama // Switzerland // PG-13 // 6 min // World Premiere

A sculpting apprentice receives a phonecall and learns about the death of the master sculptor; her life seems to break apart. Yet, every farewell is also a new beginning.

DOODLE Dir. A.F. Madison

Horror // USA // R // 23 min // World Premiere

An artist, after finding a strange pencil, must confront the reality of her husband’s death.


Followed by 10 Minute Intermission


FEATURE FILM SPIRAL Dir. Kurtis David Harder

Horror // Canada // R // 85 min // Mississippi Premiere

A same-sex couple move(s) to a small town so they can enjoy a better quality of life and raise their 16 year-old daughter with the best social values. But nothing is as it seems in their picturesque neighborhood. And when Malik sees the folks next door throwing a very strange party, something very shocking has got to give.


Saturday Matinee Films are presented by Bancorp South.


CLOSING NIGHT Margaret and Paul Rocconi Presented by

1pm - February 29th, 2020

PRE-ROLL MUSIC VIDEO “Ghost of the Red Sand”

SHORT FILMS LILI Dir. Yfke van Berckelaer

Horror // Netherlands // R // 9 min // Mississippi Premiere

A cat and mouse game in this single take #metoo horror, about power, the misuse of power and female empowerment.

MANTORU Dir. Josh Stone, Kyle Flaharty

Drama // USA // PG-13 // 7 min // Mississippi Premiere

An experimental short about passing the torch to one’s successor.

OVERNIGHT Dir. Thomas Mendolia

Drama // USA // PG-13 // 15 min // Mississippi Premiere

A grieving man spends the night in his RV at a Walmart parking lot, where he finds the embrace of an unexpected community.

APPLEBAUM Dir. Edward Loupe

Drama // USA // R // 15 min // Mississippi Premiere

A dying man and his nurse have one last conversation. It changes her life forever.

FOR A BETTER LIFE Dir. Yasmin Mistry

Animation // USA // PG-13 // 10 min // Mississippi Premiere

Sold for $100, a young boy suffers through years of abuse before his plight is discovered. After almost a year of hospitalization and therapy, Fekri moves into a group home where he finds support, mentorship and eventual forgiveness.


Dir. Hanna Miller, Luisa Conlon, Lacy Jane Roberts Documentary // Mississippi // PG-13// 13 min

After losing his mother and siblings in a bombing that left him injured, a father and son make a new life despite the heartbreak of leaving their home behind.


Followed by 10 Minute Intermission


FEATURE FILM THE PLANTERS Dir. Alexandra Kotcheff and Hannah Leder Documentary // California // PG-13 // Mississippi Premiere

“The Planters” is a dark comedy about Martha Plant, a telemarketer who sucks at her job, doesn’t like people, but likes to bury stolen treasure for cash donations. When she finds unlikely friendship in Sadie Mayflower, a Jesus-loving vagrant with multiple personalities, Martha’s world starts looking up. But Martha learns that opening herself up can come with unexpected consequences.


Paul and Margaret Rocconi proudly support The Magnolia Independent Film Festival and the film industry of Mississippi. As proud champions for the arts, Paul and Margaret hope to see continued growth and support for not only the film community of Mississippi but for the creative community as a whole. Also, please remember to support public television and your local library!

Closing Night Films are presented byMargaret and Paul Rocconi.

AWARDS CEREMONY Begins immediately after closing night feature film Approx 10:30pm - February 29th, 2020

AWARD CATEGROIES Best Feature Best Short (Narrative) Best Short (Documentary) Best Cinematography Best Homegrown (Mississippi-made Film) Best Animation Best Student Film Best Family Friendly Film Best Music Video Audience Choice Kid’s Choice Award winners receive a handmade, stained glass magnolia made by Kathryn Davis. Check out Ally Kat’s Glass on Facebook

THE ELENA ZASTAWNIK AWARD for Best Written Film In honor of Ron Tibbett’s mother, this award celebrates excellence in writing. Without her encouragement, Ron felt that he would not have developed his interest in literature and storytelling. Ron knew that a good script is essential to filmmaking and this award honors a film that exemplifies quality screenwriting.

In honor of Lake Little

THE RON TIBBETT AWARD for Excellence in Film In honor of The Mag’s founder, this award celebrates a film whose quality is matched by its dedication to a filmmakerdriven vision, independent spirit, and a passion for the film’s message through a narrative with an edgy, free-thinking approach to cinema. Sponsored by Charlotte Magnussen

Award Sponsor - Best Documentary & Best Student Film

Award Sponsor - Homegrown The Mississippi Film Alliance is a non-profit coalition of film industry professionals that supports the film industry within Mississippi by providing resources and support to filmmakers and projects statewide.

www.msfilmalliance.org Sponsored by Melanie Addington

Award Sponsor - Best Feature


Thomas Easterling

Thomas Easterling’s work has appeared in Brightleaf, The Oxford American, and thetoast. He currently teaches English, Drama and Film at The Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science, a public, residential high school for Mississippi’s academically talented juniors and seniors. He lives in West Point with his wife, Clay County Prosecutor Michelle Easterling, and sons, Grayson and Jack.

Ashley Norwood

Ashley F.G. Norwood is an emerging independent filmmaker in Jackson, Mississippi. Norwood is the executive producer of the statewide public affairs television show, @ Issue. A multimedia journalist, she’s also a radio news reporter at Mississippi Public Broadcasting. Norwood received a Bachelor’s degree in English at Jackson State University where she currently teaches in the Journalism and New Media department. She also earned a Master’s degree in Journalism at the University of Mississippi. At the university, she produced The Fly in the Buttermilk, a nationally recognized documentary film about the perceptions of black Greek culture at predominantly white institutions.

Caroline Matheny

Caroline Matheny is the President of the MSU film club The Scene. She has worked on several personal projects, and is pursuing filmmaking as a full time career after graduating. Gaining further education and passion within the world of film is something she has always strived towards. Matheny is eager to deepen her experience, connections, knowledge, and skill in the industry.

Blaine McLaren

Blaine McLaren was born in Texas, but has called Atlanta his home for over 20 years. He is a father and has spent a lifetime obsessed with genre cinema from around the world. His career spans as a writer, podcast host, festival programmer and a  member of Georgia Film Critics Association.


Poet, journalist, filmmaker, Ron Tibbett, was born in Chicago in 1941. After moving to West Point, MS with wife Dr. Charlotte Magnussen in the early 90’s, Tibbett made the film “Swept Off My Feet.” While looking for festivals to submit the film, Tibbett found that there were none in Mississppi. In 1997 he founded The Magnolia Independent Film Festival and gave rise to what would become a thriving independent film festival community and indie filmmaker scene within Mississippi. One film submission to The Mag impressed Tibbett so much that he and the director, Bill Brown set off to make a film together. That film was “Buffalo Common.” Directed by Brown and produced by Tibbett, “Buffalo Common” is a subconscious road trip through the forgotten missile silos of North Dakota. The film was an official selection of the 2003 Sundance Film Festival and made the Village Voice’s Top Ten Avant Garde list. Later, Ron directed the film “Citizen Shane.” This documentary tells the story of a 22 year old man’s hilarious and touching campaign for sheriff of Lowndes County who ran on a propornography/pro-civil liberties ticket. To Ron, this was a very personal story, and at its heart, the film is about how this kid deals with his mother’s death. The film slowly become an underground success. Sadly, Ron Tibbett lost his life in a car accident not far from home in 2004. He left a legacy that went beyond just his films. His legacy is 22 years in the making and thrives through an entire film community born out of his desire to bring independent cinema to Mississippi and nurture filmmakers both locally and abroad.

THE MISSISSIPPI FILM OFFICE WWW.FILMMISSISSIPPI.ORG From initial contact to wrap, you can expect the assistance of the Mississippi Film Office: location scouting and research; pre-production help with casting, extras, crew, equipment; trouble-shooting during production and wrap; we will work with you every step of the way. And we have one of the strongest incentive programs in the country, a 25-35% cash rebate on spend and all payroll. For more information and to sign up for the film office Newsletter visit www.filmmississippi.org





If you want to support the continued growth and dedicated mission of The Magnolia Independent Film Festival with a tax deductible contribution or

February 25-27, 2021

sponsorship, please contact us today!



Michael Williams - President Ania Debicka-Dyer- Treasurer Jay Hurdle - Secretary Kris Lee Angella Baker Charlotte Magnussen


Brandon McLaren - Director Jonathan Hammond - Grants Angella Baker - Hospitality Coordinator Emma Dray Braswell - Social Media Sienna Turner - Social Media Carlos Rosales - Opening Reception Planner Roberto Rosales - Opening Reception Planner Monte Brasfield - Closing Party Planner Riley Lass - Visual Theme and Graphic Design Jessie McLaren - Social & Community Events William Walls Coordinator, Sponsorships Justine Edwards Gina Deason Walker Harris Logo Animation Katrina Kinder VIP Room Gina Deason Website Robert Ty Phillips Projection Walker Harris


Michael and Nell Valentine Masseyville Pottery People’s Choice Coffee Alley Kat Glass The Salon on 12 Gabe Stanford The Magnolia’s at the Ritz Shendopen Productions, LLC Linda Jackson Randy Lewis Chef Vicki Leach Monte Brasfield UEC Premiere Hollywood Theater

Lynn Spruill Chris Misun Sip ‘N Pop Culture Podcast Heavyweight Chumps Podcast Dr. Kasee Stratton Thomas Edmonds Joe Shelton Jordan Fletcher

Moderators Michael Williams, Brandon McLaren, Lynn Spruill, Jessie McLaren

And an especially big


to all of our screeners and volunteers!

Profile for The Magnolia Film Festival

The Magnolia Independent Film Festival Program 2020  


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