8TH ANNUAL CLARKSDALE FILM FESTIVAL

in historic Clarksdale, Mississippi
January 26-27, 2018!

Our nonprofit event specializes in Mississippi-connected and music-related (blues/roots) movies. We also feature live blues music performances, history bus tours, a film workshop, nightly lobby receptions, special guests and more. The price? Just $5 per day!

Also, get out at night for live blues around town.

MUSIC CALENDAR at https://www.cathead.biz/music-calendar.

Questions? Please email roger@cathead.biz.

Friday - January 26, 2018

12:00 PM ​STOMPING GROUND: Mississippi-filmed (music video) - 6 minutes
Where: New Roxy

New Americana/roots music video based on "family and heritage" filmed across Mississippi in Holly Springs, Ashland, Oxford, Brandon and Crystal Springs. Directed by J.B. Lawrence of Clinton. Song written by Charlie Smart of Tupelo and Robert King of Brandon. Track recorded by King with production assistance by Stephen Bridges of Jackson.

12:15 PM YAZOO REVISITED: Integration in a Deep Southern Town - 84 minutes
Where: New Roxy

Re-examines race relations and the 1970 integration of the public schools in Yazoo City, Mississippi, the hometown of the late Willie Morris, writer, former editor of Harper's, and the filmmaker's father. Unlike many school districts in Mississippi where white families fled the public schools for newly formed private academies, the integration of the public schools in Yazoo City was considered by many to be a model of success. Black and white communities came together to assure the transition was peaceful. Film examines the events leading up to integration, whether they were truly successful, and the state of the school system today.

12:30 PM ​MOONSHINE & MOJO HANDS: The Mississippi Blues Series - 120 minutes
Where: Grandma's Sports Bar

M for Mississippi/We Juke Up in Here producers Jeff Konkel (Broke & Hungry Records) and Roger Stolle (Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art) present a sampling of episodes from the "world's first blues reality show." Each episode takes viewers on a wild ride through the Mississippi Delta and Hill Country in search of juke joints, house parties, barbecue, soul food, folk artists, moonshiners and — of course — the artists who keep the this uniquely American music form alive in the land of its birth. Edited by Damien Blaylock. Cinematography by Lou Bopp and Tangent Mind.

2:00 PM FRONT PORCH STAGE: King Biscuit Blues - 60 minutes
Where: New Roxy

Musician Carla Robinson books an amazing, authentic blues stage each year at the world-famous King Biscuit Blues Festival (www.kingbiscuitfestival.com) in nearby Helena, AR. Film includes performances by Ben Wiley Payton, Brotha Ric Patton, Rip Lee Pryor, Vasti Jackson, Robert Kimbrough Sr., Willie Cobbs and other unsung stars of Southern and Delta blues.

3:00 PM FANNIE LOU HAMER: Stand Up! - 27 minutes
Where: New Roxy

Fannie Lou Hamer ("I am sick and tired of being sick and tired."), one of Mississippi’s most iconic civil rights leaders, would have turned 100 years old in 2017. To commemorate her legacy and the centennial of her life, Mississippi Public Broadcasting (MPB) produced Fannie Lou Hamer: Stand Up. ​The film chronicles Hamer’s life from the time she attempted to register to vote in Indianola, Mississippi in 1962 while working as a sharecropper in Ruleville, Mississippi. “It’s a story of her life told by people who knew her,” said Taiwo Gaynor, one of two MPB producers of the film. In addition to Gaynor, the film's producers are John Gibson, MPB Director of Television, and Edie Greene. Actress Aunjanue Ellis, who grew up in Mississippi, narrates the documentary.

3:00 PM ​MISSISSIPPI BLUESMEN: Big George Brock (MPB) - 60 minutes
Where: Grandma's Sports Bar

Octogenarian Big George Brock was born in Grenada, Mississippi, but grew up on a cotton plantation just outside of Clarksdale, so it is fitting that he returned to Clarksdale to film this live concert performance at world-famous Ground Zero Blues Club. Joined by the late-great blues guitarist Riley Coatie and Coatie's family band, The Houserockers, Brock entertains the audience with selections from his comeback album, Club Caravan, and songs he learned firsthand from musical friends like Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf and Jimmy Reed. Produced by Mississippi Public Broadcasting (MPB).

3:45 PM ​TALKING BLACK IN AMERICA: The Language and Life Project - 66 minutes
Where: New Roxy

Talking Black in America reveals the incredible impact that the most controversial and misunderstood language variety in the history of American English has had on American life and language. The first film to ever focus solely on African-American speech, this feature-length documentary (produced by the Language & Life Project at NC State) seeks to be the documentary that shatters the damaging misconceptions often held about black speech.​

4:15 PM MISSISSIPPI: An Eric Tingstad-Delta Bohemian Experience - 24 minutes
Where: Grandma's Sports Bar

INTRODUCTION BY MADGE MARLEY HOWELL. Grammy-winning musician/producer Eric Tingstad lends his music to a myriad of images captured across Mississippi by video director Madge Marley Howell, Delta Bohemian Tours' Billy Howell and Andrea Vlonk — just in time for the Magnolia State's centennial celebration.

4:45 PM AIN'T NO PLACE: Lightnin' Malcolm (locally-filmed music video) - 5 minutes
Where: Grandma's Sports Bar

INTRO/Q&A WITH DIRECTOR COOP COOPER. New music video from the album "Outlaw Justice" by blues/Americana musician Steve "Lightnin'" Malcolm​. Directed by Clarksdale, Mississippi, filmmaker Coop Cooper and filmed around town, including at the world-famous Shack Up Inn.​ "'Outlaw Justice' is authentic music with a bold groove… and influences from all corners of the world." (Blues Magazine, The Netherlands).​

4:50 PM GREAT BIG STORY - If You Build It, They Will Come: A Juke Joint’s Field of Dreams - 3 minutes
Where: Grandma's Sports Bar

In June 2017, two producers came to a patch of dirt in the middle of nowhere but just 18 minutes from downtown Clarksdale, Mississippi. They sought to capture ​the culmination of ​a colorful bluesman's 7-year odyssey to build the ultimate juke joint ​blues club. The result is a poignant snapshot of what an 80-year-old bluesman with no education but endless dreams (and a willingness to sweat) can do. His bright blue quonset hut celebrated its grand opening on the weekend of the filming. Sadly, less than 6 months later, Robert "Bilbo" Walker would pass away, but not without first introducing the world to his final dream: Wonder Light City.

5:00 PM 5pm RECEPTION w/live blues by LUCIOUS SPILLER at Grandma's! - 60 minutes
Where: Grandma's Sports Bar

The Clarksdale Film & Music Festival features a "live" blues performance and complimentary refreshments (while quantities last) to attendees. Included in $5 festival ticket.

6:30 PM ​SHAKE SISTER SHAKE: Women in Blues - 82 minutes
Where: Grandma's Sports Bar

Special first glance at a brand-new documentary celebrating women in blues music. Directed by Australian filmmaker Lisa Eismen. In addition to musicians filmed in Clarksdale — including Lala Craig and Heather Crosse — the film includes such iconic modern blues women as Big Time Sarah, Shirley King, Joanna Conner, Liz Mandeville, Beverly “Guitar” Watkins, Ruthie Foster and others who play original music and tell their stories — illustrating the importance women have and have had in the ongoing history of The Blues. A work-in-progress, this will be a very special preview event. (www.womeninbluesfilm.com)


Saturday - January 27, 2018

12:00 PM HISTORY BUS TOUR OF CLARKSDALE w/Robert Birdsong
Where: New Roxy

PLEASE MEET AT NEW ROXY 15 MINUTES BEFORE TOUR START TIME. Historian/storyteller Robert Birdsong is your tour guide, as the annual Clarksdale Film & Music Festival HISTORY BUS TOUR drives you by important film/music/Civil Rights/literary sites around town. Included in your $5 festival ticket (limited seating; first come, first served).

12:00 PM ​MR. HANDY'S BLUES: Father of the Blues - 84 minutes
Where: Grandma's Sports Bar

CAST MEMBERS WILL BE IN ATTENDANCE. Mr. Handy's Blues is the never before told story of W.C. Handy, known worldwide as The Father of the Blues. Directed by Joanne Fish, the film features performances of Handy's songs by current artists including Taj Mahal, Bobby Rush and Gary Nichols. Born in Florence, Alabama, it was perhaps his years in Clarksdale, Mississippi, that most influenced the future of his music and legacy. Experiences in nearby Tutwiler and Cleveland, Mississippi, introduced him to the power (and commercial appeal) of the "weirdest music" he'd ever heard.

12:30 PM CONVERSATIONS FROM THE OPEN ROAD: The Blues! - 15 minutes
Where: New Roxy

Conversations From the Open Road is a road-trip to experience the world in a meaningful way — including the trip to Clarksdale's Juke Joint Festival that resulted in these three student short-films. Interviewees/musicians include Terry "Harmonica" Bean, Joe Eagle, Big George Brock, Bill "Howl-N-Madd" Perry, Stud Ford and others. Themes explore the feelings behind the Blues genre as well as its connections to Rock 'n Roll and Hip Hop. THE FILMS: Catharsis by Isaac Cleveland, Music Will Bring Us Together by Finn Wheeler, and Alright by Keenan Reinsborough. Executive producer Mary Simons.

1:00 PM ​CELEBRATING STORYTELLERS: A Mississippi Bicentennial Collection - 60 minutes
Where: New Roxy

A specially curated selection of mini documentaries, produced by Blue Magnolia Films & Corner to Corner Productions, commemorating a cross section of community voices for the Mississippi Bicentennial — linking the historic memory of people and places to the future of revitalization for small towns. The project, “Celebrating Storytellers,” was created by Chandler Griffin and Alison Fast, partners in Blue Magnolia Films and Barefoot Workshops.

1:30 PM HISTORY BUS TOUR OF CLARKSDALE w/Robert Birdsong
Where: New Roxy

PLEASE MEET AT NEW ROXY 15 MINUTES BEFORE TOUR START TIME. Historian/storyteller Robert Birdsong is your tour guide, as the annual Clarksdale Film & Music Festival HISTORY BUS TOUR drives you by important film/music/Civil Rights/literary sites around town. Included in your $5 festival ticket (limited seating; first come, first served).

2:00 PM ​CHASING TRANE: The John Coltrane Documentary - 100 minutes
Where: Grandma's Sports Bar

Set against the social, political and cultural landscape of the time, Chasing Trane brings sax great John Coltrane to life, as a man and artist. A definitive look at the boundary-shattering musician whose influence continues to resonate around the world. Written/directed by John Scheinfeld, with actor Denzel Washington voicing Coltrane's words and interviews with everyone from Sonny Rollins and Wynton Marsalis to Carlos Santana and President Bill Clinton. "A music titan gets his cinematic due. Comprehensive, engrossing. A stellar cast of witnesses and commentators." (The Hollywood Reporter)

2:00 PM 'Making Movies with Smartphones' WORKSHOP w/filmmaker Coop Cooper
Where: Grandma's Sports Bar

"Making Movies with Smartphones" WORKSHOP with award-winning Clarksdale filmmaker Coop Cooper. Ages 10 and up. Learn how to stabilize your footage, get better sound, control your lighting, find the right apps for shooting/editing and more! Prior to workshop, please download Instagram's "Hyperlapse" app. SPECIAL FREE EVENT in the second space (House of Blues) beside Grandma's House of Pancakes. (To see the films next door at Grandma's Sports Bar does require a Clarksdale Film Festival $5 ticket, however.)

2:30 PM BIG FISH BLUES: Long Island Blues History - 92 minutes
Where: New Roxy

From the early 1960's through the 1990's, Long Island, New York, (aka "The Big Fish") was home to a vibrant music scene where people went to music clubs specifically to hear the blues. Home base to many top blues musicians, fans would follow them weekly from club to club, while their popularity grew worldwide. Directed by Leslye Abbey and featuring musicians such as Little Buster, Bo Diddley Jr., Sam Taylor, Doug "Harmonica" McLean, Sandra Taylor, Toby Walker and others, Big Fish Blues tells the story of Long Island's blues heyday.

4:00 PM ​MESSIPPI: Diversity and the Big River - 40 minutes
Where: New Roxy

FOLLOWED BY Q&A W/DIRECTOR CHRIS BATTAGLIA. "Messippi: Diversity and the Big River" explores modern frontier of Lower Mississippi River. On board a 29’ voyageur canoe with a crew of river rats, the film follows a journey from the American heartland to the Gulf of Mexico, celebrating the Rivergator, over 54 days in the spring and fall of 2017. The Mississippi River is a complex, dynamic landscape. "Messippi" paints a fresh, maternal portrait of Old Man River, using the people, places, flora, fauna, and industry found deeply connected between the levees of this grand natural resource. (NOTE: Messippi Film Bonfire & Celebration on Sat. evening till 9pm, behind Quapaw Canoe Co. at 3rd & Sunflower, downtown. Rivergator artist books/photos/maps available.)

4:00 PM LOVE IS A SENSATION: Kosciusko folk artist LV Hull (special preview) - 30 minutes
Where: Grandma's Sports Bar

INTRO/Q&A WITH DIRECTOR YAPHET SMITH. Oprah Winfrey may hail from Kosciusko, Mississippi, but most pilgrims trekked there to visit the self-proclaimed "Unusual Artist" — Ms. L.V. Hull — at her outlandish home. Per web site: "Now, as L.V.’s health fails, one final visitor would make her life complete: Blues legend B.B. King. Will The Artist meet The King before time runs out?" Despite being dismissed as a "crazy lady" by some, Ms. L.V. unapologetically dedicated her life to loving herself, sharing her art, and vanquishing naysayers. As she used to say, "You can’t spell LOVE without L.V."

5:00 PM 5pm RECEPTION w/live blues by SEAN 'BAD' APPLE at Grandma's! - 60 minutes
Where: Grandma's Sports Bar

The Clarksdale Film & Music Festival features a "live" blues performance and complimentary refreshments (while quantities last) to attendees. Included in $5 festival ticket.

6:30 PM ​TWO TRAINS RUNNIN': Mississippi Blues meets Civil Rights in Freedom Summer - 70 minutes
Where: Grandma's Sports Bar

INTRODUCED BY SPECIAL GUEST DICK WATERMAN, one of the film's young men who found Clarksdale's long-lost bluesman, Son House. Nominated for a GRAMMY (Best Music Film), this highly acclaimed film mixes two race-infused human dramas that played out during Mississippi's Freedom Summer in 1964. Just as Civil Rights workers were traveling to the Magnolia State to face an uncertain fate, two groups of young music fans made the pilgrimage as well — but they were in search of old, forgotten bluesmen. Five stars on RottenTomatoes.com. "This film entwines the historical narratives of a naïve, passionate search for old blues musicians with that of the very courageous, violent and necessary struggle for civil rights in America. It succeeds beautifully." (The Portland Observer)