11TH ANNUAL CLARKSDALE FILM FESTIVAL

pandemic edition in historic Clarksdale, Mississippi

Friday - Sunday January 29-31, 2021

HEALTHY? CLEAN UP, MASK UP AND SOCIALLY DISTANCE WITH US.

POP-UP DRIVE-IN THEATER

CLICK FOR DRIVE-IN RULES

FRI-SAT Jan 29-30 • 6:00-8:30 PM
in downtown parking lot at 3rd & Issaquena Ave.

POP-UP INDOOR THEATER

SAT Jan 30 • 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM

THE BANK • East Second & Yazoo Ave.

Doors open 10:30 AM

LIVE BLUES MUSIC

FRI-SUN Jan 29-31

Multiple Venues - Details coming

THE FESTIVAL: Our nonprofit festival specializes in blues/roots-music and Mississippi-connected films — plus live blues music, panel discussions, special guests and more. Our 2021 pandemic edition features both in-person and virtual activities. Special thanks to our supporters, including The Walton Family Foundation and Visit Clarksdale Tourism. #VisitMSresponsibly.

HEALTH & SAFETY: By purchasing a ticket, you agree to comply with all festival health and safety protocols — including (but not limited to) properly-worn face masks indoors at all times, indoor entrance temperature checks/handsanitizing and indoor/outdoor social distancing at all times. You agree not to attend if you feel or are sick. Food/drinks encouraged inside cars at nighttime drive-in but not permitted inside daytime indoor venue due to masking. Specific seats and parking spots for ticket holders are still "first come, first served" based on arrival times; please follow directions of onsite festival volunteers and security personnel. All sales are final; no refunds or exchanges. Thanks, y'all.

Wash up, mask up and socially distance at our music venues!

Click MUSIC CALENDAR for our Sounds Around Town

Healthy and looking for a place to stay? Clarksdale has unique lodging for every budget.

Click WHERE TO STAY

Questions about films, music or safety protocols? Please email roger@cathead.biz. or call 662-624-5992 (Mon-Fri noon-3pm)

Friday - January 29, 2021

2:00 PM
 
Clarksdale bluesman extraordinaire Lucious Spiller plays Cat Head (outside if weather permits, inside it not) to a limited audience! Hand-sanitizing at the door, face masks and social distancing required, please.
Join Shared Experiences founder Colleen Buyers (LIVE FROM CLARKSDALE) and special guests including award-winning director Ted Reed (BLUES TRAIL REVISITED, JUKE JOINT FESTIVAL REVISITED) and David Rodwin of Jade Lake Media (VIRTUAL JUKE JOINT FESTIVAL CELEBRATION) on Live From Clarksdale's Facebook page. The discussion will include Ted's tips on how to best capture live music on film at all budget ranges, and David and Colleen's best practices for successful live streaming. The Q&A will be open to filmmakers, musicians and fans alike.
4:00 PM
 
Sean "Bad" Apple plays North Mississippi Hill Country-style blues at his new Bad Apple Blues Club to a limited audience! Hand-sanitizing at the door and facemasks (except for sips of beverage) and social distancing required, please.
FRIDAY, 1/29 - 5PM (parking) / 6PM (film) - FAMILY NIGHT featuring Disney's FINDING NEMO - Plot: After his son is captured in the Great Barrier Reef and taken to Sydney, a timid clownfish sets out on a journey to bring him home. Clarksdale connection: The award-winning music in FINDING NEMO was composed by Thomas Newman whose mother, Martha Louise Montgomery, was born in Clarksdale, Mississippi, in 1920. (She died in 2005.) A graduate of the University of Tennessee and an actress and former Goldwyn Girl, Montgomery is also mother of composers Maria and David Newman; sister-in-law of composer Emil Newman; aunt of singer-songwriter Randy Newman; great aunt of composer Joey Newman. Her husband — Thomas' father — Alfred Newman won the Academy Award for Best Original Score nine times. Thomas Newman has been nominated 15 times, including for the FINDING NEMO score. FINDING NEMO features the voices of Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Alexander Gould, Willem Dafoe; directed by Andrew Stanton.
The pride of Pontotoc, Mississippi — one-man blues band Terry "Harmonica" Bean — plays a socially-distanced Hambone Gallery. Limited audience size. Hand-sanitizing at the door and properly-worn face masks (except when literally drinking) required, please.

Saturday - January 30, 2021

11:00 AM
54 minutes
"Muddy Waters: Can't Be Satisfied" - The first authoritative documentary of a man who grew up in Clarksdale, pioneered electric blues and paved the road for rock 'n roll. "There could hardly be a better subject for a documentary than arguably the greatest bluesman of the last century, and this look at the life, times, and music of McKinley “Muddy Waters” Morganfield doesn’t disappoint. Co produced and co directed by Robert Gordon, the 54-minute documentary is a nice companion piece to Gordon’s book of the same name. It includes some bio material, tracing Waters’s evolution from a sharecropping acoustic folk singer to a sharp-dressing, Chicago-based leader of one of the greatest electric bands ever, along with reminiscences and accolades from friends, family, and fellow musicians like Keith Richards, Bonnie Raitt, and Buddy Guy." - Sam Graham. Grammy-nominated film produced and directed by Memphis' Robert Gordon, author of "Can't Be Satisfied: The Life and Times of Muddy Waters."
11:30 AM
45 minutes
"CLARKSDALE FESTIVALS IN THE AGE OF COVID" virtual panel discussion with Big Red Paden from Red's Old-Timers Blues Fest, Roger Stolle from Juke Joint Festival, Maie Smith from Sunflower River Blues Festival and Jen Waller from MS Delta TN Williams Festival. FGCU Professor Clay Motley moderates an entertaining and educational online talk with Clarksdale festival organizers and promoters. Don't miss this one-time event. WATCH ONLINE FOR FREE, Y'ALL!
12:00 PM
45 minutes
Local historian Robert Birdsong normally gives History Bus Tours during our film festival, but because of the pandemic (who wants to be herded into a crowded bus?), he's taking his tour to the sidewalk! MASK UP, SOCIALLY DISTANCE AND... join Robert for an amazing walk through Clarksdale's historic downtown. MEET UP OUTSIDE YAZOO PASS at least 15 minutes before departure time (12 noon or 2pm). DAYTIME FILM FESTIVAL TICKET REQUIRED, but this is still first come, first served (max 15 people per tour).
12:15 PM
92 minutes
Excellent new documentary that digs into the resurgence of vinyl records, the diversification of vinyl fans and what this all means for America today. "Begins by focusing on Record Store Day. From there, the directors take the audience on the entire journey of the vinyl record. From the pressing of the record to making the sleeve, all the way to it finding a home with a happy collector. They also travel the U.S.A to interview collectors, musicians, and industry insiders to offer as broad a spectrum of vinyl’s recent re-rise and the reasons for it as possible. From discovering that vinyl is recyclable, to seeing the reach vinyl has accumulated in its brief, new life, the movie surprises the audience with insights and facts that are, by turn, delightful and very interesting. It effortlessly captures the feeling of holding that item and convey that it holds memories perfectly. Like in High Fidelity, when the hapless lead rearranges his collection autobiographically, all of these things tell a story. They represent a memory that can be revisited anytime you want. This is the true power of Vinyl Nation. Recognizing that the collection might be impressive, but what makes it personal is what it means to you. The documentary is a lively, engaging affair, with excellent interviewees whose passion shines through with each answer. It is visually stimulating and exhaustively covers much of the record industry with keen interest. In regarding each piece as a story, it takes the macro to a personal level. That is quite a feat." - Bobby LePire, FilmThreat.com.
2:00 PM
98 minutes
Fascinating new documentary on famed jazz singer Billie Holiday. "Crafted from extraordinary unheard interviews, and restoring key performances into color for the first time, this is the story of the singer who changed the face of American music, and the journalist who died trying to tell it. In the late 1960's journalist Linda Lipnack Kuehl set out to write the definitive biography of Billie. Over the next decade, she tracked down and tape-recorded interviews with the extraordinary characters that populated the iconic singer's short, tumultuous life. These incredibly intimate testimonies are not only told by some of the musical greats, but Billie Holiday herself is revealed through the eyes of her cousin, her school friends, lovers, lawyers, pimps and even the FBI agents who arrested her. Linda's book was never finished and the tapes unplayed – until now. Holiday was a woman of breath-taking talent and global popularity while also stirring controversy. She started a notable rebellion singing 'Strange Fruit' which exposed the realities of Black life in America and earned her powerful enemies. Raw, emotional and brutally honest, the film is filled with incredible, unheard testimonies from musical greats like Charles Mingus, Tony Bennett, Sylvia Syms and Count Basie." - www.latfusa.com.
2:00 PM
45 minutes
Local historian Robert Birdsong normally gives History Bus Tours during our film festival, but because of the pandemic (who wants to be herded into a crowded bus?), he's taking his tour to the sidewalk! MASK UP, SOCIALLY DISTANCE AND... join Robert for an amazing walk through Clarksdale's historic downtown. MEET UP OUTSIDE YAZOO PASS at least 15 minutes before departure time (12 noon or 2pm). DAYTIME FILM FESTIVAL TICKET REQUIRED, but this is still first come, first served (max 15 people per tour).
2:30 PM
45 minutes
"BLUES MUSIC IN THE AGE OF COVID" virtual panel discussion with blues phenom Christone "Kingfish" Ingram, LiveFromClarksdale.org's Colleen Buyers, blues legend James "Super Chikan" Johnson and Bluesberry Cafe co-owner Art Crivaro. FGCU Professor Clay Motley moderates an entertaining and educational online talk with Clarksdale blues musicians and promoters. Don't miss this one-time event. WATCH ONLINE FOR FREE, Y'ALL!
3:45 PM
5 minutes
Visit Clarksdale's tourism director Bubba O'Keefe, producer Tim Hardiman and team produced a series of "READY TO ROAD-TRIP?" Clarksdale videos as part of the state's #VisitMSresponsibly pandemic marketing response. Featuring local people and places, the videos also promote the health and safety protocols necessary to keep tourists visiting, businesses running and locals safe. For more info, go to visitclarksdale.com.
3:50 PM
72 minutes
Long-lost concert film documenting the fourth Memphis Country Blues Festival and starring Sleepy John Estes, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Furry Lewis, Johnny Winter, Rufus Thomas, John D. Loudermilk, Bukka White, Jo Ann Kelly, John Fahey and Nathan Beauregard. "It’s the Summer of 1969. The temperature hovers around 105 degrees on a humid weekend in Memphis, Tennessee. It’s only been a year since the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But on this particular weekend, everyone in town, all races, creeds and colors have come out for the Fourth Annual Memphis Country Blues Festival. The lineup is the most ambitious in years... This concert film could have easily remained undiscovered forever, but thanks to Fat Possum Records and filmmaking team Joe and Lisa LaMattina, these extraordinary artists—all of whom have now passed—have finally found the audience they so rightly deserve." - Michael Rubenstone. "Like Woodstock from the same year, Memphis ’69 is filmed with an archival perspective, as it attempts to capture not just the performances, but the spirit of the time—albeit, on a much smaller scale. Instead of vanilla reaction shots, we see a twelve-year-old smoking a cigarette, a pretty girl with dirty, Hobbit feet, and a guy eating watermelon with a chef knife. In terms of period personas, we have hippies, rednecks, and hippie rednecks. It’s a beautiful coalition of countryfolk for whom the blues was passed down and city kids who are working backward from Led Zeppelin." - Hunter Lanier, FilmThreat.com. Special screening courtesy of Fat Possum Records (Oxford, MS). Filmed by Gene Rosenthal.
5:00 PM
53 minutes
A new feature documentary about art, education and justice in the Delta. In this intimate verite documentary, two Helena, Arkansas, high school hip hop artists seek healing for themselves and justice for their community through their music.
SATURDAY, 1/30 - 6PM ***** PLEASE NOTE: Due to rain, film moves from drive-in to The Bank building ***** - BLUES NIGHT featuring BLUES TRAIL REVISITED (Parts I & II) - World premiere! "LIVE" INTRODUCTION by director Ted Reed. In the spring of 1970, 20-year-old Museum of Fine Arts film students Ted Reed and Tim Treadway drove through the South to find and record some of the last living blues legends. Their goal was to discover the very roots of American popular music, and the sources of the rock music they'd grown up with—music that had traveled from the US to England and then back to the US through groups like The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, and Cream. 50 years later, Reed, by now an award-winning documentary filmmaker, rediscovered his old film—initiating a new quest, a new search. 50 years later, Ted returned to Memphis, Clarksdale and the Mississippi Delta. Interviewing blues musicians, entrepreneurs, tourists and historians... filming live music and events at Juke Joint Festival... and generally searching for where the music came from and where it's going... Reed dove deep. He also reconnected with Treadway for the first time in years, reflecting on all that had passed during the past half-century. The resulting film—BLUES TRAIL REVISITED (Parts I & II)—is a personal memoir that encompasses the evolution of American music, the upheavals of the Civil Rights movement, the power of memory, and a reflection on the treasures of personal experience, both lost and found.
After the world-premiere of the new film BLUES TRAIL REVISITED, award-winning director Ted Reed talks with Shared Experiences Colleen Buyers and takes questions live from festival attendees, blues fans and filmmakers online at Live From Clarksdale's Facebook page! Ask Ted about this film, his JUKE JOINT FESTIVAL REVISITED film, capturing music on video and movie making in general.
"The Torchbearer of Clarksdale Blues" — Anthony "Big A" Sherrod — and his killer trio play a socially-distanced Hambone Gallery. Limited audience size. Hand-sanitizing at the door and properly-worn face masks (except when literally drinking) required, please.

Sunday - January 31, 2021

10:00 AM
 
Clarksdale's own keyboard killer Lala Craig plays Bluesberry Cafe — next door to her own Lala Land — (outside if weather permits, inside it not) to a limited audience! Hand-sanitizing at the door, properly-worn face masks (except when literally eating/drinking) and social distancing required, please.
12:00 PM
 
Clarksdale harmonica store owner, maker and player Deak Harp plays Bluesberry Cafe (outside if weather permits, inside it not) to a limited audience! Hand-sanitizing at the door, properly-worn face masks (except when literally eating/drinking) and social distancing required, please.
2:00 PM
 
Blues Music Award winner Bill "Watermelon Slim" Homans plays homebase of Bluesberry Cafe (outside if weather permits, inside it not) to a limited audience! Hand-sanitizing at the door, face masks (except when literally eating/drinking) and social distancing required, please.
4:00 PM
 
Sean "Bad" Apple plays North Mississippi Hill Country-style blues at his new Bad Apple Blues Club to a limited audience! Hand-sanitizing at the door and facemasks (except for sips of beverage) and social distancing required, please.