By ANGIE CARNATHAN
Starkville welcomes back the 15th season of the Magnolia Film Festival tonight at State Theatre on Main Street beginning at 7 p.m. The festival continues through Saturday night.
Both local and international filmmakers will be featured, from as close as West Point to as far away as Spain and Bangledesh.
One of the films being featured is called “The Fall of Henry,” directed by Glenn Payne. Payne said the film is best described as a matter of perspective.
“There are three friends, and a tragedy leaves two of them arguing over who is to blame,” Payne said. “... The question we pose for the viewer is ‘Is anyone truly to blame?’ I like to think that it’s a film that is a completely different experience upon the second viewing. We were blessed to have an amazing cast and crew for the film. The story itself was written by the incredibly talented Casey Dillard, who also stars in the film. It’s very difficult to say much about the story because it is so masterfully written and beautifully layered.”
“Sub Rosa” is another film set for this weekend. The film is about what happens to a woman who believes her neighbor is a criminal and how far she will go to prove it. It is written and directed by J.D. Dickey and produced by Leopoldo Marino and executive producer is C.K. Lichenstein, who said he looks forward to returning to the Magnolia Film Festival each year.
“The Mag pays strong attention to the filmmakers and their films, first by having everything on one screen so everyone can attend and second by taking such great care of us,” Lichenstein said. “Filmmaking is a lonely business once production is wrapped, and we spend much of our time and money working on post-production, submitting our films and traveling to festivals sometimes to only have a few people their as the festival did little to get the word out. The Mag makes us feel special, gives us a great showcase and an eager and awesome audience.”
Lichenstein said a festival like The Magnolia Film Festival cannot survive without support from the community.
“At a film festival like The Mag, this is not only a rare chance to see indie films, sometimes from all over the world, and meet the filmmakers to discuss them but this can also be your only chance to see these diamonds in the rough,” Lichenstein said.
Daniel Lee Perea, currently of the Tupelo area, was born in Cleveland, Ohio. A musician, actor, film director, comedian and Guinness World Record-holder for high score in video games, Perea said his contribution to the festival, “Gypsy Heart,” is about a stranger who picks up a mysterious hitchhiker while on a road trip.
“She appears troubled and seems to be running from something,” Perea said. “What can you ever really know about a stranger? ‘Gypsy Heart’ is a mystery set amongst the rustic lost highways of the deep South.”
Perea said he first attended the Magnolia Film Festival several years ago as an audience member.
“I was so inspired by the Mississippi-made films that I wanted to become a filmmaker myself,” Perea said. “A dozen projects and a slew of awards later, I’m still continuing as a filmmaker and constantly improving.”
According to a release, this year’s film festival includes four feature-length films and 22 shorts, which range from 30 seconds to 30 minutes. “Bad Fever,” the Ron Tibbett Excellence in Filmmaking Award winner from this year’s Indie Memphis Film Festival, will be shown Friday evening. Saturday afternoon’s screening concludes with “Dancing with the Trees,” the story of great Mississippi ceramic artist George E. Ohr, famed architect Frank Gehry and Jerry O’Keefe, the Mississippi visionary with the insight to merge their talents. Saturday evening’s screening offers a wide variety of films, closing the festival with the stark but uplifting “Close-Up,” directed by Jose Cruz Jr.
All festival screenings are at the State Theater in downtown Starkville. Tickets are available at the door for $10 per session. Discounted festival passes are available for those wishing to attend all festival events.
To learn more about the festival and see the complete line-up, go to http://www.magfilmfest.com , email firstname.lastname@example.org  or call festival director Glen Bryant at 662-312-4430.