CLARKSDALE FILM FESTIVAL AWARDS

Clarksdale, Mississippi -- Following a big weekend for blues, Mississippi and Southern films in the home of the Crossroads, the Clarksdale Film Festival has announced its 2014 award winners and 2015 festival dates.

Plan now for the 5th annual Clarksdale Film Festival, coming January 29-31, 2015.

"This year was amazing. We had dozens of films and special guests plus attendees and filmmakers from around the world," said Nan Hughes, co-organizer of the Clarksdale Film Festival. "Film fest weekend is always educational, entertaining and culturally diverse. Frankly, it's just a whole lot of fun!"

Hughes also noted that at least three new businesses chose to open during the Clarksdale Film Festival weekend because of all the extra film and music activity downtown. "It was a celebration of Clarksdale entrepreneurship as well as a weekend of movie screenings," she said.

Out of over two dozen acclaimed films shown on three screens at Delta Cinema and Channel Ziltch, five were singled out for special recognition. This year's Clarksdale Film Festival award winners are:

Best Southern Documentary Award - The Book of Manning (ESPN, Rory Karpf)

Audience Choice Award - Muscle Shoals (Greg "Freddy" Camalier)

Best Blues & Roots Music Film Award - Cheesehead Blues: Adventures of a Dutchman in the Mississippi Delta (Jan Doense)

Made in Mississippi Award - Rural Blues 1989 (Ko de Korte & Tom Haarsma)

Best Film Short Award - From Cotton Fields to Movie Premieres (Geoffrey Shrewsbury)

Unsurprisingly, most of the films have strong Mississippi connections, and some have Clarksdale connections as well.

"Clarksdale's own Theo Dasbach was featured in Cheesehead Blues, and local acts like Big Jack Johnson and Earnest Roy, Sr., were featured in Rural Blues 1989," noted Roger Stolle, co-organizer of the Clarksdale Film Festival. "Archie Manning hails from Drew, Mississippi, and played for Ole Miss. Luster Bayless — the subject of From Cotton Fields to Movie Premieres — is from Ruleville. Our festival really is a celebration of Mississippi filmmaking and Southern culture."

Stolle also acknowledged all of the sponsors, volunteers, musicians and filmmakers who made the Clarksdale Film Festival possible. "And last but not least, we'd like to thank the owners of Delta Cinema and Channel Ziltch," he said. "Without their dedication to the cinematic arts, our annual event couldn't happen.

The same organizers behind the Clarksdale Film Festival also put on Clarksdale's popular Juke Joint Festival & Related Events each year. This year's dates for that much larger event are April 10-13 with the Juke Joint Festival itself on that Saturday, April 12, 2014.  A few of the film festival's features will also be screened at Delta Cinema as part of the April event.

"We hope that everyone who attended our film festival will come back for our 'half blues festival, half small-town fair and all about the Delta' event in April," added Goldie Hirsberg, another co-organizer of both festivals. "Just go to our web site, and you can make your plans from there."

The web site for both the Clarksdale Film Festival and Juke Joint Festival & Related Events is www.jukejointfestival.com.

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