Annual film festival celebrates one of Mississippi's lesser-known industries

Published 4/2/16
Posted by C.J. LeMaster, Weekend Anchor

MADISON COUNTY, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The Crossroads Film Festival has united actors, writers and directors for one weekend out of the year for the last 16 years.

Those in attendance say it also provides much-needed inspiration to those who might want to be the next Steven Spielberg one day.

"I think every time you make a film, you learn from it, and so, bringing your film to a film festival and screening it, you figure out what worked and what didn't," filmmaker Wade Patterson said.

Patterson has worked in independent film for the last three years.

Saturday marks an important milestone: his first Crossroads Film Festival, which is significant, he said, because he's a native of Jackson.

"It's really cool to be able to show people a story you worked on in a theatrical setting and have them experience it on this much bigger level," Patterson said.

Reporter: His short film, "Freedom Fighters," tells the story of a right-wing militia trying to take a government official hostage, but there's a kink in the plan.

It's just one of several productions shown in Madison this year for the festival.

"Attendance-wise, people seem to like these films. People are having a good time," festival coordinator Michele Baker said.

The wide variety of events also draw out first-time filmmakers, like Brian Worthy.

His project, Soul Damage, is still in production, so he's trying to soak up everything he can.

"You just don't know who you're gonna meet, what you're gonna see, so to me, that's part of the excitement of it. And at the same time, you want to learn," Worthy said.

Worthy said these festivals not only help local indie filmmakers network and talk shop...it also encourages a younger generation to try something new.

"The kids who are coming up and want to do film in the future, let them know that they don't have to go to Hollywood or Toronto or someplace way off to live their dream. They can do it right here in Mississippi," Worthy said.

Patterson agrees.

"We're a storytelling people, and we want to tell great stories. I think that's what a film festival's about, bringing people together to watch great stories," Patterson said.

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