No need to travel to Cannes, Sundance or even Oxford, Mississippi to view new independently produced films. The Rails to Reels Film Festival arrives in Queen City on Friday and Saturday October 22-23.
With 32 films, documentaries and videos on the list, festival organizer Thomas Burton says it’s the perfect event for our community to come together with creative geniuses in filmmaking from all over.
Rails to Reels will begin on Friday, October 22 at 6:30 p.m. at the historic Temple Theater. The two-day festival draws filmmakers from California to Georgia and will feature four blocks of screenings.
Burton says Friday’s lineup includes a block of family-friendly films.
“One of the sponsors for this evening is the Carter Foundation, represented by its founder, James Carter,” he said. “The Carter Foundation is a non-profit organization that focuses on mentorship programs and community engagement activities. To this end, Carter will engage young people in talking about their passion for cinema during this block of time. “
Carter says it will be six years since his foundation has been involved in the festival.
“We love being part of this event, whether it’s volunteering for the organization or helping with the meet and greet,” he said. “We want our young people to broaden their creative field. Two of our students who volunteered in 2016 will be submitting their own films to the 2022 festival, and this will be my first year to participate as a judge..it is vital for our community to continue to support the event, and most importantly to show our hospitality to our visitors.
Friday will feature films such as “TRIumph Project,” a documentary by Jeff Fairbanks and Hunter Heath.
The film tells the story of a man who embarks on a three-week streak of 21 triathlons, all the distance of a half-ironman of 70.3 miles across 14 states. “Fairbanks will be in Meridian Friday night,” Burton said. “So we’re very excited about this.”
The Saturday block starts at 9:30 am and continues until 12:30 pm with features like “Niblets”, “Jane”, “Dirty Santa and Social Prisoners”. The 2 pm program features seven pieces. Hunter Heath’s “Every Breath You Take” features a video from local singer / songwriter Emily White.
Meridian resident Danny Todd’s feature “Modern Day Disciples” will also be screened in the second session, along with “I’ll Meet You There” by Karl Fernandez.
The third block concludes the festival and will run from 7 to 10:30 pm Laurel disc jockey, writer and director Joey Traywick will be on hand to present his “Time”. Although this is the second film he has written, “Time” is the first film that Traywick has written and directed.
“It was filmed in Clarke County,” he said. “It tells the story of a young African-American accused of murdering his boss. He invents a time machine to prove his innocence. I call this one a sci-fi drama. It includes actors I’ve worked with from the fifty movies and seven TV shows I’ve been on. These people come from Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama and New Orleans. I am so excited to be a part of this screening.
Saturday’s lineup concludes with Tonya T. Cannon’s thriller “Sorry, Wrong Text”. Living in California, Cannon wrote, produced, performed and filmed this short film. Cannon promises a big twist to her play, which has already won the awards for best short thriller and best actress at the Couch Film Festival in Toronto.
“This is the story of a woman who decides to give up traditional dating, but her colleague encourages her to take up online dating,” Cannon said. “She does meet someone, but it doesn’t turn out the way she thinks it is. I don’t want to spoil the ending, but let’s just say the surprise will be fun and entertaining.
Local judges will rate the films to determine who will receive the Rails to Reels Awards which were designed and manufactured by Chad Smith. Entries will be judged on originality / creativity, direction, writing / story structure, cinematography, rhythm, sound / music, editing, performance and overall enjoyment. Rewards will be given at the end of the Saturday night movies.
Tickets can be purchased at railstoreels.com. A two-day pass costs $ 25 for one person and $ 35 for two people. The pass includes access to all screenings. Detailed schedules are available on the Rails to Reels Film Festival Facebook page.