You gotta love the folks who decide to do something instead of just complain about it. Last year, in response to the common refrain "We never get any decent independent films in Jackson," the Crossroads Film Society decided to expand from its core mission—supporting and nurturing independent filmmakers through educational programs and the annual Crossroads Film Festival in April—to make it possible for more people to see the great independent films that are being made all over the country and the world.
And we've been able to do it. Over the past year, Crossroads has brought a dozen-plus great films to town through a combination of some very generous sponsors—such as the Mississippi Film Office—and the venues that make them possible, including Hal and Mal's and the UA Parkway Place Regal Cinema in Flowood. And none of them would happen without the dedication of some key people, including Ed Inman, Herman Snell, Nina Parikh, Philip Scarborough, Nicole Barrett, Mandy Pope, Richard Weiss, Karen Gilder, Thabi Moyo, and all the Crossroads board members and volunteers, including our fearless leader, Anita Modak-Truran.
In 2004 and 2005 Crossroads brought big independent films like "Coffee and Cigarettes," "Supersize Me," "Garden State," and "Motorcycle Diaries" along with a number of wonderful art films and lesser-known independent features. This year we started in August with Woody Allen's "Melinda and Melinda" and "Millions," followed by the current series that's going on as you're reading this. I'll describe the upcoming films later in this note.
First, though, a request. If you're a fan of independent film at all, please consider becoming a member of Crossroads Film Society. If you're going to see our Fall and/or Spring series films, then we've made membership almost a no-brainer anyway—if you become a Crossroads member or renew your membership during the current Fall series of films, you'll receive four FREE passes good for the rest of these Fall series films and/or for the next series in early 2006. (Actually, the passes don't expire—they're good until you use them up for as long as we're able to continue with series films.)
Membership is cheap—$35 individual or $50 dual membership, and you're getting $28 worth of tickets in the deal. (Students actually save money by signing up for a $25 student membership!) And you can join right at the theater on any Monday over the next four weeks during the Fall series. You'll also be able to join at the Pix/Capri Theater in Fondren, where we'll be screening the Rocky Horror Picture Show on Oct. 29th at 12 midnight as a fund raiser for Crossroads Film Society.
The more members that Crossroads has, the better job we can do bringing high-quality independent and art films to Jackson, even though the big distributors tend to pass on our market. Oh ... and having a strong membership base helps us put on the Crossroads Film Festival the first week in April, and we've already got interesting submissions pouring in this year. Crossroads promises to be an exceptional festival in 2006, in part because we're absorbing submissions from New Orleans and the Coast, and in part because it continues to include the educational components designed to encourage Mississippi's next generation of young storytellers.
If you can afford our higher-end memberships (Film Buffs start at $100, and you can join the Director's Club for $500 or the Producer's Club for $1000) you'll also get some great gifts—t-shirts, posters, free tickets, admission to after parties and, at the higher levels, credit on our festival film materials. Crossroads is a 501(c)3 non-profit, and we certainly welcome individual or company/firm sponsorships as well as individual membership contributions.
Obviously, it's a tough year for an arts-focused non-profit such as Crossroads to ask for money when there are many extremely worthwhile causes for rebuilding the Gulf Coast in the wake of Katrina and Rita. If you've only got so much to give, please give it to the Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity or a similar group to help people displaced by the storms.
But if you love great film and you agree that bringing these quality independent films to the Jackson Metro is an important part of our development as a culturally creative city, then we welcome your support as a member (at any level) or as a business sponsor, if you'd like to see your name in lights. (Our business sponsors at certain levels have their logos on our materials and as part of the trailer that shows before films during the Crossroads Film Festival.) If you're committed to making a difference in the films that Jacksonians are able to see and enjoy—and in creating opportunities for Mississippi filmmakers to tell their own stories—then please feel free to visit http://www.crossroadsfilmfest.com or call me, Todd Stauffer, at 601-362-6121 extension 3, for more information on sponsorships or memberships.
And whether you join or not, please take advantage of our series films this fall. All Fall Series films start at 7:30 p.m. and cost $7 for non-members; $5 for members (unless you have free passes). Here's what's yet to come:
"Mad Hot Ballroom" Mon., Oct. 24. Documentary on several New York City public school kids and their journey into the world of ballroom dancing. Rated PG. See review, page 27.
"RIZE" Mon., Oct. 31. Documentary look at "krumping," a dance-form emanating from the streets of South Central Los Angeles, with movements including quick, syncopated body gyrations fast enough to warrant a disclaimer that the film was not sped up. Rated R.
"The Edukators" Mon., Nov. 7. German criminal comedy about three activists who cobble together a kidnapping plot after they encounter a businessman in his home. Rated R.
"The Constant Gardener" Mon., Nov. 14. Thriller based on the best-selling John le Carré novel about a widower (Ralph Fiennes) who is accused of his wife's death. Rated R.
Thanks for considering Crossroads membership or sponsorship. I'll see you at the movies!
Todd Stauffer is the VP of Special Projects of the Crossroads Film Society.
Thanks for the information Todd. I will become a member. Every now and again, I watch some portions of foreign films on the Sundance channel. My favorite movies are comedies. I'm not too crazy about serious and painful stories. I get enough of those from my clients and other real life events.
I'm still afraid of horror movies. Haven't gotten over the time I tried to watch Dark Shadows with Barnaby Collins when I was 11 years old. No one was at the house but me so I raised all of the windows in the house for easy escape. As soon as I saw Barnaby's face I jumped out of the window and ran to my grandmother's house. The combination of the music and Barnaby's face was too much for me. I haven't seen a horrow movie or series since. My friends told me that girls liked horror movies, and that if you took them to those kind of movies, the girls would at certain scary moments just jump into your arms. The idea was awfully appealing to me but I was too chicken to even do that.
I will be gone all of next week with the possible exception of one day. I will send my membership in upon my return. You and Donna have a good paper, and y'all are a blessing to Jackson.
- Ray Carter
Thanks for saying that, Ray. Let me know if you need information about membership. As you'll see from the line-up, two of the films -- Mad Hot Ballroom and RIZE -- are both documentaries that have been found to be very entertaining in the cities they've played in the past months. The Edukators is supposed to be funny, too, although probably in a twisted, tense, Tarantino sort of way. :-)
- Todd Stauffer
Yes, I need information about how to join. I do like documentaries. I even watch the history channel from time to time. Thanks.
- Ray Carter
Subscribers who enjoy independent films such as those brought to Jackson by the good people at Crossroads might also be interested in the Southern Circuit Film Series, hosted by Millsaps College. For more information on this free film series, which brings independent films and filmmakers to the city throughout the academic year, visit