Last week, the Mississippi film community lost a legend.
On Thursday, March 16, Jim Dollarhide's home near Lake Cavalier in Madison went up in flames, and on Wednesday, March 23, Madison County Coroner Alex Breeland confirmed that they found the filmmaker’s body in the wreckage.
Dollarhide was born in 1952 in Greenwood, Miss., where his father, Roger Freeman Dollarhide, ran a record store called Dollarhide Music Shop.
Jim attended Murrah High School and originally planned to become a photographer. When he learned that the United States Army was going to reinstate the draft, he joined to be part of the photo corps. Ultimately, he only spent six weeks in the army and later earned his GED. After that, he received a full scholarship for photography at Hinds Community College.
After Dollarhide dropped out of college, his friend, Sergio Fernandez, asked him about working on a TV commercial. It was then that he discovered his love for cinema.
In 1977, he founded Imageworks. After Jackson flooded in 1979, filmmakers Vilmos Zsigmod and Mark Rydell asked Dollarhide’s company to shoot footage for a 1984 film called "The River," which starred Mel Gibson and Sissy Spacek.
After years of working under the Imageworks moniker, Dollardhide closed the company in 1998, though he started Dollarhide Film only a short time after.
Besides national commercial spots for brands such as Scope and NyQuil and award-winning campaigns, including his anti-tobacco spots, Dollarhide was best known for his documentaries. He scored an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary with the film "LaLee's Kin: The Legacy of Cotton," which made the connection between poverty and the lack of education opportunities for African Americans in the Mississippi Delta. The film won an award for Excellence in Cinematography at the Sundance Film Festival in 2001. He also won the award for Best Director in the 1995 International Monitor Awards for "Harmonies: A Mississippi Overture."
In more recent years, Dollarhide created a B.B. King documentary for the B.B. King Museum in Indianola. The museum won a Muse Award, which recognizes outstanding achievement in museum media, for the film in 2009. Dollarhide, along with filmmaker Gregg Wallace, had been working on updates to the documentary since King's death in 2015.
A wake for Jim Dollarhide will be at Hal & Mal's (200 Commerce St., 601-948-0888) Thursday, March 24, from 5 to 9 p.m.
If you're a writer in the Jackson metro area who has been looking to socialize with other writers, a new chapter of the Mississippi Writers Guild is forming in central Mississippi.
Here's a news release from the Mississippi Writers Guild:
MADISON, MS: The Mississippi Writers Guild announces the formation of its newest chapter, the Middle Mississippi Chapter, which will serve members from Hinds, Rankin and Madison Counties and beyond. The Mississippi Writers Guild was formed in November 2005 to fulfill the need for a statewide writers organization. With a mission of advancing and preserving literary arts in Mississippi, the MWG’s motto is “No Writer Without a Voice.”
The first meeting of the Middle Mississippi Chapter will be Saturday, April 2 at 2:00pm in the private meeting room of Corner Bakery on Grandview Boulevard in Madison. The group is open to anyone who writes or has an interest in writing. Dues can be paid directly to the Mississippi Writers Guild by visiting their website at www.mississippiwritersguild.com.
There are currently eight chapters of the MWG in the state, including Hattiesburg, Jackson, Meridian, Natchez, Newton/Neshoba County, Tunica, Golden Triangle and Yazoo City. The new Middle Mississippi Chapter will be the ninth chapter in the state.
“This is the most densely populated part of the state, with the highest number of writers,” said Susan Marquez, who is organizing the new chapter. “I see so many writers who are hungry to learn more about writing as a profession. They want to know more about the craft of writing, how to write a winning book proposal, options for publishing, and how to market and promote a book. We will have guest speakers each month who will address these topics and more.” In addition to monthly meetings, there will be special workshops during the year, as well as an annual statewide conference.
This year’s conference will be held in Natchez August 5th and 6th, which coincides with both the Natchez Tricentennial and the 10th anniversary of the Mississippi Writers Guild. Special guest will be best-selling author Greg Iles, who will receive the second annual Mississippi Writers Guild Lifetime Achievement Award.
“It's a new, fresh day for writers in this area,” said MWG president Galen Mark LaFrances. “I'm all in favor and will work hard to make this new chapter a huge success.”
For more information, visit the chapter's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Mississippi-Writers-Guild-Middle-Mississippi-Chapter-467652673430549/likes or email Susan Marquez at [email protected]
This year, Crossroads Film Festival, which is is March 31-April 3, kicks off with a screening of 'The Hollars.'
John Krasinski, who most recently starred in '13 Hours,' directed and starred in the film, which shot in locations in the Jackson metro area such as Fondren, Methodist Rehabilitation Center and St. Dominic Hospital in 2014.
“I am delighted that Mississippians will have this opportunity to get a sneak peek of this great movie filmed across the area,” said Robbie Fischer, Mississippi Crossroads Film Society president, in a blog post on the festival's website. “This screening celebrates the culmination of many Mississippians’ talents and Tom Rice’s commitment to make movies in his hometown.”
Crossroads will screen the film at the Malco Grandview Cinema in Madison beginning at 6 p.m. Tickets are $20. For more information, go to the Crossroads Film Festival blog post.