Chase Lee, a communications major at Mississippi State University, has always enjoyed the art of filmmaking.
From an early age, he watched different types of movies and saw them as a means of escape and a way of telling stories.
When Lee entered college, he saw there was more tangibility to filmmaking than he had previously realized. Whenever there was a new film class or an opportunity to express his creativity, he found a way to participate in this project, including a music video that will be presented at the Magnolia Independent Film Festival this weekend.
“I always try to get involved in new film projects,” Lee said. “I took a music video class at MSU, and for me, music videos are very much about the movies themselves, and I think they’re a unique art form in themselves.”
Lee, alongside a band, won a competition to direct and produce a music video for Mississippi artist Brandon Green’s song, “Float.” To really capture the essence of floating, Lee’s group shot the video on a nearby lake, capturing Green driving down the road and enjoying the countryside.
“We had the opportunity to do a music video for him, which was an amazing opportunity for everyone,” Lee said. “(Everyone in my class) took their song and everyone came up with our own ideas, and we all pitched our ideas to Brandon Green. Brandon Green is the one who ended up choosing which group was chosen for the music video.
The Magnolia Independent Film Festival will run from Thursday to Sunday in the Golden Triangle and will screen around 40 films, including Lee’s. While the festival is usually held only in Starkville, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Mississippi’s longest-running film festival, the festival board decided to hold the Thursday night film screening in Columbus at the Malco Columbus Cinema, said festival director Chris Misun. .
This year’s lineup includes films from around the world, ranging from France to China. Misun said he thinks the Mag is a way for Mississippians to see different kinds of movies they might not have been exposed to before.
“I think it’s important for filmmakers to have an outlet to create this art form,” Misun said. “In Mississippi, I think people have been extremely receptive to all the different types of films that we bring here.”
Filmmaker Ron Tibbett launched The Mag in 1997 at West Point as the state’s first film festival. The festival soon moved to Starkville to accommodate a larger venue, Misun said. This year, the Starkville events will take place at the UEC Hollywood Premier Cinema.
The festival was completely virtual last year due to COVID-19, but as the number of cases goes down, Misun said the festival board decided to bring back the in-person setup. He said the festival was supposed to have a Friday night drive-in option for those who might not feel comfortable being indoors with multiple people, but due to potentially inclement weather, this event has been moved indoors.
“We’re thrilled to be back and offering it in an in-person format,” Misun said. “…I think we’ve seen the peak come down a bit, so I think people are feeling pretty confident to hold the event in person.”
The full schedule of events is available on the festival website at magnoliafilmfest.com. Tickets will also be sold entirely online.
Misun said his team has worked hard to produce this event and hopes attendees will not only enjoy the festival, but gain a new sense of appreciation for the art form of cinema.
“We’re just thrilled to continue Ron’s legacy and bring international films to Mississippi,” Misun said. “Having been the longest doers in Mississippi is just a testament to the people who helped put this together.”