M for Mississippi
Posted on: Thursday, Sep 25, 2008
All-new Delta Blues Documentary Set For Premiere in Clarksdale, Mississippi
(CLARKSDALE, MS) – A hotly anticipated new film celebrating the raw, raucous spirit of Mississippi’s surviving blues scene will have its worldwide premiere at 6:45 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 11 at the Delta Cinema at #11 Third Street in downtown Clarksdale, Miss. The film, M for Mississippi: A Road Trip through the Birthplace of the Blues, follows blues producers – Roger Stolle of Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art and Jeff Konkel of Broke & Hungry Records – on a weeklong journey across Mississippi visiting a dozen of the state’s most fascinating blues figures in rustic environments ranging from juke joints to cotton fields.
“We planned this road-trip movie for two years,” said Stolle. “We avoided big concert stages and rock-star narrators in favor of intimate houseparties and rockin’ Delta juke joints. The results speak for themselves.”
The premiere screening of the 94-minute film will be both preceded and followed by live music from artists featured in the film. Blues guitarist Bill Abel and 81-year-old harmonica player “Cadillac” John Nolden will perform a brief set at the Delta Cinema at 6 p.m., prior to the film’s inaugural showing. After the screening, the action heads down the street to the world-famous Ground Zero Blues Club where the line up will include such renowned bluesmen as T-Model Ford, Robert “Bilbo” Walker and Wesley “Junebug” Jefferson.
The premiere will be held as tens of thousands of blues lovers converge on the Delta for the Arkansas Blues & Heritage Festival (www.bluesandheritagefest.com) held in nearby Helena, Ark. “The former ‘King Biscuit’ is one of the region’s biggest festivals,” Konkel said. “And there are always plenty of related events going on that week which makes it all the more special. It’s a perfect time to visit the Delta.”
M for Mississippi, which was filmed early this spring, is a co-production of Broke & Hungry Records, Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art and Mudpuppy Recordings. The motion picture follows Konkel and Stolle as they travel the dusty highways and byways of Mississippi, calling on such seminal blues figures as James “T-Model” Ford, Robert “Wolfman” Belfour, Terry “Harmonica” Bean, Wesley “Junebug” Jefferson, Jimmy “Duck” Holmes, Pat Thomas, L.C. Ulmer, Robert “Bilbo” Walker and more. Joining Stolle and Konkel on the journey were filmmaker Damien Blaylock and co-producer Kari Jones of Mudpuppy Recordings. Recording engineer Bill Abel followed in his weathered Volvo station wagon packed with recording equipment. Over the next week, the tiny caravan traversed the state of Mississippi visiting some of the state’s most original blues figures while the camera rolled.
The resulting film shines a long-overdue spotlight on these men, their music and the land from which the blues sprang. More than just a collection of concert performances, M for Mississippi collects the sounds, the images and the feel of both the performers and their native landscape – an environment essential to their livelihoods and inseparable from their art.
“We aimed to capture the essence of the Delta’s blues survivors and show why the blues simply had to come from a place like Mississippi,” explained Konkel.
The film is being released on DVD this fall along with a companion CD soundtrack. Pre-orders are being accepted through the film’s official Web site at www.mformississippi.com. Items pre-ordered through the Web site are expected to ship by mid-October. A larger international rollout will follow with the DVD and CD soundtrack expected in stores beginning November 18. The DVD’s bonus features include deleted/extended scenes, closed captioning, behind the scenes footage and more.