Sunday, December 27, 2009

Take 5 with "Thacker Mountain Radio: The Documentary"

7th annual Oxford Film Festival is getting closer every day. Before we kick off another fun-packed festival, we thought we would take five with filmmakers and get to know them just a little better.

Mary Warner is a familiar face as a former Oxonian. Recently a transplant to Atlanta, Warner is the former producer of Thacker Mountain Radio. Working with documentary filmmaker Joe York, Warner took on a familiar subject with her documentary, "Thacker Mountain Radio: The Documentary."

The film screens Saturday at 12:30 Mississippi Documentaries. Mary Warner is scheduled to attend.

OFF: In 10 words, describe your movie and why someone should see it.

Communities are disappearing exponentially. Here's one that's
alive and well.

OFF: Biggest lesson learned in getting the film made? Best part in getting
the film made?

Filmmaking requires a sort of problem solving that is entirely
different from what I use for my other profession as a writer. Once I changed my mindset set from a linear way of thinking to the kind of dynamic thinking this film required, everything fell into place. For me, the film is a love letter to the people I served while producing Thacker Mountain Radio. For years, the show provided me with a community that was nurturing and supportive, and it was through working on the show that I realized the real value of community. This film is my way of giving back and honoring the people who put their blood and sweat into the shows production week in and week out.

OFF: Tell us about you. What is your movie making background?

MW: I learned about film making as a graduate student in Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi largely under the direction of Joe York. Part of my thesis was a film about Thacker Mountain Radio. Joe York saw my thesis film and asked if he could work with me on a new feature-length version. Although I have since moved to Atlanta, GA, we've been working together on it since the summer of 2009. I'm still making films. Currently, I'm wrapping up a short film on sustainable building and design technologies for one of my clients.

OFF: What’s your dream distribution plan for the film?

MW: I hadn't really thought of the big picture with this film. My hope is that people will see this film and its correlation to their own town's community events.

OFF: What’s the future hold in store for your film and for you?

MW: I've been working on this film for a while and it's time for me to
switch gears to finish the manuscript for a book about Thacker Mountain Radio for University Press of Mississippi. The message of both the film and the book is that we must create these community events to sustain the various cultural landscapes across America. A Prairie Home Companion does for the Midwest what I think Thacker Mountain Radio does for the south, that is celebrate regional culture. I've been in touch with the producers of other radio shows that are similar to Thacker Mountain Radio, and they are interested in viewing the film, so we'll see what happens.

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