Saturday, January 30, 2010

Take 5 with "Mississippi Queen"

 The 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.

Paige Williams' "Mississippi Queen" screens Saturday, Feb. 6 at 5:30 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 7 at 11:30 a.m. 

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

PW:: "Mississippi Queen" is my journey home to question my ex gay minister parents. Queen is universal in that it is ultimately about loving those in our lives with whom we disagree.

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

PW: On a personal level, I thought I knew what there was to know about my relationship with my parents, their motivations and their ex gay ministry and that I was simply revealing it to the public. I was wrong.

The best part of the film was a true journey towards reconciliation that occurred only because we made the film.

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

PW: I graduated from Millsaps in 1999 with a degree in Philosophy. Upon graduation, I headed West and began a career in social work. I quickly realized that telling stories was my life's passion, so I went to The University of Montana and received a Master of Arts in directing theatre and a Master of Fine Arts in filmmaking. After school, I began my production
company Porch Productions (where good stories are told) and went to work on "Mississippi Queen." Since Queen, we have filmed several short narrative films, made two documentaries in Haiti and are in post production of a documentary about aging out of America's foster care system. There is a Eudora Welty work that I believe will make a fantastic Mississippi film that I am trying to produce. Let me know if you're interested.

OFF: What¹s your dream distribution plan for the film?

PW: MQ is currently distributed through the website and
Indieflix. We would love for Think Films to pick it up or a company like it.

OFF: What¹s the future hold in store for your film and for you?

PW: So far, twelve festivals have screened Queen and we've received a few awards. We hope for distribution soon. I will complete From "Place to Place" (the documentary about America's foster care system) in 2010 and am looking forward to Porch's first feature film.

In 2009, we went to Haiti three times to produce films about an agro forestry project in Deschapelles, Haiti and Hopital Albert Schweitzer which is in the Artibonite Valley. This is the letter I sent to friends and family when it hit.

Dear family & friends,

As many of you know, we went three times to Haiti in 2009 to film the wonderful work of HTRIP and the Hopital Albert Schweitzer (HAS) in Deschapelles. We are supposed to return in February to film some more. Haiti and the Haitian people have touched my heart and changed my life and perspective more than I could have ever imagined.

The hospital is located in central Haiti. It was founded in the 1950s by Gwen and Larry Mellon and I have had the pleasure of befriending Ian & Lucy Rawson who took on the charge of continuing the hospital's work.

HAS is unique in its relationship with the community and to Haiti. It has withstood the times, has healed and served Haitians throughout the years, regardless of whatever was going on in the country politically/financially, etc.

The hospital is currently receiving an influx of patients from Port Au Prince and Petit Riviere as HAS is one of the few hospitals that have a surgery unit. The hallways are crowded and the doctors (all of whom are Haitian) are rigorously working to save lives. The influx of patients puts a demand on food, water and medical supplies.

I am asking that you go to their website and donate what you can. It takes 5 minutes max. Even ten dollars helps. I have never seen a dollar stretch so far - and it's even in a hospital!

The website with the donation link for the hospital:

There will be updates from the hospital on the site as well.

I have one more request.

One of the founder's of HTRIP and her 2 year old was on her way to Port Au Prince during the quake. Her husband was possibly at the hospital that crumbled. No one has heard from them. She is our friend and we ask that you pray for them specifically. Their names are Starry, Erlantz and Jasmine.

To see the work of HTRIP (a program of the hospital), meet the beautiful people of Haiti and meet Starry, Erlantz & Jasmine, you can go here:

(They were found safe)

We pray for their safety and the doctors at HAS,

Paige Williams

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