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Waking in Mississippi(5/7/: A Documentary on Race, Media, and Politics in the Rural South

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Published on Dec 5, 2009

Waking in Mississippi:
A Documentary on Race, Media, and Politics in the Rural South
Color, 58 min., English. Christie Herring & Andre Robinson, c. 1997

...a project about race, media, and politics in the rural southern US which chronicles the effects of a major Hollywood production (John Grisham's US$60 million A Time to Kill) on race/community relations in Canton Mississippi, a predominantly black (70%) agrarian town near the state's delta region--a town of only 11,000; a town with a continuing history of segregation.

We ask the question, "Is Hollywood waking Mississippi from it's hateful slumber?" We seek to create a space in which the segregated racial and economic factions of Canton can find common ground, even if only on film. Various citizens, both prominent and ordinary, of Canton and Mississippi help establish a cinematic dialogue or context within which to understand the enormity of the challenges facing rural Southern communities as they attempt move beyond the nineteenth into the twenty-first century; as they attempt to negotiate the pitfalls of a post-industrial, information age society. We focus on two watershed events in the town's recent past, namely the election of Canton's first black mayor in 1994 and the filming of A Time to Kill in 1995.

About Waking in Mississippi...

"Waking In Mississippi is a courageous, beautiful portrait of race relations in Canton, Mississippi, a small town in the Deep South. In creating their first film, Christie Herring and Andre Robinson bring exceptional cinematic artistry to what will stand as a classic document on the American South."

--Dr. William Ferris, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities


"a rare journalistic accomplishment: a thoughtful, intelligent documentary about a Mississippi town"

--Rob Robertson, Oxford Town

Waking in Mississippi is a project of Gone South Productions. It received generous support from the Duke University Program in Film + Video, the Ivanhoe/Duke Documentary Project, the Edward H. Benenson Award in the Arts, and the Duke University Center for Campus and Community Development. Distribution is being handled through the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississipi.

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