The storytelling tradition goes back generations in Mississippi and has produced some of America’s most important writers, musicians and filmmakers. But Mississippi is also home to famous filming locations for Hollywood blockbuster movies and even reality TV shows. While you’re visiting one of our 14 film festivals (partial schedule below), don’t miss out on the real-life settings of your favorite films.
My Dog Skip (2000) | CANTON, YAZOO CITY
Filming for the adaptation of Willie Morris’s popular memoir took place in Canton and Yazoo City, where the author grew up. The Canton Movie Museum features set pieces from the film, like Willie’s birthday party scene and the actual Witch’s Crypt. Call ahead (601-859-1307) for tours of Canton and relive scenes from this classic, as well as A Time to Kill, based on the bestselling John Grisham novel. Yazoo City offers a handy driving tour guide of actual places from the author’s childhood and the book, starting where he grew up on Grand Avenue and covering spots all over the city.
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) | MULTIPLE
Nearly every scene in this Coen Brothers smash-hit was filmed in Mississippi. Head to the Strong River in D’Lo, just off U.S. Hwy. 49 south of Jackson, to walk the stones at D’Lo Water Park where the sirens charmed Everett, Delmar and Pete. A short drive north to Canton is the old-time courthouse square, site of Homer’s political rally. Additional sites from Natchez to Vicksburg to Leland are also featured, with a picturesque railroad bridge in Edwards providing the closing scene.
The Help (2012) | GREENWOOD, JACKSON
Historic areas of Jackson and Greenwood provide the backdrop for The Help, set in 1960s Jackson. After winning big at the box office and bringing home awards from the Oscars and Golden Globes in 2012, tourists began seeking the authentic spots from the movie. Numerous sites in historic Jackson neighborhoods such as Belhaven and Fondren are featured on self-driving tours. Greenwood offers maps for driving tours past iconic spots like the willow tree and bench outside Skeeter’s home, as well as ideas for group tours of 10 or more.
Mississippi Grind (2015) | TUNICA, BILOXI
Two hard-luck poker players, played by actors Ryan Reynolds and Ben Mendelsohn, take a road trip through the American South hoping to change their fortunes in Mississippi Grind. Visitors to gaming establishments in Tunica and Biloxi will recognize Sam’s Town Hotel & Casino and the Imperial Palace Resort as the characters hop down the Mississippi River and along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
THE SMALL SCREEN
Home Town (2017-Current) | LAUREL
Laurel is the setting of “Home Town,” the breakout home-remodeling HGTV show starring locals Erin and Ben Napier. Cruise the city’s historic district to find homes featured on the show, then aim straight for downtown and Laurel Mercantile, the storefront featuring Ben’s Scotsman Co. handmade furniture, gentlemen’s workwear and more. Sample a true Mississippi blue plate at Pearl's Cafe, or grab a brown-bag lunch and pick out fresh cuts of beef, poultry, pork and lamb at The Knight Butcher.
2020 Mississippi Film Festivals
Jewish Cinema Mississippi (Jackson): January TBD, 2020
Clarksdale Film Festival: January 24 - 26, 2020
Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration - February 27-29
Magnolia Independent Film Festival (Starkville) - February 27-29
Oxford Film Festival - March 18-22
Tupelo Film Festival - April 15-18
Festival South Film Expo (Hattiesburg) - June TBD
DeSoto Film Festival (Southaven) - October TBD
Grenada Afterglow Film Festival - October TBD
Fear Fete Horro Film Festival (Biloxi) - October TBD
Rails to Reels Film Festival (Meridian) - October TBD
Crossroads Film Festivals (Jackson) - November TBD
For more information on film festivals and the Mississippi Film Office, click here.