TUPELO, MISS. (WCBI) – It was a Thursday evening and the streets in downtown Tupelo doubled as a movie set.
The scene is part of a 21 minute action drama titled “Cain.” The crew is made up of Michael Williams, who is director and cameraman, actress Amye Gousset who plays a television reporter, and her husband, Mickey, who is doing whatever he can to help.
Michael Williams, along with close friend and colleague Glenn Payne are perhaps the most well known local independent filmmakers. Williams has seen a spike in the growth of the local movie making industry.
“I’ve been working in the independent film industry since 2007. when I first started there was maybe 1 or 2 projects a year and now there’s more than you can keep up with,” Williams said.
Fueling that growth; advances in technology that makes quality equipment affordable to hometown moviemakers.
“You can get a lot for a little and so movies are getting better and better and better, we can make more and more and more for cheaper,” he said.
For example, the total budget for this short action drama is expected to be less than 500 dollars.
It means that most cast and crew work for free, but independent films have helped local actress Amye Gousset land high profile acting jobs. In fact, she heads to Atlanta next week for a possible role on an HBO production.
“This past month was on Discovery Channel’s “A Haunting” I was the lead character in that program and that was an exciting opportunity for a lot of reasons, and kind of opened the door, gained some agents through that program, It’s amazing just how it trickles down, one situation will open the door for another situation,” Gousset said.
Independent filmmakers are finding help from the Tupelo Film Alliance, and the state Film Commission, which offers tax incentives for certain productions filmed in Mississippi.
The annual Tupelo Film Festival also puts the spotlight on local movie makers. It’s held every spring at the Lyric Theatre and it allows independent filmmakers from the area, nation and the world to showcase their talents, network with each other and hopefully gain funding for future projects.
For more information on local filmmakers go to;