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Mississippi’s independent film festival now mostly virtual

February 27, 2021 GMT

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi’s longest-running film festival is now underway — just mostly virtually this year, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Magnolia Independent Film Festival, or The Mag, is offering a slate of 42 films on its website for viewers to purchase. Festival-goers can also pay more to access additional online workshops and panels.

“You can watch it on your own time, in your home or with a group of friends, ‘on-demand’ as we’re calling it,” festival director Bailey Berry told The Dispatch. “You can watch it whenever you feel like it.”

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Films were available to purchase starting this past Thursday. Access will end March 13.

On March 6, a drive-in showing will be held at Mississippi Horse Park in Starkville. Ten short films and one feature film will be presented at 6 p.m. The late-night drive-in screening at 10:45 p.m. will include two short films and one feature-length film.

The Mag is typically held as a fully in-person event at Hollywood Premier Cinema. Berry said the new format will allow festival-goers to adhere to social-distancing restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was difficult at first trying to navigate around COVID, but once we decided on having a drive-in and virtual experience it was pretty simple organizing it,” Berry said.

Berry said The Mag board of directors chose from more than 350 film submissions for this year’s festival from filmmakers all over the world. Even after whittling submissions to the final 42, they include genres ranging from comedy, horror/thriller, documentaries and more.