Ron Tibbett Award

Ron Tibbett -Ron Tibbett -Ron Tibbett was born in Chicago in 1941. He graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in English. He served in the US Marines. He met his wife Charlotte Magnussen in Montreal and was married in 1978. He and his family (Charlotte and daughter Christine) moved to West Point, MS, in 1994. He always had an active interest in film and shot his first film “Swept Off My Feet” in West Point. Because there were no festivals in Mississippi to screen the film, he started the Magnolia Independent Film Festival, the first of its kind in MS. He loved sharing his craft, enthusiasm, and love of film with all but especially young minds. He encouraged many to follow their dreams in film. We miss him dearly. This best of show award is presented each year in memory of Ron Tibbett who helped launch the Tupelo Film Festival in 2004.

Elvin Whitesides Award

Elvin Whitesides, a native of Tupelo, came to his love of film as a boy, sitting beside his father in the projection booth of the Lyric Theatre, screening years of first-run Hollywood features. That formative experience led to a BFA in Theatre from the University of Southern Mississippi, professional training in both New York and Los Angeles, and managing the Bing Theatre at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art for over twenty years. Throughout his career, Elvin continued to make films, write, perform, produce, and direct until his untimely death in May 2010. A two-time judge at the Tupelo Film Festival, 2011 marks the inaugural Elvin Whitesides Director’s Award, a tribute to his talent for guiding and inspiring countless cast and crews toward a common creative goal through the magic of movies. This award is present in memory of Elvin Whitesides who served as a mentor to the festival, as well as a judge.

Robert Reed Award

The Tupelo Film Festival lost one of its valued committee members in 2014. Robert Reed served on the festival board, was a screener of documentary films, and gave tirelessly to the many activities of the festival. His dedication and love for film was evident as he served from the inception of the festival to his untimely passing. Robert’s humor, commitment and friendship will never be replaced. In memory of Robert’s love for documentaries, he will be honored with the Robert Reed Best Documentary Award. The award is given in his memory by Reed’s Department Store.

Casey Spradling Award

The Tupelo Film Festival joined with the Oxford Film Festival to honor a great friend, Casey Spradling. Casey’s love and enthusiasm to learn all about the different techniques of filmmaking exceeded far beyond his expectations and he was mentored under some of the best in the art of filmmaking. He was eager to be versed in all aspects of filmmaking and he did just that. Casey passed away unexpectedly on set leaving a void in so many lives. Casey reached a height he probably never dreamed he could reach and left this world doing what he loved the most…making movies. The Casey Spradling Memorial Award goes to Best Mississippi High School Film.