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.