The Mississippi High School Competition is offering its second free online Zoom workshop this Thursday, May 14, 1-2 pm; this one is a Scriptwriting Workshop with Vincenzo Mistretta from the Film Department at USM.

Vincenzo Mistretta is a filmmaker and visual artist. He was born in Italy and immigrated to the United States with his family as a teenager. In his adult life he has lived in Buffalo, N.Y.; New York City; Palermo, Sicily; and Rome, Italy. He began his career as a visual artist in 1989 after graduating from Pratt Institute in New York City with a BFA in Painting. His paintings have been exhibited in Italy, France, and the U.S. and are in numerous collections.

Mistretta began making films in 1988 in New York City. He received an MA in Media Study and Italian Literature from the University at Buffalo in 1998 and an MFA in Media Study from the same institution in 2006. He has worked in various genres including experimental, narrative, and documentary film, often utilizing a hybrid of the three. Recurring themes in his work range from cultural identity and language to gender and sexuality to formal concerns with the material essence of film itself. His longstanding interest in political activism has led him to produce a series of documentaries on the Women in Black peace network in Buffalo and New York City, and in 2006 he was awarded a Fulbright fellowship to continue his research and documentation of Women in Black in Rome and elsewhere in Europe. In 2011 he received a Channels grant from Squeaky Wheel/Buffalo Media Resources to work with the not-for-profit Clean Air Coalition of WNY in Tonawanda, N.Y. on a documentary about the organization. After the project was over, he maintained his close ties with the group and has subsequently served on its board of directors.

Mistretta has received a Miquel Vinciguerra Filmmaking Grant, as well as fellowships and grants from the Niagara (N.Y.) Council for the Arts, the Erie County (N.Y.) Arts Council, the Experimental Television Center, and others. He has screened and exhibited his work internationally at venues and festivals including Open Video Projects and the Arcipelago Film Festival in Rome; the O’Curt Film Festival in Naples; Netwerk /Center for Contemporary Art, Brussels; and the New York International Film Festival, National Art Gallery in Washington D.C., and the International Independent Film Festival in New York City. He has also presented papers at several academic conferences on gender, popular culture, Italian film, and globalization at Rutgers University (Newark, N.J.) and the University at Buffalo as well as the 13th International Oral History Conference in Rome, Italy.

Mistretta has taught filmmaking and film analysis at the University at Buffalo, SUNY Fredonia, and Fredonia State University. He has also worked as a curator at Acefalo Art Gallery in Palermo, Italy, and media programmer at Open Video Projects, a video archive based in Rome that facilitates video art/film screenings throughout the city and abroad. His video production company, The Ricecooker Productions, serves as a home base for his work on television commercials, independent productions, and website design. Mistretta is now teaching Film Production at the University of Southern Mississippi.

For more information on Vincenzo Mistretta’s work, visit

Zoom Link:

Saturday, April 16th, 2016

The MS High School Film Competition, a component of the Tupelo Film Festival Society, is a competition that was created to promote the art of filmmaking to Mississippi High School students involved in film and television classes, film groups or individual filmmaking. We are grateful to our sponsors Watkins College of Art, Design and Film (Nashville, TN) and The Casey Spradling Memorial Scholarship Fund for their support. In addition to the cash prizes and awards provided by the festival, the MS High School Film Competition was selected by Watkins College of Art, Design and Film of Nashville, TN to receive scholarships.  (Please see information under Awards below)  Please click on the link to see this prestigious school in Nashville, TN.  This is a great honor for the festival and we are so thrilled to have been selected.  A very special thanks to Watkins College for selecting the MS High School Film Competition to receive these scholarships.

The competition will be held Saturday, April 16th at the Malco Theatre in Tupelo, MS.  Tickets are $5.00.  Come out and support filmmakers from around our state. Please see below information for submission guidelines. Please call 662-871-7723 for more information.

Submission Guidelines:

1. Entrant must be a student enrolled in a Mississippi High School.

2. Entries in all categories must not exceed 10 minutes running time including credits.

3. The entry must have been produced in the last two years (after 12/31/14)

4. Films must be in English or have English subtitles

5. Films eligible must be completed no earlier than January 1, 2014.

6. It is permissible for films to have entered or won other contests.

7. Films should have minimal profanity and violence.

8. All films will be judged on performances, production values and originality. Entries will be reviewed by members of the Tupelo Film Festival Society. Entries selected will be judged by an independent panel of judges. Awards will be presented at the conclusion of the festival. The decisions of the judges are final and any winning entry found to have violated the rules and regulations will have to forfeit.

9. Submissions may be mailed in or submitted through no later than March 25th.

10. All entries must include signed entry form (forms MUST be signed by the sponsoring faculty member), $10 submission fee (via check mailed with entry form or payment on FilmFreeway), and 2 copies of film on DVD (format Region 1 or Multi platform) for screening.

11. Please include your entry title and name of entrant on all materials. If selected you will be notified by email on or before, April 1st, 2016 . There is a limit of two (2) entries per entrant, but please note that separate applications and submission fees must accompany each entry.

12. In submitting your entry, please include a copy of your press kit and synopsis and any other promotional items that will support the marketing of your film if selected. Please email a film still of your film to a.s.a.p.

13. If submitting your film through FilmFreeway you still need to submit 2 DVD’s for screening along with signed entry form by the deadline to to the address below.

14. Registration fee, registration form, and DVD’s should be shipped to the following address no later than April 5th, 2016. (If postmarked after deadline film will not be accepted.)

Tupelo Film Festival Society
P.O. Drawer 1505
Tupelo, MS 38802
Click Here to download the
2016 Entry Form MS High School Film Competition


  • Short
  • Documentary
  • Animation
  • Commercial


All films will be judged by a ranking system from professionals in the industry. Judged awards will be determined by the creativity and professional quality of the films regardless of the category. The Audience Favorite award will be determined by an audience rating system. The audience will rank films on a scale of 1 to 10 and the film with the highest average score will win. Sponsoring faculty member(s) will receive a matching award if entry places. Those selected will be screened at the Tupelo Film Festival April 16, 2016 (Malco Theate.)

1st Place $500 ($250 Trophy for filmmaker/$250 for school)
2nd Place $300 ($150 (Trophy) for filmmaker/$150 for school)
3rd Place $150 ($75/Trophy for filmmaker/$75 for school)
Audience Favorite $300 – (Trophy & Cash Award)
Awards And Cash Prizes Sponsored By Watkins College for Art, Design & Film.  In addition to the above cash prizes and awards – scholarships from Watkins College of Art, Design and Film out of Nashville, TN will be awarded. 1st place – $12,000 over four years – 2nd place – $8,000 over four years and 3rd place – $4,000 over four years.  All scholarships are awarded based on successful application and acceptance to Watkins College of Art, Design & Film. A very special thanks to Watkins College for selecting the MS High School Film Competition to receive these scholarships.  An Audience Award is provided by the Casey Spradling Memorial Scholarship Fund and the film that receives the highest vote will win $300 in addition to getting much exposure.

» Click here to see the 2015 Winners


[author] [author_image timthumb=’off’][/author_image] [author_info]Don Tingle – Director for the Alabama Filmmakers Co-op – Huntsville, AL. The Alabama Filmmakers Co-op is a Huntsville based community service organization that was founded in 1977. Don has presented over 100 workshops on various aspects of low budget and amateur movie making. He leads multiple workshops for the North Alabama community including a monthly Filmmakers Workshop focused on technical aspects of amateur filmmaking and travels extensively to present workshops at regional film festival. Don has presented seminars and workshops at Roger Ebert’s Film Festival, the Tupelo Film Festival, The Mississippi International Film Festival, the George Lindsey UNA Film Festival, the Southern Shorts Film Festival, and for various community programs agencies. Don has served as host and moderator for panel discussions at film festivals and interviewed actors, screenwriters and filmmakers. He organizes and produces the Huntsville based “Rocket City Short Film Festival,” a showcase for local and regionally produced short films, held in October of each year.[/author_info] [/author]

[author] [author_image timthumb=’off’][/author_image] [author_info]Max Shores – University of Alabama  Max Shores grew up in northwest Alabama and came to the University of Alabama to study radio. He ended up working for the University as a public TV producer/director. His documentaries on Alabama history and southern culture topics have been broadcast on Alabama Public Television and nationwide on PBS stations as well as being featured at film festivals around the world. He taught media production  at the University for several years and enjoys working with students.[/author_info] [/author]

[author] [author_image timthumb=’off’][/author_image] [author_info]Phillip Gentile – University of Southern Mississippi Phillip Gentile is a filmmaker who also teaches Film Studies at the University of Southern Mississippi Gulfcoast campus. His areas of teaching expertise include film history and theory, film production, and animation. His areas of scholarly interest include documentary film, postwar American avant-garde film, and film comedy. His film Cursive was awarded Best Experimental Film at the 6th Annual Crossroads Film Festival.[/author_info] [/author]