Long Beach -- Principal shooting on a short film with a big message regarding HB 1523 is underway in South Mississippi.
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“Meanwhile in Mississippi” which tackles the “religious freedom bill,” started the filming process Tuesday in Long Beach with one of its primary stars, Clarksdale Mayor and former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill Luckett.
“I was one of the people who made a contribution to the film’s Indiegogo account and then I got a call asking me if I wanted to be in the film,” Luckett said.
Luckett is no stranger to the state’s film industry. He’s a business partner of actor Morgan Freeman and he also is an actor who has appeared in films such as “South of Sanity” and “Texas Heart.”
“The film is a good short and it’s poignant,” Luckett said. “And it shows what government can do if unrestrained and unchecked and I think (writer/director Tammy Devin) did a good job of showing a natural progression of what can happen.”
Devin said she wrote her script in the days after Gov. Phil Bryant signed HB 1523, which will go into effect July 1.
Luckett said the subject matter was another reason he was drawn to the film.
“I’ve been against HB 1523 since the governor signed that bill into law,” he said. “I can see some of what I would call ‘intended consequences’ of the bill which nobody asked for.”
He said the bill has had an impact on the immediate future of the state’s film industry.
“There’s a multi-million dollar project, I’m talking like $10 million, that was going to shoot around Jackson, and it’s in jeopardy because of HB 1523 and there’s one project that has pulled out entirely,” Luckett said. “This will have some effect on the tourism industry, but it could have a big impact on the film industry just because they want to legislate what goes on in the bedroom.”
The next step
Devin said “Meanwhile in Mississippi” is filming scenes as funds become available.
“We are going to extend our Indiegogo and the cool thing about that is we can pull some money out and film another day and then film another day,” she said.
Luckett said the film is an “important” one.
“This film needs to get made whether the federal courts stay the enactment date or not because it’s bigger than just HB 1523 because the government has no business dictating what the people can or can’t do,” he said.
Never say never
Luckett was a Democratic candidate in the 2011 governor’s race, which was won by Gov. Phil Bryant. He lost to Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny Dupree in the primary election.
And when asked if he is considering another run at the state’s top office, Luckett said he hasn’t ruled it out.
“I have given it some thought,” he said.
Levels of sponsorship available for “Meanwhile in Mississippi”
- $5 Shout-out
- $10 Temporary Tattoo
- $15 Movie Poster Download
- $20 Movie Download
- $30 T-shirt Stand Alone
- $45 T-shirt Plus
- $60 Movie Poster
- $75 Finished Film
- $100 Ticket to a Private Screening
- $250 Associate Producer
- $500 Co-producer
- $750 Co-producer Extra
- $1,000 Executive Producer
Full descriptions are available here.