Coast's Sun & Sand film festival will start Thursday

An independent film with Mississippi connections will be featured at the 2016 Sun & Sand Film & Music Festival, which is June 9-12.

"Dixieland," starring Chris Zylka, Riley Keough, Spencer Lofranco, Steve Earle, and Faith Hill, is a 2015 drama about a young man fresh out of prison who returns to his Mississippi hometown trailer park. While he struggles to keep clean, he falls in love with his neighbor, who has taken a job in a local strip club to support herself and her mother. The young couple look for a way to escape their small town. Hank Bedford is writer and director.

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Films for the four-day festival will be screened at the Grand Theatre in D'Iberville and on an outdoor screen at the open green space across from City Hall in Biloxi.

Sun & Sand has had 42 independent-film submissions that include 10 international submissions from nine countries, festival organizer Wes Benton said in a news release. Countries with first-time submissions are Israel, Czech Republic, Poland, Norway, Italy and South Korea.

Beverages and food will be offered at the outdoor screenings.

The music segment will not be a part of this year's festival. Film screenings begin Friday, but the festival starts Thursday with a private opening party.

The festival, in its fifth year, was moved up to June to help expand the Sun & Sand brand to a year-round presence on the Coast with 10 monthly screenings, one in each of the months leading up to the festival and the months following the festival, Benton said. A Sun & Sand-designated film will play each month in a selected venue along the Coast. The screenings will be seasonal in theme and will use both indoor and outdoor venues.

Film ticket prices are, per block, $10 adults and $7 for children (age 3 to 12), seniors and veterans. All-access film passes are $35 adults and $25 for seniors and veterans. For advance ticket purchases, call (770) 329-0015.

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