The Magnolia Independent Film Festival is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

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GOLDEN TRIANGLE (WCBI) — Mississippi’s premier film festival celebrates its 25th anniversary.

The Magnolia Film Festival includes works in several different genres.

“This is the first and longest running film festival in the state of Mississippi and it’s just a huge thing for us to be celebrating our 25th,” Misun said.

25 years of lights and cameras in action.

The Magnolia Independent Film Festival is back in person and on the big screen this year.

First-year festival director Chris Misun says playing an important role in this festival is fun, but having to make tough decisions is part of the job.

“So we had over 320 films this year, and we only selected 40 films,” Misun said.

Misun also adds that this festival has no regional restrictions, so everyone is welcome to join in the fun.

“One of the things that people get out of an independent film festival is that direct interaction with the filmmakers and we have several filmmakers from across the county and around the world. Some have come from overseas so it’s a great opportunity for people to meet these people and discover their passion for cinema, to tell stories and to tell how they got here,” said Misun.

Director Bianca Pick grabbed her bags and flew out of Berlin to be part of The Mag.

Pick says it’s his 3rd film festival and watching the audience reaction is the real reward for all that hard work.

“I think it’s always a little nerve-wracking of course and I get a little nervous and you watch other shorts and you compare and you’re like oh my god and if mine isn’t as good but then I think hearing audience laughter is one, not the most rewarding thing a filmmaker could ask for,” Pick said.

Pick says his original vision may not always show up in the final cut, but seeing it come to life is a dream come true.

“I think the process of making a movie for me is the most exciting part because it’s like when the thing you have in your mind actually starts happening in real life and it never feels like what you had in your mind, but once it’s all over it’s almost better because it’s real,” Pick said.

The Festival kicked off February 24 at the Malco Theater in Columbus and continues tonight at the UEC Theater in Starkville. The doors have opened, but the curtain does not rise until seven o’clock.

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