MSU professor named director of the Magnolia Independent Film Festival

Chris Misun, director of "The Mag" festival.

The 25th annual Magnolia Film Festival will take place Feb. 24-26, 2022, in downtown Starkville, serving the community as a memorable experience for filmmakers and audience members. Nicknamed "The Mag," it is the longest-running film festival in Mississippi.

Ron Tibbett created The Mag in West Point but later moved to Starkville. Tibbett's priority was to bring entertaining films to Mississippi and help Mississippi filmmakers be recognized and appreciated for their work. For those interested in submitting a film to the festival, the late deadline is Nov. 1.

Chris Misun, a broadcast instructor at Mississippi State University, has been hired as director for the upcoming film festival. Misun is still learning what the role of director at this festival consists of, but he explained an overview of the job.

"It's many different things. I'm facilitating all the committees that go into (The Mag). I will oversee everyone and make sure we are all doing what we need to do," Misun said.

Before his faculty position, Misun worked as creative services producer for the Mississippi State University Television Center. While in that position, he was hands-on, working with students and behind the camera. 

"I don't have the opportunity to work on those projects (behind the camera), so I have really enjoyed being behind the camera assisting with students' projects for the Scene filmmaking club. It is fun to answer questions they may have and guide them in the process," Misun said.

Terry Likes, the communication department head, initially met Misun during his job interview in 2019. Likes and Misun started in the department at the same time. Likes has a background in media, while Misun currently works in media, so they work together in various ways. 

"(We do) anything that is involved in student media production, curriculum development, talking about technology needs for the department and the students, so we talk nearly every day together," Likes said. 

After working so closely with Misun, Likes has gotten to know him well personally and professionally. Likes explained MSU's excitement for the university to be involved with this local event.

"We are delighted to help play a role in the continued development and success of the Magnolia Film Festival," Likes said. "Since joining the department in the fall of 2019, Chris has guided the curriculum to offer new courses beyond journalism to meet the needs of students who wish to explore the variety of avenues involving creative media. His professional media experience and his previous work at University Television all lend themselves to his leadership role as director with the Magnolia Film Festival. We are excited for him and for what the coming year will bring with the festival."

James Parker, senior documentary and special projects producer at the University Television Center, worked with Misun when serving as creative services producer. At the time, Parker had the same role as Misun, so they worked closely together every day. In addition, their roles consisted of airing all commercials and social media videos, which allowed for a close relationship.

Parker explained the opportunity The Mag has given MSU and the value Misun will add to the festival.

"I think this will bridge a gap between the university and the town of Starkville. Chris has a lot of great leadership skills, organizational skills and he really can bring people together. This will all play really well for the festival and elevate it even more," Parker said.

The Magnolia Film Festival gives filmmakers in Mississippi a chance to be recognized after often being overlooked. Misun will be a connection for MSU students to join in on this opportunity. Individuals wanting to participate can submit their film to The Mag's website.

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