The storytelling tradition goes back generations in Mississippi and has produced some of America’s most important writers, musicians and filmmakers. But Mississippi is also home to famous filming locations for Hollywood blockbuster movies and even reality TV shows. While you’re visiting one of our 14 film festivals (schedule below), don’t miss the real-life settings of your favorite films.
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
Nearly every scene in this Coen Brothers smash-hit was filmed in Mississippi. Head to the Strong River in D’Lo, just off U.S. Hwy. 49 south of Jackson, to walk the stones at D’Lo Water Park where the sirens charmed Everett, Delmar and Pete. A short drive north to Canton is the old-time courthouse square, site of Homer’s political rally. Additional sites from Natchez to Vicksburg to Leland are also featured, with a picturesque railroad bridge in Edwards providing the closing scene.
The Help (2012)
Historic areas of Jackson and Greenwood provide the backdrop for The Help, set in 1960s Jackson. After winning big at the box office and bringing home awards from the Oscars and Golden Globes in 2012, tourists began seeking the authentic spots from the movie. Numerous sites in historic Jackson neighborhoods such as Belhaven and Fondren are featured on self-driving tours. Greenwood offers maps for driving tours past iconic spots like the willow tree and bench outside Skeeter’s home, as well as ideas for group tours of 10 or more.
Mississippi Grind (2015)
Two hard-luck poker players, played by actors Ryan Reynolds and Ben Mendelsohn, take a road trip through the American South hoping to change their fortunes in Mississippi Grind. Visitors to gaming establishments in Tunica and Biloxi will recognize Sam’s Town Hotel & Casino and the Imperial Palace Resort as the characters hop down the Mississippi River and along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Home Town (2017-Current)
Laurel is the setting of “Home Town,” the breakout home-remodeling HGTV show starring locals Erin and Ben Napier. Cruise the city’s historic district to find homes featured on the show, then aim straight for downtown and Laurel Mercantile, the storefront featuring Ben’s Scotsman Co. handmade furniture, gentlemen’s workwear and more. Sample the gumbo at the New Orleans-inspired Café La Fleur, or grab a brown-bag lunch and pick out fresh cuts of beef, poultry, pork and lamb at The Knight Butcher.
My Dog Skip (2000)
Filming for the adaptation of Willie Morris’s popular memoir took place in Canton and Yazoo City, where the author grew up. The Canton Movie Museum features set pieces from the film, like Willie’s birthday party scene and the actual Witch’s Crypt. Call ahead (601-859-1307) for tours of Canton and relive scenes from this classic, as well as A Time to Kill, based on the bestselling John Grisham novel. Yazoo City offers a handy driving tour guide of actual places from the author’s childhood and the book, starting where he grew up on Grand Avenue and covering spots all over the city.
Spring/Summer Film Festivals 2018
Oxford Film Festival: February 7 – February 11, 2018
Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration: February 22-24, 2018
Magnolia Independent Film Festival (Starkville): March 1-3, 2018
Southern Comedy Showcase (Vicksburg): March 23-25, 2018
Crossroads Film Festival (Jackson): April 12-15, 2018
Tupelo Film Festival: April 19-21, 2018
Festival South Film Expo (Hattiesburg): June 9-23, 2018
For more information on film festivals in Mississippi, click here.