Tina Mabry’s feature film debut, "Mississippi Damned" – a 2009 Slamdance Film Festival selection – has been released by AFFRM + Array Releasing today, September 1, on Netflix.
Streaming subscribers of the popular online platform can now screen the acclaimed drama there.
The award-winning stark drama features an ensemble cast, and follows the dreams and disappointments of 3 African American children in poor rural Mississippi. Struggling to overcome the cyclical violence and poverty at home, each hopes for a brighter future: Leigh with her flirtatious high school girlfriend; Sammy, who has a college basketball scholarship; and Kari, the youngest, considering a career as a pianist. However, each soon learns that they will have to confront their family’s past if they are to overcome what constrains them, "damned," to their Mississippi stead.
It was an assured, deftly directed, moving debut from Mabry, and one that I need to revisit, since it’s been so long since I last screened it. And now that it’s in Netflix’s streaming library, I’ll certainly be adding it to my queue.
Chasity Kershal Hammitte, Malcolm Goodwin, and Tessa Thompson (relatively early in her film acting career) star as Leigh, Sammy and Kari.
DB Woodside, Malcolm David Kelly, Tonea Stewart, Adam Clark, and Michael Hyatt also feature.
By the way, Bradford Young (who very few were familiar with at the time – compared to wider awareness of him and his work today) shot the film.
"Mississippi Damned" was a recipient of a Film Independent grant of $10,000 of Kodak film stock, shot on super 35MM (at a time when digital was becoming all the rage), and made its world premiere at the Slamdance Film Festival in January 2009, in competition. It went on to win top awards at Outfest, Philadelphia Film Festival, Chicago International Film Festival, Atlanta Film Festival and others, and would later be distributed independently by the filmmaker and partner Morgan Stiff, via their production house, Morgan’s mark.
As she told us in 2010, after several unsuccessful attempts at securing a fair and equitable distribution deal, they decided to release the film themselves – which likely means that a lot of you still haven’t seen it. Here’s your opportunity to do so – assuming you have a Netflix streaming account, or plan to sign up for one. It’s also available on DVD via Morgan’s Mark.
Other AFFRM + Array Releasing films currently streaming on Netflix include "Vanishing Pearls," "Big Words," and "Middle of Nowhere."
A trailer for "Mississippi Damned" follows below: