John Beifuss has a story on films with local influences that are getting attention. The full story is here. Here's the short version:
Memphis-born filmmaker Courtney Hunt and her debut feature, "Frozen River," won much recognition this week as the movie industry's "awards season" -- which ends with the 81st annual Academy Awards on Feb. 22 -- kicked off in earnest.
On Thursday, Hunt was honored in the "Directorial Debut" category of the annual film awards of the National Board of Review.
Hunt, 44, also received recognition Tuesday when nominees for the 24th annual Independent Spirit Awards were announced in Los Angeles.
Hunt was nominated for Best Director and her film was nominated for Best Feature. "Frozen River" received another four nominations: Female Lead (Melissa Leo), Supporting Female (Misty Upham), Supporting Male (Charlie McDermott) and First Screenplay (Hunt).
Also earning six nominations were Jonathan Demme's "Rachel Getting Married" and a movie with regional connections, "Ballast."
Written and directed by a Californian, Lance Hammer, and cast mainly with amateur actors from the Mississippi Delta, "Ballast" was shot in and around such locations as Greenwood, Canton, Camden, Midnight, Tchula and Yazoo City, Miss. (Also Tuesday, Hammer received the Gotham award for "Breakthrough Director.")