Because their $25,000 budget was relatively small, Konkel and Stolle kept the crew to a minimum. Only director, cinematographer and camera operator Damian Blalock, a Mississippi filmmaker who previously had worked with Stolle on a biographical film about bluesman Big George Brock, and Bill Abel, a musician and audio engineer known for his field recording skills, came on the trip with them.

"Frankly, taking a big-budget approach would have killed the film," Konkel says. By working with what he describes as "a light footprint," the filmmakers were able to get up close and personal with their subjects and offer an intimate look at a musical world largely unknown outside rural Mississippi.

Following its premiere next week, M for Mississippi will be released on DVD, and Konkel says they also hope to take the movie to film festivals and perhaps even negotiate a deal with broadcast or cable television. He says they also want to have a screening in St. Louis, though there's nothing definite yet.

Tef Poe: Still excelling at Honors English.
Tef Poe: Still excelling at Honors English.

Most important, "We wanted the movie to serve as an inspiration to come down to Mississippi to see these guys," says Konkel. "And we wanted to show that this is something anyone can do. If you have an interest in the music, a tank of gas, an atlas and a fairly strong liver, you can do this."
— Dean C. Minderman

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