Friday, October 7, 2022

Mississippi Documented in 'subSIPPI' Film

Vincent Jude Chaney’s documentary “subSIPPI,” gives audiences a glimpse into Mississippi’s distinctive culture that is constantly changing and evolving.
Vincent Jude Chaney is not telling the world what to think about Mississippi.
Instead, Chaney, Diamondhead, Miss. native and director of “subSIPPI,” allows Mississippi to speak for itself in the documentary, which premiered in Hattiesburg, Miss., in August 2013.

The sub-Sippi gang, Laren Cioffi, left to right, Greg Gandy and Vincent Chaney pose for a photo while on set. Photo courtesy of Vincent Chaney.
The sub-Sippi gang, Laren Cioffi, left to right, Greg Gandy and Vincent Chaney pose for a photo while on set. Photo courtesy of Vincent Chaney.

“The film is motivated more by the moving image than dialogue,” Chaney said. “I wanted the images to speak for themselves to evoke certain emotions independent from what I want to say about these people.”
The film features Mississippians who exemplify some of the state’s subcultures, which loosely fall into four categories: art, religion, agriculture, and lifestyle. These subcultures support the film’s philosophy.
“The philosophy behind the project is unifying subcultures and making your neighbor your friend,” Chaney said. And it’s doing just that. According to Chaney, many Mississippians have embraced the documentary’s philosophy after seeing it.
“There are a lot of people who have been inspired by ‘subSIPPI’,” he said. “[They] have gone out and met people that were in the film or have taken initiative.”
Chaney and the crew anticipate that “subSIPPI” will make a two-fold statement. The first is for those that already live in Mississippi.
“We wanted to say, ‘Hey, if we really want to take pride in where we come from, we need to know our neighbors. We need to know what’s going on around us,” he said.
The second statement is for the non-Mississippian.
“I wanted [the documentary] to be a way to experience Mississippi without me saying, ‘This is what I wanted you to take from [it],” Chaney said.
The gang takes a break after shooting in Batesville, Miss. in a field of bathtubs along Highway 6. Photo courtesy of Vincent Chaney.
The gang takes a break after shooting in Batesville, Miss. in a field of bathtubs along Highway 6. Photo courtesy of Vincent Chaney.

Chaney hopes the documentary will be used as a resource by Mississippians.
“One of the basic goals that I had set out was for it to be online for free,” Chaney said. “The film is something you can watch and say, ‘Okay, we have these preconceived notions about what Mississippi is so let’s watch the film and experience it.’ It is a film to say that this is where we are up to date.”
Chaney said that “subSIPPI” could also be a used in classrooms around the state.
“I want to get in Mississippi Studies classrooms,” he said. “I think a lot of young people want to take pride in Mississippi but don’t know how. I think you can really spice up a Mississippi Studies class if you talk about what’s going on [now].”
As for Chaney, he has found his pride in Mississippi.
“What I love about Mississippi is our story,” he said. “My favorite thing about Mississippi is seeing the energy that’s here right now given its story and given its very suppressed recent history between race and economic factors.”
He smirked.
“For now, we’re doing really good.”
Learn more about subSIPPI by visit the film’s website at www.subsippi.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/subsippi.
Written by Lanie Anderson, Mississippi Observer

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