Longtime businesswoman and investor Dolly Marascalco has taken a long look into the movie business and said it’s now time for Grenada to be a part of the cinematic world.
In the next few weeks, Marascalco will meet with movie executives from the up coming film “DemiGod, a horror genre film.
“I met with them and officials with the Mississippi Wildlife Fisheries and Parks at Hugh White State Park,” Marascalco said. “They said it’s the perfect setting out there.”
Marascalco said production crews want to begin filming in December.
For the past year, she’s paid close attention to the movie industry and has even spent time on movie sets. Last summer she spent time on the set of the horror movie “The Dinner Party”, a film directed by Mississippi actor and director Miles Doleac.
“The Dinner Party” was shot in Hattiesburg in July and August 2019 and starring Bill Sage, Doleac, Lindsay Anne Williams, Alli Hart, and Jeremy London among others. It was released June 9.
“I was right there on the set and I saw how it all works,” Marascalco said. “I saw what goes into it and how much a town can be affected by a movie shooting in town. Grenada needs this.”
After state film subsidies expired in 2017, Marascalco was on hand in Jackson when then Gov. Phil Bryant signed Senate Bill 2603 which extended a program that allows Mississippi to offer rebates to motion picture production companies that work in the state.
Mississippi-based motion picture production companies many receive up to $5 million for payroll and fringe benefits paid to out of state, non-resident employees. The bill, as originally written, would’ve provided to out-of-state production companies up to $10 million for payroll and fringe benefits for out of state employees.
This was reduced in conference to $5 million and restricted to production companies that have been certified by the Mississippi Development Authority to have filed income taxes in the state in the past three years and filmed at least two motion pictures in the state in the past 10 years.
“You think about the economic impact that can have on a town and Mississippi,” Marascalco said. “These are people that will have to eat, have places to stay and all of these will potentially be bids for our local people. There hasn’t been a motion picture shot here in some time.”
One of the most notable films was “Mississippi Masala,” a 1991 drama was shot in Grenada and featured young Denzel Washington.
“We can have more than that shot here,” Marascalco said. “Miles (Doleac) loves scenes like what we have here. The antebellum homes, old barns, wooded and recreational sites, it’s perfect for his movies.”
While Marascalco was on the set for the shooting of “The Dinner Party” she became an investor in the movie. She said she found out that the directors and actors want what Mississippi has to offer.
“This is just great for Grenada,” Marascalco said. “These directors and producers are very serious about it. I’ve told them about the best that Grenada has to offer.
Mississippi is no stranger to award winning films being shot here. In 2012, “The Help” was shot in Carroll County and Greenwood and was nominated for a best picture award. Octavia Spencer won Best Supporting Actress in that film.
The 1988 film “Mississippi Burning” was nominated for several Oscars and was shot in the Philadelphia area. The film was a fictionalized account loosely based on the FBI’s investigation into the 1964 murders of civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner.
The 2000 comedy “O’ Brother Where Art Thou” was nominated for Academy Awards. That film was set in Mississippi during the Great Depression and scenes were filmed in locations near Canton.
“Ghosts of Mississippi” was nominated for several Academy Awards in 1997. The film was a biographical courtroom drama about the fight for a conviction 30 years after the 1963 killing of Medgar Evers. It starred several heavyweights including director Rob Reiner, Alec Baldwin, Whoopi Goldberg and James Woods. The movie was shot in Jackson.
“The Insider,” a Al Pacino and Russell Crowe film focused around the tobacco industry and grossed over $100 million at the box office in 1999.
That movie was shot in Pascagoula.