“Crossroads Film Festival celebrates 20 years of bringing Mississippi films to the big screen,” said Philip Scarborough (founder member of Crossroads Film Society, and current Society Board President. “This year, we have taken particular care to select films made in Mississippi by Mississippi filmmakers and films by youths, LGBTQ, female, as well as filmmakers of color. The five master classes, which are all taught by experienced professionals, include screenwriting, cinematography and production. We are also excited about them.” The Crossroads Film Society was founded in 1999 and celebrates the art and craft of filmmaking with annual film festivals and screenings throughout the year. The festival will begin at 2 p.m. on Thursday at Malco Grandview Cinema, Madison. Three screens of the theater — known as A-B and C during festival — will be reserved for four days worth of film screenings, some followed by discussion panels and workshops that have developed into “master classes.” Michele Baker, festival coordinator, said, “We have made an agreement this year to support the educational aspects of festival.” Workshops have been done in the past but this year will be different. They are called master classes and will feature top-notch people who will talk to us about these subjects.” The Society has made it their mission not only to promote dialogue between filmmakers and audiences, but also to provide educational opportunities that encourage dialogue. Baker stated that Hollywood’s majority of filmmakers are white men. They still have valid stories to tell. There are many others who have different ideas about the world. These films should be seen and heard. People should see different perspectives on what is happening around the globe. It is important to see films by children, films by women, films by transgender persons and films by African American crews. It is important that everyone has a seat at “the table.” The festival’s nineteen blocks include “A Son Inherit and Other LGBTQ Stories From Near and Far,” “Her Body and Other Shorts By Female Filmmakers” and “Freedom Stories By Young Filmmakers,” which are short stories written by Mississippi youth about the civil rights era. The majority of blocks are short films or documentary, with some only three minutes in length. Baker stated, “The whole point of going to the movies to challenge myself with some new idea.” Film festivals are unique in that they can show short films. It’s hard to see a film that is nine minutes long at a regular theater. The festival is a platform to showcase amazing content that does not take more than an hour and forty minutes. It’s the best way that I have seen to give up-and-coming filmmakers an opportunity. Click here to see the lineup and find out more about Crossroads Film Festival.