What You Should Know About Our New Film – Part One

So we have announced our next feature film, The Cornbread Cosa Nostra, a 1980s set crime thriller about the Dixie Mafia. Eventually, I will publish some of my diary tracking the process of this project but for now I wanted to share a few tidbits about what this movie is (and isn’t).

So what is the Dixie Mafia? You can dig deep into the history of the notorious crime organization on Wikipedia or watch various documentaries on YouTube. That’s where you’ll find the cold hard facts because you won’t get them from our film! Like our impressionistic crime tale Durant’s Never Closes, our new movie is a wild, fictionalized take on real events, not a docu-drama. This brings me to the first crumble:

All the Names Have Been Changed

I decided early on that I had no desire to use the real names of people involved with the Dixie Mafia cases. The primary reason: why drag these names through the mud any more than they already have? Most of the convicted criminals involved are no longer alive and what’s left are their families, many of whom still live on the coast where these events took place. The TV specials and books do enough damage to those people. I’m not interested in pointing fingers at anyone, living or dead. This isn’t an exposé; our film is more myth, a folk tale. 

Also, it’s more fun to create our own names! While writing, I played with these, sometimes paying homage to old crime films and other sources. Yes, most of the characters in the film are loosely based on real people but we are going to get wild with our interpretations. After I’ve handled these characters as a writer and director, the actors will transform them into something of their own. When we produced our first Mississippi film, Porches and Private Eyes, real-life Brookhaven residents were used as models for several roles but after the creative process, I don’t think a single one was able to recognize themselves on screen.

Originally I wanted to keep Vincent and Margaret Sherry’s names in tact to honor their deaths. This is after all the most known crime associated with the Dixie Mafia. However, after careful consideration, those will be changed as well to make this a unified piece.

Anyone who knows the real story of the Dixie Mafia may be able to recognize the players, but The Cornbread Cosa Nostra is a movie, not a newspaper article.

-Travis Mills