MSA Students Take Top Awards at Film Festival

Photo: (L-R) Alison Brown, Thomas Hart, Nicolas Pace, Zachary Rast, and Clinton Hart

Media Arts/filmmaking students at the Mississippi School of the Arts (MSA) have accomplished a lot within the short time of the program’s opening. This year, the program will graduate its first class of seniors. Award-winning can also be tagged to the class.

Senior film students recently submitted short films to the 2018 Mississippi High School Film Competition, a part of the Tupelo Film Festival. Over 30 films were submitted statewide for the cash prize-winning competition. On Saturday, April 21st, a group of students and staff traveled to Tupelo, Mississippi to compete in the competition for the first time. After a morning and short afternoon watching two blocks of films, the awards were announced.

Professional filmmakers abroad saw the raw talent of the submissions from filmmakers Thomas Hart, Clinton Hart, Zachary Rast, Nicolas Pace, and Alison Brown. They were recognized as finalists among numerous competition participants. Winners in the placed categories received cash prizes, with half of the prize to be attributed to the school.

Zachary Rast, of Wesson, won First Place. Zach received a $600.00 prize, as well as a $16,000.00 scholarship to Watkins College of Art and Design & Film in Nashville, TN.

Nicolas Pace, of Waveland, won Second Place. Nicolas received a $300.00 prize.

Thomas Hart, of Wesson, won Third Place. Thomas received a $100.00 prize.

Clinton Hart, of Wesson, received finalist runner-up.

Alison Brown, of Florence, received finalist runner-up.

Awards received by these MSA students render a first-hand example of the quality of programming taking place at the Mississippi School of the Arts. MSA goes beyond the traditional classroom experience and provides students with master-level film and cinema instruction by writing scripts, setting up scenes, and filming shots on location. Students use industry standard hardware and software in their filmmaking.

The Mississippi School of the Arts (MSA) will be holding additional auditions for the Dance and Media Arts/Filmmaking Departments only on May 30, 2018. Applications are due by May 18, 2018. The process for admission includes application, audition and interview. Accepted students attend their Junior and Senior years of high school at MSA. If you know of students currently in the 10th grade who might be interested in dance or filmmaking, please let them know about this one-time opportunity. Applications are available on our website,

MSA is a public statewide eleventh and twelfth grade residential high school located in Brookhaven, MS on the Historic Whitworth College campus. Annually, MSA enrolls approximately 145 students who meet and exceed the traditional Mississippi high school curriculum by receiving intensive instruction in dance, literary arts, theatre, visual arts, vocal music and media arts/filmmaking. The graduating class of 2017, 55 Seniors, received $10.2 million in college scholarship offers and MSA has the #3 ACT average in the state. Students interested in MSA apply their sophomore year. Qualified students attend an onsite audition process.

Applications are available online Application deadline is May 18, 2018. For more information, call 601-823-1300 or e-mail