Mary Knight receives Oxford Film Festival grant

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Filmmaker and University of Mississippi broadcast communications specialist, Mary Stanton Knight, received a $2,500 grant from the North Mississippi Hills Heritage Area Alliance and the use of Oxfilm equipment to produce her newest film which will premiere at the Oxford Film Festival.

Knight is a documentary filmmaker with 20 years of experience in videography and film production. Knight is also an Ole Miss alum who often showcases storytellers through her cinematic productions.

Knight’s newest film captures the life and experiences of Water Valley native, Hiram Hubert Creekmore. Creekmore was a novelist, poet, critic, editor, translator and photographer who was born into an affluent Southern family. Creekmore’s various artistic passions contradicted the typical conservative Southern values in which he was surrounded by as he grew up. Creekmore, similar to Knight, graduated from the University of Mississippi in 1927 and continued his studies at the University of Colorado and Yale University. Creekmore received a Master’s degree in American literature from Columbia University in 1940. After completing his education, Creekmore served in the Navy during World War II which inspired his earliest works of poetry.

Although a successful and educationally decorated man, Creekmore struggled through isolation and conflict while living in Mississippi as a closeted homosexual. Creekmore wrote many different pieces focusing on the themes of religious fundamentalism in white Mississippians, the discrimination faced by black Mississippians who suffered under the heavily enforced Jim Crow laws, and homosexuality and marriage in the Southern United States. Ultimately, Creekmore, Eudora Welty (Creekmore’s cousin by marriage), and their closest friends formed a small club known as “The Night-Blooming Cereus Club” whose purpose was to watch the cereus flowers bloom at night while discussing literature. The film focuses on Creekmore’s life as a closeted gay man in Mississippi and his connection to Eudora Welty.