Lights! Camera! Canton!

Some of your favorite movies were filmed in this Mississippi town. Come visit the sets.
Valerie Fraser Luesse

Chances are you’ve seen the sights of Canton, Mississippi--even if you’ve never been there. As the backdrop for such films as A Time to Kill; O Brother, Where Art Thou?; and My Dog Skip, Canton offers a cool travel experience for movie buffs.

Hollywood discovered the town, just a stone’s throw from Jackson, when a production designer chose it as the location for the film adaptation of John Grisham’s A Time to Kill in 1995. Other movies soon followed, not just because of Canton’s storybook town square, but also because of its welcoming attitude.

“We are becoming a little mecca, not just for shooting but also for living,” says Jo Ann Gordon, executive director of the Canton Convention and Visitors Bureau and Film Office. Give the Film Office a call to arrange a guided tour of the actual movie sets.

But you don’t have to be a pro to get a movie deal here. Each year, the Canton Young Filmmakers Institute gives kids a chance to produce their very own movies--scripting, costuming, directing, acting, shooting, and editing--using the town as their set. Productions from this innovative day camp get a special showing at the Crossroads Film Festival in Jackson.

Grown-ups, beware. If you visit Canton during camp week, you might get a brief gig as an extra. (To whom it may concern: Should The Clumsy Girl and the Ninja make it to the Oscars, this reporter would like credit for a truly inspired cameo appearance as Fortysomething Woman on Street.)

For more information on Canton and the Canton Young Filmmakers Institute, visit www.cantontourism.com, or call 1-800-844-3369.


"Lights! Camera! Canton!" is from the May 2008 issue of Southern Living. Because prices, dates, and other specifics are subject to change, please check all information to make sure it's still current before making your travel plans.