Mercedes Ricks is a pro-Trump, pro-wall, anti-immigration, anti-gay marriage, lesbian, once-“illegal” Colombian business owner in Magnolia, Mississippi. Each despite and due to her contradictory beliefs, Mercedes is offering one of America’s poorest towns a sense of hope and belonging.
Mississippi Mercedes is a feature-length documentary film profiling Mercedes and following the difference she’s making at her restaurant, La Mariposa. As she each spouts off-putting political views and fosters a sense of belonging for the area’s “misfits," Mercedes creates job opportunity and economic mobility at La Mariposa. To bring more opportunity to little Magnolia, Mercedes dreams up a new enterprise: a La Mariposa food truck traveling across the area selling her famous Cajun, Colombian fried green tomatoes. This calls for La Mariposa employees to step it up and show new efforts in responsibility and ambition. But, with the challenges that trademark rural poverty, Mercedes and her employees struggle to move the business forward. Will the new undertaking be a success, and if so, what will that mean for Magnolia, La Mariposa employees, and even the controversial -- and ever-imaginative -- Mercedes? If the dying town of Magnolia and the La Mariposa band of misfits can sustain Mercedes' business dreams, Mercedes can then maintain her safe haven for those who need a place to belong.
WHY TELL THIS STORY
This story about belonging and acceptance is a positive Mississippi narrative that turns stereotypes on their heads. In a time of political fragmentation, this story not only illuminates perspectives from each side of the aisle -- it also shows what it takes for people with differing beliefs to share a meal... and a hope. Mississippi Mercedes brings national debates into one space and shows what it takes to work together with differences in mind, as well as examines rural poverty and the issues preventing progress.
$100 - Your name listed in the film credits
$250 - Blu-Ray DVD of film, your name listed in the film credits
$500 - Film poster, Blu-Ray DVD of film, your name listed in the film credits
$1,000 - A free order of the famous “Cajun, Colombian” fried green tomatoes (must pick up in person!), film poster, Blu-Ray DVD of film, your name listed in the film credits
(photograph above by Katya Korableva of Mississippi Heard )
ABOUT THE FILM + FILMMAKERS
This film has been in production since September 2017 and is directed and filmed by Hanna Miller of Collins, Mississippi. Producers Kim Este-Campbell (Lake Dixie Springs, MS + New Orleans, LA) and Nicholas Price (Birmingham, AL) joined the production in October 2018, as did editor Michael Goodier (Oakland, CA). Videographers Isara Krieger (Oakland, CA + Boston, MA) and Luisa Conlon (Los Angeles, CA + New York, NY) also offer additional camera work.
Thus far, the film has received support from the Mississippi Film Alliance, Marguerite Casey Foundation’s Equal Voices in Journalism Fellowship, Mississippi Arts Commission, and Pike School of Art.
For more work from film director Hanna Miller, visit New York Times Op-Docs , Independent Lens , and the Atlantic .
ABOUT THIS FUNDRAISER
This tax-deductible fundraiser supported by the Mississippi Film Alliance is to gain support to continue the production of this film throughout 2019, as Mercedes takes the food truck across Mississippi, continues creating new job opportunities, and sustains La Mariposa as the “Cheers of the South.”
Funds will help buy camera and production gear, as well as compensate the film crew for their hard work!
This comical but heartfelt film confronts disparity and focuses on a nuanced, positive story that contradicts preconceived notions of political views, small/rural places, and poverty. Mississippi Mercedes has the potential to impact any audience struggling with belonging and acceptance -- each in small and limited places or within a broader political discussion. It also has the potential to impact discussions regarding rural poverty and the resources small towns need to survive.