“Guilty As Charged” set to screen at Oxford Conference for the Book

Written by Brian Powers

Filmmaker Tom Thurman will screen and discuss his documentary, “Harry Crews: Guilty as Charged” during the Oxford Conference for the Book, Thursday, March 30 at 8 p.m on the University of Mississippi campus in Lamar Hall, room 129.

The 1993 film, “Harry Crews: Guilty as Charged” features interviews with the eccentric chronicler of the roughneck South and some of his contemporaries. The film includes an intimate conversation with Crews, who was open about the drinking and drug problems that plagued him for three decades. The interview takes place in Bacon County, Georgia, where Crews credits his troubled upbringing and the southern accent it brought with it for being an inspiration for his writing.

Thurman will also hold a joint session with Ted Geltner, author of “Blood, Bone, and Marrow: A Biography of Harry Crews,” Thursday at 9:30 a.m. in the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics.

Thurman, a producer and writer for Kentucky Educational Television, has directed 36 documentaries on music, film, and literary stars like Hunter S. Thompson, Nick Nolte, and Sam Peckinpah.

“‘Guilty as Charged’ was only the second documentary I made, out of 36, now,” Thurman said. “‘Guilty as Charged’ was made with very little time, very little money, and very little experience. It’s one of my favorites due to its primacy, which I think makes the film work.”

Crews, who died in 2012, made the film easy to make with his openness. Thurman said, “From the first time I turned on the camera, I knew I had a show.”

The Lexington, Kentucky filmmaker is excited to return to Oxford, which he frequents as much as possible.

“I was there a few months ago, and am very much looking forward to coming back and bringing the show to Oxford,” Thurman said. “It’s one of my favorite place to visit, and has one of the best bookstores (Square Books) in the world.”

The Twenty-Fourth Oxford Conference for the Book takes place Wednesday, March 29- Friday, March 31 at the University of Mississippi and is presented by the Center for the Study of Southern Culture and Square Books. The conference is free and open to the public. For more information about the conference and the schedule of speakers, visit oxfordconferenceforthebook.com.