Mary Blessey is a documentary filmmaker and media producer with a passion for using media to educate and influence positive social change. She is committed to complex and honest storytelling about the American South and her home state of Mississippi.
Mary was born and raised on the Gulf Coast in Biloxi, Miss. She attended Millsaps College in Jackson, Miss., where she earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy with minors in history and religious studies. She completed an M.A. in Southern Studies and an M.F.A in Documentary Expression from the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Miss. Her multi-media and interdisciplinary work at the CSSC focused on documentary studies and oral-history work within a curriculum of regional culture studies investigating and deconstructing the history and culture of the American south.
While in graduate school, Mary was awarded an “Innovation Fellowship” with the McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement. This collaboration brought her to Tallahatchie County in the Mississippi Delta, where she worked at the Emmett Till Interpretive Center in Sumner, Miss., and the Tutwiler Community Education Center in Tutwiler, Miss. Mary has been committed to grassroots activism and civic engagement and has participated in political organizing and canvassing in Lafayette and Hinds Counties.
In 2017, Mary founded Holley Street Media LLC, a film and video production company based in Biloxi, Miss., and New Orleans, La. She recently produced and directed the feature-length historical documentary film “You Asked For The Facts: Bobby Kennedy at the University of Mississippi,” which premiered its first advance screening at the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in December 2019 and has been chosen as an official selection at the March On Washington Film Festival, The Montclair Film Festival, The Oxford Film Festival, and several others.
Mary is excited to join the Advisory Board of the Mississippi Free Press and supports its commitment to meaningful, solutions-focused journalism in Mississippi.