Filmmaker to host BARL celebrity dinner

Published 10:17 pm Friday, August 24, 2018

Travis Mills and his dog, Bandit, are best friends.

The filmmaker and the rescue dog live together, travel the country together and even work together. The 10-year-old Boykin spaniel is an actor in Mills’ “Cornbread Cosa Nostra” playing an FBI agent’s dog.

“He’s got several scenes. He does some acting in it,” he said. “We’re best buds, we’re a lot alike. We even look alike, some people say, which I take as a compliment because I think he’s pretty handsome.”

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Mills will be the guest “celebrity” at the Brookhaven Animal Rescue League’s 15th annual celebrity dinner and auction, where he’ll talk about Bandit and their adventures together and his career highlights as a filmmaker.

The event is set for Oct. 23 at the Lincoln Civic Center. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m., with the event starting at 6 p.m. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased from BARL volunteer Julie Montalvo at 601-757-1057.

Hometown celebrities consisting of community leaders and business people will serve as waiters.  

“Our celebrity waiters really go all out with their costumes and table decorations. It’s always a fun night,” said BARL board member Rusty Adcock.

Mills, who lives in Brookhaven, was thrilled that BARL volunteers asked him to be the guest of honor at the event.

“I don’t consider myself a celebrity by any means, but I was honored,” he said. “I had to remind them that I’m not a celebrity, that they needed to make sure they’ve got the right person for the job.”

Mills was born in Ecuador to missionary parents; however, he has ties to Brookhaven through his grandparents, the late Donald and Carolyn Patterson.

Trough his production company, Running Wild Films, Mills has produced full-length movies and many short projects. In Brookhaven, he made “Porches and Private Eyes,” a comedy with a murder mystery plot, and he’s already auditioned actors for the sequel, “If These Porches Could Talk,” which will be shot in Brookhaven.

The evening will include dinner, a silent auction and a live auction. This year’s live auction will feature a reproduction of a bronze statue by Frederic Remington called “The Cowboy.” Early bids on the “The Cowboy” may be placed by email at before Oct. 22. 

The piece was donated by Bruce Fairburn, a detective with the Walthall County Sheriff’s Office. Fairburn, a former Brookhaven resident, is a regular volunteer who helps with security at the yearly dinner. The 85-pound piece was a gift to him years ago by a family member.

He’s a big supporter of BARL and believes the non-profit organization has done a good job with limited funds.

“I wish I could do more for them,” he said. “They do a wonderful job.”

 BARL’s mission is to humanely care for shelter animals while contributing to community activities that reduce pet overpopulation, encourage responsible pet ownership, protect public health and safety, and promote the human-animal bond.

BARL is a volunteer-based, limited-admission animal welfare organization serving Copiah, Franklin and Lincoln counties. BARL provides food, shelter and veterinary services for homeless animals until they are adopted. All BARL animals are vaccinated and spayed/neutered. Dogs are also micro-chipped.

Anyone interested in adopting, contributing or volunteering should contact BARL at 601-757-4367 or Donations are tax deductible and may be mailed to BARL, P.O. Box 3477, Brookhaven, MS  39603.

A few of BARL’s adoptable animals may be viewed online at or on their Facebook page.