Full 2021 Filmland Program Announced

In just over a week, the Arkansas Cinema Society will take place in MacArthur Park and virtually from September 30th to October 3rd. Today, the Arkansas Cinema Society announced the full Filmland program. Tickets are currently on sale for members and sponsors of ACS, with general public tickets going on sale this Friday at 9 AM Central Standard Time. Anyone attending the physical edition of Filmland, entitled Filmland in the Park, needs to be fully vaccinated and be able to show proof in the form of an official vaccination card, digital card, or photo of your vaccination card OR present a NEGATIVE PCR, LAMP, or Antigen Covid-19 test within the last 48 hours and wear masks when social distancing is not possible.

Each screening will be followed by an in-depth Q&A conversation with the filmmakers led by ACS board members Jeff Nichols, Jayme Lemons, and/or Evan Hayes. Filmland 2021 will also offer a virtual component with Filmland: Arkansas and select feature films and Q+As available online throughout the week of the festival in the digital edition of Filmland 2021, entitled Filmland Digital Experience.

New this year, ACS is launching workshops open to adults and children and led by ACS board members, local filmmakers, and industry professionals. Topics will include directing, producing, screenwriting, and an inside look at life on a film set.

ACS hopes that “by bringing A-list film talent to Arkansas more Arkansans will be inspired to consider a career in film as a tangible and practical reality. Hollywood is changing and is in need of a new generation of diverse, undiscovered, unheard voices. There is so much untapped talent in Arkansas, and ACS is on a mission to find them and give them the tools and connections they need to succeed.”

Filmland in the Park

On Thursday, September 30th, Becoming Cousteau, the documentary about the life of Jacques Cousteau, will open the festival on the MacArthur Lawn, with a virtual Q&A with the producer Evan Hayes and Jeff Nichols.

On Friday, October 1st, Filmland will screen Halloween (2018) two weeks before Halloween Kills premieres in theaters and on Peacock. After the screening, there will be a virtual Q&A with writer/director David Gordon Green and Jeff Nichols.

On Saturday, October 2nd, the highly anticipated The Eyes of Tammy Faye will screen at Filmland with a live Q&A with actor/producer Jessica Chastain and Jeff Nichols.

On Sunday, October 3rd, the awards-hopeful story of an Iranian-American trying to repay his debts, A Hero, will screen at Filmland with a virtual Q&A with writer/director Asghar Farhadi and Jeff Nichols.

In addition to films, Filmland offers many workshops for the public and filmmakers to attend during the duration of Filmland. All workshops will take place at the MacArthur Park Parade Grounds at 601 E 9th Street in Little Rock, Arkansas, and last an hour each.

Filmland Workshops & Panel Discussions

The workshops being offered on October 2nd are as follows:

  • Building a Scene (and Hopefully, Eventually, a Screenplay), (Grades 6-8)
    • In this writing-for-film workshop for Middle School students, Graham Gordy (writer for Quarry, True Detective, and Rectify, among many others) will walk through how to develop a story idea and to write a scene. Students will have the opportunity to work one-on-one with a mentor, participate in fun, hands-on activities, and will walk away with an ACS binder full of helpful tools they can utilize in the future.
  • Landing the Role
    • In this unique workshop, Casting Director, Yancey Prosser of The Agency Inc. will share inside secrets on how to improve an audition. For $40, participants can sign up to perform a 3 minute or less scene of their choice and receive direct feedback. For $20, participants can sit in the audience and get a back-stage pass to watching a casting director at work. Afterwards Yancey will lead a lecture on improving a taped audition, how to master the “throw away line” as a day player and be available for a Q+A. Actor, director & producer David Arquette will be stopping by during this workshop to offer his sage advice on acting for film.
  • Building a Scene (and Hopefully, Eventually, a Screenplay)
    • True Detective Season 3 co-writer Graham Gordy will teach participants how to take a story idea and begin building a script. This workshop will focus on the power of detail, the importance of show don’t tell, and guide participants through the basics of writing a scene for film and participate in an intimate Q + A. Participants will walk away having written a 3-5 page scene, and how this technique of scene creation leads to a full script for film.
  • Producing Secrets: Getting the Greenlight for Any Budget
    • Producers often wear many hats when getting a script to the big screen. During this panel discussion led by ACS co-founder and Executive Director Kathryn Francis Tucker, producer Christina McLarty Arquette, actor, producer, and director David Arquette, producer Jayme Lemons, and Emmy Award Winner Mario Troncoso will delve into their specific wheelhouse as they discuss how a producer’s role is different depending on genre and budget. Listen in as they discuss the different process for getting a TV show, indie film, documentary, or big-budge studio film greenlit.
  • Criminal Justice Reform Panel
    • A panel discussion on Criminal Justice Reform in our time between Little Rock Mayor Scott Jr., Executive Director of F.E.L.O.N. and Dream Corps Justice Organizer Ruby Welch, State Senator Clarke Tucker, and producer Christina McLarty Arquette and one of the Executive Producers of The First Step, led by Dr. Johanna Rahman. This panel is in conjunction with our screening of the film The First Step on Sunday October 10, 2021 at the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival. The First Step documentary, premiered at Tribeca Film Festival, and captures the personal journey of Black progressive activist and political commentator Van Jones during his effort to reform a broken criminal justice system. 

The workshops being offered on October 3rd are as follows:

  • Building a Scene (and Hopefully, Eventually, a Screenplay) (Grades 9-12
    • In this writing-for-film workshop for High School students, Graham Gordy will lead students through the basics of screenwriting workshop. Working with a one on one mentor, students will learn through engaging hands-on activities how to develop a story idea, write a scene and the basics of screenwriting format. Participants will walk away with an ACS binder full of helpful tools to guide them on their journey towards becoming the next award winning screenwriter.
  • The Art of the Pitch
    • During this workshop, Emmy Award Winning Filmmaker, and Director of Film and Media Ecosystems at CACHE Mario Troncoso will discuss how to take your project to the big screen. Using their original story idea participants will start the process of building a pitch deck to intrigue agents and production companies, followed by a Q+A.
  • Breaking Glass Ceilings: Arkansas Women in FIlm
    • These veteran Arkansas filmmakers join together to discuss the state of women in the film industry and how to break into the industry from Arkansas. The workship will constist of a conversation between producer Christina McLarty Arquette, director Jen Gerber, and writer, director, producer Kathryn Francis Tucker, led by Alison Williams, chief of staff to Governor Hutchinson. 
  • The KEYS to the FIlm Industry
    • Filmmaking is a collaborative visual art that isn’t possible without all of the individuals who work together to make a story come to life. During this speed dating style workshop, participants will have the opportunity to glean expert insight from professional filmmakers about their role on a film set. Learn from some of the most experienced and up-and-coming filmmakers in Arkansas, including Dave Calhoun, Kristy Pruitt, Nate Disarro, Dwight Chalmers, Brian Johnson, Paula Blanco, Hannah Whitney, and many more.
  • Filmland: Arkansas Audience Award Winners Q&A
    • Filmland: Arkansas Audience Award winners of the shorts blocks join Filmland for an exciting Q+A. These filmmakers will have an opportunity to discuss their process as filmmakers and what inspired them to create their short films.+A. These filmmakers will have an opportunity to discuss their process as filmmakers and what inspired them to create their short films.
  • The Craft of Cinematography
    • The collaborative relationship between a director and cinematographer is a critical component of every film. The workshop consists of a conversation between director Jeff Nichols and his cinematographer Adam Stone as they discuss their working relationship and their process of bringing a script to the screen.

Filmland Digital Experience

If you’re planning on attending Filmland virtually, here is the lineup:

  • Rap Squad
    • Rap Squad is an intimate verite documentary about student hip hop artists who seek healing for themselves and justice for their community through their music. In the Arkansas Delta, students Montae and Norman join an after school club – the Central Rap Squad – and begin writing music to cope with personal traumas. When their rural town prepares to vote on a proposal that would raise property taxes in order to build a new public high school, the young men shift their focus from inner healing to social action, using their music and platform to fight for a more equitable future.
  • 88.3 FM & The Voice of the People
    • Trump’s impending inauguration, the first Women’s March, tensions between local MLK event organizers, a disenfranchised community defiant against a takeover of public elementary schools, and the 80th birthday of a beloved local icon of broadcasting and Black history. Over one week, volunteer-operated radio station KABF looks on as Little Rock’s spirit of social justice is reanimated in the face of new local and national challenges in this no-budget, thoroughly Southern piece of direct cinema.
  • A Place Called Home
    • After losing his wife during the birth of his second child, Levi is thrust into raising two young girls, alone. However, when forced to borrow money from a ruthless loan shark, he must fight to save his family and the home his family was made it.
  • Beautiful People
    • For too long the way people view themselves has been influenced by who and what they see portrayed as beautiful. This is a story about the ways people and organizations in the state of Arkansas are redefining beauty and contributing to breaking stigmas of fashion. The film follows Arkansas designers, creative directors, models, apparel merchandising experts and professors in their efforts to help break the stigma of the thin ideal from an area of the country that most would not think of as being diverse and inclusive. This film is really about a place, that most would likely assume is far behind when it comes to being diversly progressive, defying its own negative stigmas.
  • THE LIGHTS ARE CLOSED AND MY EYES ARE DARK
    • A story about people in love, drugs, paranoia, and how life works out in funny ways. Henry, a helpless drug dealer weaves through dark streets and the memories of his past while the acid he sold to a friend ends up dismantling Rocco and company into a hellish non-linear trip.
  • Filmland: Arkansas Shorts Block 1
    • I Have No Desire to Suffer, In Reality, Or in Retrospect
      • Taylor, a recent high school graduate, ponders with a new friend, memories of his seductive teacher.
  • A Violent Storm
    • A hero returns to face an old enemy.
  • Shattered Dreams
    • A young artist is transformed into her child self and plunged into the world of her creations when overwhelmed by the isolation and stress of the outside world. A college-aged young lady known as The Artist is plagued by thoughts and images of the pandemic, police brutality, and burning rain forests as she creates music, poetry, and art under the isolation of her apartment. Her frustration builds as she constructs her diorama of a rainforest. As a result, she is plunged into a portal and wakes up in a life-sized version of her art work in the form of her child self. As she plays and explores, she discovers her shadow who tricks her into crawling into an egg-like cavern. There, she discovers a tiny Earth and disturbs it’s perfection when she tries to possess it. Chaos ensues and the artist returns to reality expressing her liberation through a spoken word poem.
  • Blood on the Risers
    • It is 1945 and many men & women have returned home from service during World War II. However, for some, the war is not over. This is where we find Charlie Evans, a paratrooper who jumped into Normandy on D-Day. After three years of being gone, he comes home to his wife, Afton, who has no idea about the burdens and trauma that Charles is bringing home with him. The film tells the story of his struggle to reconcile the trauma of war and his peaceful life at home.
  • Cortland
    • A year after a one-night stand, in this improvised drama, Skyler & John run into each other and discuss the happenings of their last years respectively. This time there’s a little less cute to their meet.
  • Filmland: Arkansas Shorts Block 2
    • BOSSBABES
      • A dark comedy about the cultish worlds of multi-level marketing schemes.¬†Lacey Anne was promised success, friends and the life of a¬†#bossbabe, through the multi level marketing company Cliff & Roe. What she got was boxes of unsellable product, loneliness and an empty bank account. Ready to reclaim her life Lacey decides to quit the company. Unfortunately leaving proves harder than simply sending an email. After weeks of failed attempts and repeated charges to her debit card, Lacey is out of options. She heads to the house of Laura Jane the ‚ÄúQueen Bee‚Äù of the company where a simple interaction turns heated. Lacey will do anything to get out of her contract, but this MLM will do anything to keep her in it.
  • Ms. Blue
    • On a humid New Orleans summer day, an elderly Ms. Blue sits on her porch waiting to be greeted by the charming Mr. Oscar.
  • The Wolf
    • A woman must face the ghost of her lost love while being hunted by something much darker.
  • Harvey & Sunshine
    • A couple struggles over their decision to bring a stranger into their relationship.
  • Nighthawks
    • An Arab immigrant appears to stalk a diner waitress after her late-night shift, but looks can be deceiving. In a few terrifying minutes, this film will toy with the assumptions and prejudices of our audience, ultimately leaving them with a challenging and perplexing answer to the age-old question, “Who is my neighbor?”
  • Patient Justice
    • Buried by medical debt, a terminal cancer patient becomes an assassin to provide for her sons and to provide justice to those forgotten by the courts.
  • Filmland: Arkansas Student Shorts
    • GALENDA.
      • A father and son take a trip to clean up the family cemetery, setting up for the future.
    • Father
      • A man under the influence experiences a series of strange encounters as he is haunted by three women of the past and present.
    • Salas De Piel
      • A capture of Chiapas, and a man caring for his girlfriend.
    • Jelly
      • In the midst of a pandemic, a young woman attempts to relearn a childhood instrument while courting a young man through Instagram DMs.
    • Baking
      • After leaving Puerto Rico with his grandfather, Gabriel struggles to find his true home.
    • One Of These Days
      • A lone man searches for his true love and a place to call home in the midst of a mysterious attack.
  • Filmland: Arkansas Doc Block
    • Once Forgotten
      • Reframing the story of three enslaved individuals lynched in Washington County (Arkansas) in 1856 as a local community undertake to restablish the truth of the events surrounding their lynching and honor their memory.
  • Digital Peruggias
    • RB McGrath is an American Painter from Jacksonville, Arkansas. One day in 2011, she made the discovery that one of her art pieces had was being advertised for sale from a foreign country. This documentary details her everyday life, alongside the evidence of art theft that shook her way of living.

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