Tonight at Filmland 2019: FREE SOLO on the CALS Ron Robinson screen

Free solo climbing is the most dangerous form of rock climbing. No ropes, no harness, no protective equipment.

The documentary FREE SOLO follows Alex Honnold’s free-solo ascent in 2017 of El Capitan in Yosemite as he becomes the first solo climber to do so. FREE SOLO won an Academy Award this year for Best Documentary Feature.

Q&A following the screening with producer Evan Hayes.

Evan Hayes won an Oscar for producing the film FREE SOLO. Evan was also the production executive on the hit TV show “Outlander”, and during his eleven years at Working Title Films he worked as a producer or executive on such films as EVEREST, LES MISERABLES,TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY, FROST/NIXON, A SERIOUS MAN, BURN AFTER READING, HOT FUZZ, and UNITED 93.

The screening starts at 6:30pm tonight (August 23) with doors to the CALS Ron Robinson Theater opening at 6:00pm.

Following the film, the after-party will take place at The Railyard from 9pm to midnight.

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Men & Women of Distinction: Mike Beebe will be shown by Arkansas Cinema Society tonight at CALS Ron Robinson Theater

Tonight the Arkansas Cinema Society is getting things started with a documentary about the 45th Governor of Arkansas, Mike Beebe.  

In 2010, a red tide swept Arkansas, flipping many federal and state offices to Republican control. But Democratic Governor Mike Beebe not only won re-election, he carried all 75 counties in Arkansas, an unprecedented feat. How did he do that?

Watch AETN: Men & Women of Distinction’s biography of Governor Mike Beebe.  In this uplifting one-hour documentary, commissioned in 2015 and directed by Kathryn Tucker, the former Governor reflects on his 32 years in elected office, with added perspectives from his wife Ginger, former Governor’s Chief of Staff – Morril Harriman, former Governor’s Director of Communications – Matt DeCample, columnist – John Brummett,  ASU fraternity brother & longtime friend – Johnny Allison, and former Attorney General’s Chief of Staff – Colette Honorable.

Matt DeCample, who served on Governor Beebe’s staff was instrumental in working with the Arkansas Cinema Society during its first two years. Today (August 21) is Matt’s birthday. Though he died earlier this year after a valiant battle with cancer, Matt’s presence continues with the Arkansas Cinema Society (not just through his appearance in this film). A special tribute to Matt will also be part of the program.

The program is at the CALS Ron Robinson Theatre.  Doors open at 5:00pm with the screening starting at 6:30pm.

RESERVE TICKETS here.

Make plans now to attend Arkansas Cinema Society’s FILMLAND 2019

Image result for arkansas cinema societyIndividual tickets are now on sale for events during the Arkansas Cinema Society’s Filmland.  The films will be shown at the CALS Ron Robinson Theater.

The 2019 edition kicks off with a special premiere screening on Wednesday, August 21.  As part of the AETN’s Men and Women of Distinction series, there will be a premiere of Gov. Mike Beebe.  Doors open at 5pm for a 6:30pm screening.  The after-party will be in Sonny Williams’ Steak Room.

On August 22, Filmland’s curated programming officially gets underway with Troop Zero, which stars Viola Davis, McKenna Grace, Jim Gaffigan, and Allison Janney.  Before the film, “Ensemble” and “Justitia” two short films from the ACS Filmmaking Lab for Teen Girls will be screened.  After the film, there will be a Q&A moderated by ACS founder Jeff Nichols with writer Lucy Alibar and director BERT.  Doors open at 5:30pm for a 6:00pm screening.  The after-party will be at Buenos Aires Grill.

Academy Award winning documentary Free Solo takes the screen on Friday, August 23.  After the film, there will be a discussion between ACS Baord Member Jayme Lemons and Oscar winning producer Evan Hayes.  The after-party will be at The Rail Yard.

Based on the memoirs of Arkansan Garrard Conley, Boy Erased will be shown on Saturday, August 24.  The film stars Nicole Kidman, Lucas Hedges and Russell Crowe.  Doors open at 5:30pm with the screening starting at 6:00pm.  Following the movie, there will be a Q&A between Jeff Nichols and the film’s director Joel Edgerton.  The after-party will be at The Rev Room.

On Sunday afternoon, August 25, Toy Story 4 will be shown. Featuring the voices of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts, Tony Hale, and others.  Doors open at 2:00pm with the screening starting at 2:30pm.  After the film, there will be a Q&A between Jeff Nichols and the film’s co-writer Andrew Stanton.

Stanton returns that evening for a screening of two episodes from Season 2 of “Stranger Things.”  Chapters 5 and 6 will be shown.  Doors open at 5:30pm and the showing starts at 6pm. There will be another Q&A between Nichols and Stanton following the episodes.  The after-party will be at Lost Forty.

The schedule for the ACS Filmland Arkansas Program has not yet been announced.  So stay tuned…..

While individual tickets are available (and on-sale now) many of the events sell-out.  A Filmland pass is the best way to guarantee access to events.  They are only $250 through August 17.

LR Movies Monday: THE STORY OF DR. WASSELL and MACARTHUR

With the Arkansas Cinema Society’s FILMLAND 2019 later this month (August 21 to 25), Mondays in August will feature movies with Little Rock connections.  Today’s films are both about World War II military heroes and both had their world premieres in Little Rock.

One was released during World War II and starred Gary Cooper as Dr. Corydon Wassell. The other was released in the 1970s and starred Gregory Peck as General Douglas MacArthur.

Dr. WassellBorn in Little Rock on July 4, 1884, Corydon McAlmont Wassell (called “Cory”) was born to Albert and Leona Wassell. A grandson of Little Rock Mayor John Wassell, he graduated from what is now UAMS in 1909. In 1911, he married Mary Irene Yarnell, with whom he would have four children.  In 1914, the couple volunteered to be Episcopal missionaries in China.  He served there until 1927. Following Mary’s death and his remarriage, he and new wife Madeline Edith Day Wassell returned to Arkansas in 1927.

Dr. Wassell resumed his medical practice. Given his experience with malaria in China, he proved to be an asset fighting malaria among Civilian Conservation Corps members in Arkansas. He was subsequently called to active duty in the Navy in 1936 and stationed in Key West.

After the outbreak of World War II, he was stationed in Indonesia. In early 1942, he refused to abandon his patients after the Japanese started invading Indonesia. Instead, he was able to evacuate a dozen severely wounded men over 150 miles to get to a ship. It took ten days for the ship to get to Australia, during which time it was attacked numerous times.  His official Navy Cross citation notes that he disregarded personal safety while caring for others.

He became an instant international hero. During the early days of the war, his heroism was one of the few bright spots.  President Roosevelt praised him in a fireside chat. James Hilton wrote of Dr. Wassell in a book which was then adapted by Cecil B. DeMille into the 1944 movie starring Cooper.  Originally Arkansan Alan Ladd was wanted to play Cooper’s sidekick, but Ladd was pressed into military service and unavailable.

From April 24 to 26, 1944, Cecil B. DeMille was in Little Rock for the world premiere screening of The Story of Dr. Wassell. Little Rock rolled out the red carpet (literally and figuratively) for DeMille and a contingency from Hollywood.  Dr. and Mrs. Wassell also returned to Little Rock for the festivities.  Unfortunately, Gary Cooper (who played Wassell in the film) was unable to attend due to illness.  His costar, Laraine Day, was making another film and could not attend either.    Those in attendance with DeMille (and Mrs. DeMille) included actresses Signe Hasso and Carol Thurston, and actor Melvin Francis.  The latter played himself; he had actually been one of the sailors saved by Dr. Wassell.

Sold-out screenings of the movie took place at the Capitol and Arkansas Theatres. On April 27, 1944, a regular run of the movie started at the Capitol Theatre.  It would be released nationally on July 4, 1944, which also happened to be Dr. Wassell’s birthday.

Thirty-three years after The Story of Dr. Wassell was released, MacArthur was brought to the screen by Universal Pictures.  It was their attempt to capitalize on the success of the movie Patton, including sharing some of the same members of the production team.

macarthur-gregory-peck-1977-everettTold entirely in flashback, it stars Gregory Peck as the fabled World War II general who was born in Little Rock. It focuses primarily on events in 1942 during the war, his dismissal by Truman in 1952, and his famous address to West Point in 1962.

Peck initially did not care for the subject or the script, but eventually stated that he grew to admire the challenges MacArthur faced.  Peck later called it one of his favorites roles, if not one of his favorite movies.

Producer Frank McCarthy, who worked on both Patton and MacArthur once said of Patton and MacArthur: “Both were complex men but General MacArthur was complex on a much broader scale. Patton had no ambition except to be a soldier and to command a field army. He was strictly command.”

Most of the film was shot on the backlot at the movie studio, which impacted the quality of the film.  The production budget simply would not allow for overseas location filming.

The film was released in July 1977.  One of the premieres was held in Little Rock. Peck attended a reception in the Arsenal Building where MacArthur was born. Now the home to the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History, in 1977 the building still housed the Museum of Science and Natural History (now the Museum of Discovery).  Since MacArthur only spent a few hours in Little Rock as an adult, it is possible that Peck spent more time in the building than the General did.

The evening of August 5, 1977, started with an exclusive reception for 100 people with Gregory and Veronique Peck.  The movie itself was shown at the Cinema 150, where its general run would start on Saturday, August 6.  Following the film, a reception and silent auction brought people back to the museum.  Tickets ran $250 a person for all events, $100 a person for the film and post-show reception, and $25 for the movie.  It sold out.

Governor and Mrs. David Pryor escorted the Pecks into the theatre.  Former Governor (and World War II hero) Sid McMath introduced Mr. Peck to the crowd.  He extolled the virtues of Peck and MacArthur.  (It is interesting that he should admire MacArthur so much, since the General and President Truman had a well-publicized tiff, and McMath and Truman had enjoyed a warm relationship.)  Little Rock City Director Jim Dailey presented Peck with a Key to the City.

Volunteers sought for Arkansas Cinema Society’s Filmland

Image result for arkansas cinema society

Filmland is August 22-25, and the Arkansas Cinema Society need your help! They cannot put on a film festival like this without the help of volunteers.

The benefits of volunteering at Filmland:
-Receive a complimentary ticket to the screening and its after party
-Students can have volunteer hours verified for honor societies and school credit
-Have the opportunity to meet local and national filmmakers
-Work with an exciting, diverse team who loves film
-Experience behind the scenes of an ACS event

To sign up, click the link.

#Filmland2019 #ArkCin #VolunteerACS #WatchLearnMake

FILMLAND to feature Andrew Stanton of TOY STORY 4 and “Stranger Things”

Two-time Academy Award winner Andrew Stanton is bringing Toy Story 4 to FILMLAND!

He also directed episodes of the hit Netflix show Stranger Things and will screen Episodes 4 & 5 of Season 2 as well.

Tickets are not yet on sale for individual screenings, but if you want to have the first opportunity to reserve a seat, you can purchase a FILMLAND Pass.

Oscar-winning filmmaker Andrew Stanton was raised in Rockport, Massachusetts. He was educated at The California Institute of the Arts (or “CalArts”) in Los Angeles, where he studied character animation. After graduation, Stanton began working as a writer on the TV series Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures (1987). In 1990, he became only the second animator and ninth employee to join Pixar Animation Studios.

Stanton went on to help establish Pixar as one of the world’s leading animation studios. He was designer and writer on Toy Story (1995), for which he was nominated for an Oscar. He went on to write and direct such worldwide hits as A Bug’s Life (1998), Finding Nemo (2003) and WALL·E (2008), the latter two both winning Oscars for Best Animated Feature. Stanton also dabbles in voice work, perhaps most memorably as Crush, the laid back turtle, in Finding Nemo (2003).