Rock the Oscars 2019: Mary Steenburgen

It is Oscar month, so it is fitting to highlight at Arkansas’ own Academy Award winning actress, Mary Steenburgen on her birthday.  She was born on February 8, 1953, in Newport, Arkansas.  After moving to North Little Rock as a schoolgirl, she had her first starring role as Emily in the 1971 Northeast High School production of Our Town, which was the new school’s first play.

Her big break in the movies came when Oscar winner Jack Nicholson picked her to star opposite of him in Goin’ South.  This was followed by Time after Time before she appeared in Melvin and Howard.  For that film, she won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.  It also marked the first of three times she starred with Jason Robards (the other two being Parenthood and Philadelphia).  Over the years, her films have run the gamut from period piece (Ragtime, Cross Creek) to sophisticated comedy (Romantic Comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy) to fantasy (Back to the Future III) to holiday comedy (Elf).  She has been hard to pigeonhole into a specific “type” of actor because she has played so many different types of roles.

Throughout her career, Mary Steenburgen has been a champion of the arts in Central Arkansas.  In 1986, she starred in and was executive producer of End of the Line, filmed in Central Arkansas, directed and co-written by Arkansan Jay Russell, and also starring Kevin Bacon, Wilfred Brimley, Levon Helm, Barbara Barrie and Holly Hunter.  More recently, Steenburgen has also been an active supporter of the Oxford American magazine as well as South on Main restaurant and performance venue.

She has been an active supporter and a board member of the Arkansas Cinema Society.  During the 2018 FILMLAND she appeared in panel discussions on comedy and on her TV show “The Last Man on Earth.”

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Rock the Oscars 2019: Richard Linklater

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Arkansas Cinema Society’s Jeff Nichols (left) with 5 time Oscar nominee Richard Linklater at ACS’s 2018 FILMLAND opening night. (Photo from ACS)

The 2018 Arkansas Cinema Society FILMLAND kicked off with a screening of Richard Linklater’s THE NEWTON BOYS. 

Linklater, a multiple Oscar nominee, founded the Austin Film Society, which was one of the models for the creation of the Arkansas Cinema Society.  Following the screening of his film, he engaged in a conversation with filmmaker Jeff Nichols, who is a founder of the ACS.

Linklater is mostly known for his realistic and natural humanist films which revolve mainly around suburban culture and the effects of the passage of time. Some notable films of his include the observational comedy film Slacker, the coming-of-age comedy Dazed and Confused,” the romantic drama film trilogy Before SunriseBefore Sunset, & Before Midnight and the music-themed comedy School of Rock, as well as the rotoscope animated films Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly.

In 2002, he began filming “Boyhood,” a passion project which took over twelve years to complete. The film was released in 2014 to widespread critical acclaim. Linklater won the Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, and BAFTAs for Best Director and Best Picture.

Linklater was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay for 2004’s Before Sunset, 2013’s Before Midnight, and 2014’s Boyhood. He also picked up a Best Director and Best Picture nomination for the latter.

 

ANTIQUITIES plays Riverdale 10 Cinema January 25 to 31

One of the hits at the Arkansas Cinema Society’s August 2018 Filmland event was Arkansas made film Antiquities.

It has been picked up for distribution and will screen at the Riverdale 10 Cinema from January 25 to 31. Tickets can be purchased here.

After the first screening during Filmland sold out quickly, a second screening was added.  But there are many people who did not get to see it, or want to see it again.  Now is that chance!

After his father’s death, a young man – WALT (Andrew J. West) – moves to his dad’s hometown in order to learn more about who his father was. Walt decides to stay with his awkward aunt and her family, whose denial makes his search nearly impossible. He accepts a job in a local antique mall where his boss quickly offers him the possibility of a management position; however, a mean-spirited co-worker isn’t pleased by his new competition and proceeds to sabotage any chance Walt has. Walt then meets ELLIE (Ashley Greene), an eccentric and crude free spirit who still manages to be irresistibly charming. He finds himself completely enamored, though both are hesitant to pursue a relationship. Walt ends up not only finding out who his father really was, but learns more about himself than he ever thought possible.

The cast includes many Arkansas actors such as Mary Steenburgen, Graham Gordy, Jason Thompson, Alanna Hamill Newton, Jeff Bailey, Damon McKinnis, Joanne Riddick, the late Fran Austin, and a brief cameo by David Bazzel as well as Rett Tucker as a bingo caller.

Filmed in and around Arkansas, the movie was directed by Daniel Campbell from a screenplay by Campbell and Gordy.  Cinematography was by Gabe Mayhan.  The film was produced by Campbell, Gordy, David Jennis, Jayme Lemons, Gary Newton, Angela Prosser, and Kathryn Tucker.