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.


Submissions open for Arkansas Cinema Society Filmland: Arkansas 2019

LogoThe Arkansas Cinema Society and its premiere event Filmland were created to build a film community in Arkansas where film lovers can watch films, share ideas, connect with each other and nurture the new and existing film talent within our state through increased exposure to filmmakers and their art.

Filmland returns this August to the CALS Ron Robinson Theater in downtown Little Rock, furthering ACS’s mission to promote local filmmakers with Filmland: Arkansas. Information and details on how to submit to Filmland: Arkansas can be found in the specific short film and feature film categories.

The past two years have included Academy Award nominated actor Adam Driver, five-time Oscar nominated Director Richard Linklater, Director David Lowery, Producers Fred Berger and Brian Kavanaugh-Jones, Actors David Arquette, WIll Forte and Ted Danson and Oscar winner and ACS board member Mary Steenburgen. Screenings also feature Q&A’s moderated by ACS Founder and Director Jeff Nichols and every night is topped off with a party for filmmakers and attendees.

Filmland 2019 will take place the weekend of August 23rd. The exact dates, events and other details will be announced once special guests are finalized.

ACS Filmland is a non-competitive, curated event but there will be an audience award for the Filmland: Arkansas program.

Submissions are for Arkansas filmmakers who either made their film in Arkansas or for an Arkansas Filmmaker who is an Arkansas producer, director, or writer of a film. Films may also be considered if an Arkansas native was the lead or key role as an Actor, Supporting Actor, Production Designer, Costume Designer, Sound Designer, Composer, Editor, Cinematographer, Animator, Visual Effects, Makeup and Hair or First Assistant Director. The Arkansas filmmaker(s) must be available to attend the screening for a conversation after the film.

More information (including a link to submission) can be found here.

Rock the Oscars 2019: BlacKkKlansman

The Oscars are tonight.  One of the films nominated for Best Picture is BlacKkKlansman by Spike Lee.  Though previously nominated for Best Screenplay (Do the Right Thing) and Docmentary (4 Little Girls), this is the first time Lee has been nominated for producing a Best Picture nominee and for Best Director.

There are at least three Little Rock connections to the film.  First, it opens with vintage news footage of members of the Little Rock Nine being escorted into Central High in September 1957 (even though the film erroneously says August 25, 1957).

Second, Adam Driver stars in the film, and has earned a Best Supporting Actor nomination.  His father now lives in Little Rock. Driver also participated in the 2017 Arkansas Cinema Society’s “Premiere” event. Following a screening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Driver and ACS founder Jeff Nichols took part in a discussion.

Third, Little Rock native and Hendrix College alum Ashlie Atkinson appears in the movie. She is also a former intern at Arkansas Times.

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.


Rock the Oscars: Kathryn Tucker and the Arkansas Cinema Society

Filmmaker Kathryn Tucker returned to her native Little Rock a few years ago after spending time in New York (four years) and Los Angeles (six years). In NYC, she worked for Miramax Films. She left Miramax to help make an independent film (Loggerheads) in North Carolina that was accepted at Sundance. She then moved the LA for 6 years and became of member of the Director’s Guild of America (DGA).

During that time she worked with a wide range of movie stars, including Oscar winners Nicole Kidman, Al Pacino, Morgan Freeman, Sean Penn, Michael Arndt, and Melissa Leo as well Oscar nominees Tom Cruise, Ryan Gosling and Josh Brolin.

She returned to Little Rock (where she was a 1996 graduate of LR Central High) and has produced an award winning short (“One Please”) and a feature (All the Birds Have Flown South) written by the Miller brothers.

In 2017, she and her fellow Central High alum Jeff Nichols announced the creation of the Arkansas Cinema Society.  It launched with a four day Premiere in August which has been followed by screenings and workshops in subsequent months.  In February 2018, it will launch the Homegrown Film Series to give Arkansas filmmakers a venue and a voice in their communities.

Arkansas connections among 2017 Writers Guild Awards nominees

wgaCourtesy of Skip Rutherford comes news that the Writers Guild Award nominees include two with Arkansas connections.

The first is that Little Rock native Jeff Nichols scored a nomination in the Original Screenplay category for LOVING.  (If it is nominated for an Oscar, it would be in the Adapted Screenplay category — because the Oscars don’t always have the same rules as other awards.)

The second is that Command and Control is nominated for Documentary Screenplay.  This film depicts that Titan II silo explosion at Damascus.  It features a telescript by Robert Kenner and Eric Schlosser, story by Brian Pearle and Kim Roberts. Based on the book Command and Control by Eric Schlosser;

Arkansas Heritage Month – Cannes Critics Loving Jeff Nichols’ LOVING Film

NicholsThe early reviews are starting to come in from the Cannes screening of Little Rock native (and Central High grad) Jeff Nichols’ latest opus LOVING.

The film screened on Monday in Cannes.  Oscar buzz has already started for the film, Nichols and his performers.

Here is what some of the critics had to say:

Vox says that the film’s: “subdued tone delivers a wealth of emotions in the film’s final minutes.”  It also declares “Loving is a period piece that feels eerily relevant today.”

IndieWire notes:

“In an impressive body of work accumulated over the past 10 years, Jeff Nichols has emerged as a skilled filmmaker who relishes in the poetry of Southern life. It was only a matter of time of time before he explored its history. With “Loving,” the director moves from the combination of otherworldly lyricism and genre storytelling in “Take Shelter,” “Mud” and “Midnight Special” toward more conventional drama — namely, the backstory of Loving v. Virginia, the 1967 Civil Rights case that overturned laws against interracial marriage. — by exploring the intimate details behind its legacy.”

And also credits “Nichols’ elegant screenplay, which pares down the events so that the emphasis is taken off the legal proceedings and avoids any overdone speechifying.”

loving-teaser-posterVariety calls the movie “a film of utmost sensitivity” and declares, “Though it will inevitably factor heavily in year-end Oscar conversations, Nichols’ film is seemingly less interested in its own glory than in representing what’s right.”

The Hollywood Reporter opines: “writer-director Jeff Nichols takes an appealingly low-key approach to an important American civil rights story in Loving.”  It also praises his “way of underplaying racism, even as he firmly notes its constant presence in daily life and makes it the overriding subject of his film, is refreshing as well as rare in the realm of socially conscious cinema,indicating a respect for his audience’s intelligence and a desire not to hit viewers over the head.”

THR concludes its review by stating “Nichols has delivered a timely drama that, unlike most films of its type, doesn’t want to clobber you with its importance. It just tells its story in a modest, even discreet way that well suits the nature of its principal characters.”

The Daily Beast notes “An anguished, but low-key, meditation on race—American’s ongoing obsession—Loving is the most high-minded sort of Oscar bait.”

In The Telegraph, Robbie Collins declares that Nichols “calmly dodges every expectation you have for the genre. Loving is short on grandstanding and hindsight, long on tenderness and honour, and sticks carefully to the historical record.”  He also says that, “The film’s determination not to overcook any single scene means the tears it eventually draws feel honestly come by.”

While Cannes tries to focus on art and not awards or commercialism, the positive early reviews for Loving, coupled with Focus Features’ November release date, should poise the film for awards season in late 2016 and early 2017. More importantly, this will continue to raise the profile of Jeff Nichols, who continues to make Little Rock proud.