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.

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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.

 

Arkansas Heritage Month – Little Rock’s Jeff Nichols at Cannes

NicholsLittle Rock native Jeff Nichols’ latest film, Loving, premieres at Cannes today. The film showed at 8:30 am and 11:30 am Cannes time. (That would be at 1:30am and 4:30am, Little Rock time). It also shows at 7pm Cannes time (12 noon, Little Rock).

Loving, which was written and directed by Nichols, tells the story of the Mildred and Richard Loving, an interracial married couple who were sentenced to prison in Virginia in 1958. It is set for national release in November and is being distributed by Focus Features.

Nichols was first brought the project by Martin Scorsese. A 1997 graduate of Little Rock Central High, he was intrigued by the story and the opportunities it provided him as a filmmaker.

The film stars Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga as the central couple. Others in the cast include Michael Shannon, Nick Kroll, and Bill Camp.  Edgerton, Shannon and Camp are part of Nichols’ informal repertory company of actors. Interestingly, Shannon and Camp are both nominated for Tony Awards in the same category (Featured Actor in a Play) for work they have done on Broadway this spring in American classics: Shannon in O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night and Camp in Miller’s The Crucible.

This is Nichols’ third film to screen at Cannes, following 2012’s Mud (which like Loving was in contention for the Palm d’Or) and 2011’s Take Shelter (which won the top prize at Cannes’ Critics Week).  His first feature film was 2007’s Shotgun Stories.

With Loving’s screening at Cannes, Nichols is in a select group of directors to have one film screen at the Berlin International Film Festival (where he showcased Midnight Special) and another at Cannes in the same year.