Creative Class of 2015: Mark Thiedeman

mark thiedemanAfter attending Catholic High and Parkview Arts & Science Magnet High School, Mark Thiedeman studied filmmaking at NYU.  Though he started his film work in New York, he returned to Little Rock a few years ago to continue making films in a more expressive and less expensive environment.

It is a proverbial chicken & egg question as to whether Thiedeman helped usher in the expansion of the Arkansas film industry, or whether he benefitted from it — probably a little of both.

Thiedeman is a true auteur, serving as director, writer, editor and often producer of his works. His feature films are The Scoundrel and Last Summer.  His shorts are “A Christian Boy,” “Cain & Abel” and “Sacred Hearts, Holy Souls.” The latter, which won the Best in Arkansas award at the 2014 Little Rock Film Festival, is being turned into a feature film.

Stephen Farber in The Hollywood Reporter has called him “a director worth watching.” In Filmmaker magazine, Howard Feinstein said of Thiedeman, “a star is born – and I mean a director.”

Ark Arts Council announces 2013 Fellowship Recipients

Arkansas_Arts_Council_logo_2Last week, the Arkansas Arts Council announced the recipients of its Individual Artist Fellowship awards. The artists will be recognized at a reception from 5:30-7:30 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 6, at the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock. The reception is open to the public. Space is limited and reservations are required. RSVP by calling (501) 324-9766.

The Arkansas Arts Council awarded nine artist fellowships in the amount of $4,000 each. Fellowships are awarded annually to artists in Arkansas in recognition of their individual artistic abilities. These fellowships enable artists to set aside time for creating their art and improving their skills. Three artistic disciplines are selected each year as categories for the awards.

The three categories for this year are Literary Arts: Playwriting; Performing Arts: Directing of Narrative and Documentary Films; and Visual Arts: Creating Contemporary and Traditional Crafts.

The fellowship recipients were selected by a jury of out-of-state professional artists, writers, performers and art administrators.

Literary Arts: Playwriting

Kelley Smith Pruitt, Little Rock – In a Year’s Time

Clinnesha D. Sibley, Fayetteville – Tell Martha Not to Moan

Werner Trieschmann, Little Rock – Disfarmer


Performing Arts: Directing of Narrative and Documentary Films

Joshua H. Miller, Little Rock – Pillow

Mark Thiedeman, Little Rock – Last Summer

Nathan Willis, Little Rock – “The Van”


Visual Arts: Creating Contemporary and Traditional Crafts

Ed Pennebaker, Osage – blown glass, stone and metal work

Timothy LaTourette, Fayetteville – wood, lighting and printmaking

Adam Posnak, West Fork – functional ceramic with stark black, white and red imagery


The Arkansas Arts Council is an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage.

LR Film Fest: Made in Arkansas Awards

IMG_5408There are four awards presented to films in the “Made in Arkansas” track.   This year there were fifteen shorts and five feature films in contention for these awards.

Liza Burns won the Best Actor award for her performance in the feature 45 RPM.  (Note that actor is used as a gender non-specific term.)  The other nominees were Jeff Bailey for “The Discontentment of Ed Telfair,” Jeffrey Fuell for “Blood Brothers” and Graham Gordy for “Mary.”

The Charles B. Pierce Award for Best Short went to “The Discontentment of Ed Telfair” which was directed by Daniel Campbell.  The other nominees were “Diamond John” (directed by Travis Mosler), “Last Shot Love” (directed by Nolan Dean) and “Mary” (directed by Zach Turner).  Interestingly, the latter two and Campbell’s winning film were all grouped together in the “Heartbeats” block.

The award for Best Feature went to 45 RPM directed by Juli Jackson.  The other nominees were Last Summer by Mark Thiedeman and The Identity Theft of Mitch Mustain by Matthew Wolfe.

Mark Thiedeman won Best Director for Last Summer.  This is the third consecutive year Thiedeman has had a film at the Little Rock Film Festival.  The other nominees were Amman Abbasi for “Bad Water,” Zach Turner for “Mary” and Juli Jackson for 45 RPM.

MADE IN ARKANSAS lineup announced for 7th Annual Little Rock Film Festival

Made-in-Arkansas-with-filmsThe 7th Annual Little Rock Film Festival recently announced its ‘Made in Arkansas‘ competition lineup.

The ‘Made in Arkansas’ category is a center piece of the Little Rock Film Festival created to showcase the very best film works being produced in the state.  All films in competition are Arkansas premieres.

LRFF2013 is proud to present the following 19 films in the ‘Made in Arkansas’ category that will each compete for the:

  • Charles B. Pierce Award for Best Film
  • Best Director
  • Best Actor/Actress


45RPM – directed by Juli JacksonCategory: Feature (97 min)
An artist struggling with the source of her inspiration finds help from an obsessive record collector in the search for her deceased father’s lost music.

Bad Water – directed by Amman Abbasi, Category: Shorts (13 min)
DB is a mentally handicapped man who lives in an isolated town, and struggles with health issues. Through his straightforward and unbiased narration, we soon realize that he is one of the key surviving members of a community that was devastated by water contamination. With a poetic and personal tone, Bad Water challenges the nature of man and his inability to do good for himself.

Blood Brothers – directed by Jason Miller and Seth Savoy, Category: Shorts (32 min)
A young man returns to his hometown in Arkansas to kidnap the kingpin of the drug operation that ran him and his brother out of town; however, his actions may not bode too well for his brother, who now leads a clean and successful life in Chicago.

Bump – directed by Joe YorkCategory: Shorts (13 min)

December 1982 – directed by Lyle ArnettCategory: Shorts (30 min)
In the early 1980s, Tim Edwards, a newly high school graduated, becomes friends and pen-pals with a young girl of the same age form Lebanon. When her world is thrown into chaos by war, Tim begins to understand what is really important in life.

Death of a Super Hero – directed by Brandon BristolCategory: Shorts (10 min)
Death of a Superhero is the story of John Jameson, the alter ego of Metro City’s greatest superhero, Captain Amazing. One night after a devastating battle with his arch-nemesis, Doctor Disaster, John loses his powers. Now, John has to learn to cope with the loss of his identity, and weigh the part that has been left behind.

Foot Trackers – directed by Brandon BogardCategory: Shorts (7 min)
Bigfoot hunters Sam and Matt have Bigfoot almost in their grasp. But when Matt blows their big chance at catching him, they return to camp and Bigfoot surprises them and destroys their camp and equipment. Barley making it out a live they must work together to find a way to catch the legendary Bigfoot.

Lasting the After – directed by Blake ElderCategory: Shorts (21 min)
Three outcasts struggle with survival during the tribulation. Lasting The After is a drama thriller that tells the story of two siblings Mila & Gavin, outcasts, who find themselves hiding in an abandoned warehouse, in the middle of enemy territory, struggling to survive during the tribulation. After encountering a mysterious companion, and eluding the wrath of the Disciples, they begin to discover the only substantial way to survive is to flee to the mountains.

Last Summer – directed by Mark ThiedemanCategory: Feature (73 min)
Two high school sweethearts, Luke and Jonah, spend their final months together over the course of a long, quiet summer in the rural South–a world of baseball, bicycles, church and green bean casserole–contemplating their uncertain future and the uncertain future of America.

Last Shot Love – directed by Nolan DeanCategory: Shorts (14 min)
Meet love-struck Michael; a 30 year old who has been waiting ten years to express his love for Annie. When he persuades her that ‘they owe it to their friendship’ to go on one official date, he asks for the advice from Collin. Together they hatch a fool-proof plan to make Annie fall in love with Michael, and it all goes terribly wrong.

Mary – directed by Zach TurnerCategory: Shorts (25 min)
Divorced and alone, Craig meets the ethereal Mary, who might be the girl of his dreams. Now he just needs to find out if he’s awake.

Sky Begins to Storm – directed by Ron WalterCategory: Shorts (19 min)
Sky Begins to Storm is a documentary that takes a look at the 2011 April and May tornado outbreaks and how they affected the towns of Vilonia, Arkansas and Joplin, Missouri. At its core though, the film is about revisiting communities after the destruction of a physical space and the efforts to preserve the memories attached to the remains of a town. Several interviewed citizens of both towns touch on the topics of moving with their lives, the deaths of friends and family members, and the conscious effort to begin putting a town back together. Sky Begins to Storm takes place in the somber space after the headlines and news vans have stopped paying attention to a crisis.

Soul Winner – directed by Jennifer GerberCategory: Shorts (13 min)
A young door-to-door preacher learns that winning souls for Jesus truly is a matter of life and death. Set in the rural Bible belt of Arkansas, Jesse, a young door-to-door minister, wants to win his first soul for Jesus, but his lack of experience and volatile enthusiasm is getting in his way. Before heading home from another failed mission, Jesse decides to try to convert one last soul before giving up for good.

The Van – directed by Nathan WillisCategory: Shorts (7 min)
Aaron Reddin’s mission in life is to serve the unsheltered homeless in Arkansas and across the southeast. Everyday he drives ‘The Van’ to different homeless camps to bring food, water, and supplies to the men and women living there.

The Discontentment of Ed Telfair – directed by Daniel CampbellCategory: Shorts (18 min)

The Identity Theft of Mitch Mustain – directed by Matthew WolfeCategory: Feature (90 min)
In 2005, Mitch Mustain was the most decorated high school football player in all of America.  Named the first ever consensus Gatorade, Parade, and USA Today Player of the Year, Mustain grabbed the spotlight from future NFL players such as Tim Tebow and Matthew Stafford.  At the age of seventeen, USA Today ordained Mustain as “Football’s Future”.  He was destined to become a game-changing college and pro quarterback.  Unfortunately, football was not the only thing Mitch saw in his future, and while the game came easy to Mitch, finding joy in the game eventually became a job.  The film, narrated by Nolan Richardson, follows Mitch’s present-day struggle to find balance between who he once was, and who he now wants to be.

TwinkleTown – directed by Scott McEntireCategory: Shorts (21 min)
Deep in the Arkansas delta, the Wallace family has been in charge for more than a hundred years. Not everybody in town is willing to accept the dead-end doldrums of life in a small town, and some will do anything to escape. Desperation leads to bad choices, and sympathy is one quality Eve Wallace doesn’t possess. When old money and new issues collide, it isn’t about who will win and who will lose. It’s about who survives and who escapes.

Up Among the Hills – the story of Fayetteville – directed by Larry FoleyCategory: Shorts (55 min)
This is a one-hour documentary on the history of Fayetteville, Arkansas, narrated by one of the city’s former residents, President Bill Clinton. Created by master story teller, Larry Foley, this film chronicles the history of the city as told through interesting characters that lived in Fayetteville and pushed it to prominence at the national level. Some of these residents included friend of Buffalo Bill and frontier scout Charles VonBerg, author Charles Finger and business owner and newspaper publisher Roberta Fulbright. The film premiered at the Fayetteville Library in October, 2012.

Unearthing the Dream – directed by Pamela UzzellCategory: Shorts (53 min)
A small-town African American community, forced to accept second-class materials for its schools, refuses to accept a second-class education for its children, giving rise to Black schools that inspired and cultivated success and pride. The 1968 desegregation of the Malvern, AR schools planned to eliminate this separate and unequal system. But in the process it forced the very students it aimed to help to sacrifice their shared experience and identity. These formative years that most Americans recall with fond memories were stripped away, for the greater good of integration. Forty years have passed, and those boys and girls are men and women. Yet they continue to grapple with the memory of this decision made for them, a memory that still reverberates throughout their lives.

All screenings for the LRFF2013 (May 14th – May 19th, 2013) will be held in downtown Little Rock/NLR this year. The festival schedule will be announced soon. Stay connected with us onFacebook and Twitter for more updates as we close in on LRFF2013.

Book your passes to the LRFF2013 at the Box Office.

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