Rock the Oscars 2019: Lisa Blount

Image result for lisa blount ray mckinnonOn March 24, 2002, Lisa Blount and and her husband Ray McKinnon picked up the Oscar for Best Live Action Short for their film “The Accountant.”  Directed by McKinnon (and starring him) it was produced by Blount.

Married since 1998, the couple were strong promoters of the Arkansas film scene, especially from the early 2000s, onward. They were active in supporting the Little Rock Film Festival as well as film projects located in Arkansas.

In 2004, they moved to Little Rock, which was a return for Blount to the Central Arkansas in which she had grown up.  Born in Fayetteville, her family had moved to Jacksonville. After graduating from Jacksonville High School, she attended the University of Central Arkansas. It was there she got her big break appearing in the film September 30, 1955.

A month before her October 2010 death, Blount was inducted into the Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame.

LR Culture Vulture turns 7

The Little Rock Culture Vulture debuted on Saturday, October 1, 2011, to kick off Arts & Humanities Month.

The first feature was on the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, which was kicking off its 2011-2012 season that evening.  The program consisted of Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4 in A, Op. 90, Rossini’s, Overture to The Italian Girl in Algiers, Puccini’s Chrysanthemums and Respighi’s Pines of Rome.  In addition to the orchestra musicians, there was an organ on stage for this concert.

Since then, there have been 10,107 persons/places/things “tagged” in the blog.  This is the 3,773rd entry. (The symmetry to the number is purely coincidental–or is it?)  It has been viewed over 288,600 times, and over 400 readers have made comments.  It is apparently also a reference on Wikipedia.

The most popular pieces have been about Little Rock history and about people in Little Rock.

15 Highlights of 2015 – Little Rock Film Festival ends

LRFF EndOn September 30, 2015, the “Fin” screen appeared for the Little Rock Film Festival. The mark it has made to boost filmmaking and the artform of cinema will last for years to come.

Statement from the Little Rock Film Festival:

After 9 great years, each one bigger and arguably better than the last, The Little Rock Film Festival is retiring.

We are proud of the Arkansas filmmaking community that we have helped to inspire and promote, and pleased to have brought hundreds of the top independent filmmakers from around the World to Central Arkansas each year to share their work directly with audiences.

Along the way, we were able to show off our beautiful city and state, and provide the kind of cultural entertainment we believe is essential for a city like Little Rock, to attract and retain the young people it needs to prosper and compete.

Thank you to the sponsors, festivalgoers, filmmakers and volunteers who have been a part of this fantastic ride. We love you all.

Longtime Little Rock Film Festival programmer Justin Nickels has stepped in to make sure that the Little Rock Picture Show festival will continue.  It will take place in June 2016.

Several in the Little Rock arts and film community are trying to pick up the banner for a new Little Rock Film Festival. Stay tuned to 2016!

Creative Class of 2015: Frank Thurmond

thurmond_frankFrank Thurmond is a writer-musician-actor-filmmaker-teacher. He is, in short, a multi-hyphenate!

Thurmond was born in Paragould and grew up in Crossett and Little Rock, where he attended Hall High School.  He studied English and music as a Donaghey Scholar at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and pursued graduate degrees at Southern Methodist University and Oxford University. Thurmond is a Visiting Assistant Professor of English at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and has been a visiting writer in residence at Lyon College in Batesville.

 
Most recently, he released Ring of Five: A Novella and Four Stories.  Thurmond’s first book was a memoir entitled Before I Sleep: A Memoir of Travel and Reconciliation, which recounts his adult experience of meeting his previously unknown birth father.  He is a member of the bands ODYSSEY and JET420 and can often be found playing at local stages.
The film The Dealer’s Tale, which he wrote and produced (and is directed by Justin Nickels) will screen as an Official Selection at the Indie Memphis film festival on Friday, November 6th.  When it screened at the El Dorado Film Festival, Thurmond was awarded the Best Screenplay Award at the El Dorado Film Festival.
           
He has been featured at both the Arkansas Literary Festival and the Little Rock Film Festival.  Previously, Thurmond’s writing has appeared in various publications, including the International Herald Tribune; The Best of Tales from the South, Volume 6; Toad Suck Review; and in William Safire’s language book, No Uncertain Terms.

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.”

Little Rock Film Festival comes to end of reel

LRFF EndThe “Fin” screen has appeared for the Little Rock Film Festival. The mark it has made to boost filmmaking and the artform of cinema will last for years to come!

Statement from the Little Rock Film Festival:

After 9 great years, each one bigger and arguably better than the last, The Little Rock Film Festival is retiring.

We are proud of the Arkansas filmmaking community that we have helped to inspire and promote, and pleased to have brought hundreds of the top independent filmmakers from around the World to Central Arkansas each year to share their work directly with audiences.

Along the way, we were able to show off our beautiful city and state, and provide the kind of cultural entertainment we believe is essential for a city like Little Rock, to attract and retain the young people it needs to prosper and compete.

Thank you to the sponsors, festivalgoers, filmmakers and volunteers who have been a part of this fantastic ride. We love you all.

Final Day of 2015 Little Rock Picture Show

LRPS-Sponsors-Poster-1024x663No rest for the weary!  The last day of the 2015 Little Rock Picture Show starts at 11am with Backyard Blockbusters at the Studio Theatre.  The Last Survivors starts at 11:15 at Vino’s.

The afternoon features four blocks of shorts:

  • Arkansas Shorts Block 1 – 1:30 – Studio Theatre
  • International Shorts Block 3 – 1:45 – Vino’s
  • International Shorts Block 2 – 3:45 – Vino’s
  • Arkansas Shorts Block 2 – 4pm – Studio Theatre

At 5:45, Aura will be shown at Vino’s.  The final two screenings will take place at the Studio Theatre with filmmaker David Allen in attendance.  At 6:15, Boo will be shown.  Dog Soldiers will close out the 2015 edition of the Little Rock Picture Show at 8:15.