Men & Women of Distinction: Mike Beebe will be shown by Arkansas Cinema Society tonight at CALS Ron Robinson Theater

Tonight the Arkansas Cinema Society is getting things started with a documentary about the 45th Governor of Arkansas, Mike Beebe.  

In 2010, a red tide swept Arkansas, flipping many federal and state offices to Republican control. But Democratic Governor Mike Beebe not only won re-election, he carried all 75 counties in Arkansas, an unprecedented feat. How did he do that?

Watch AETN: Men & Women of Distinction’s biography of Governor Mike Beebe.  In this uplifting one-hour documentary, commissioned in 2015 and directed by Kathryn Tucker, the former Governor reflects on his 32 years in elected office, with added perspectives from his wife Ginger, former Governor’s Chief of Staff – Morril Harriman, former Governor’s Director of Communications – Matt DeCample, columnist – John Brummett,  ASU fraternity brother & longtime friend – Johnny Allison, and former Attorney General’s Chief of Staff – Colette Honorable.

Matt DeCample, who served on Governor Beebe’s staff was instrumental in working with the Arkansas Cinema Society during its first two years. Today (August 21) is Matt’s birthday. Though he died earlier this year after a valiant battle with cancer, Matt’s presence continues with the Arkansas Cinema Society (not just through his appearance in this film). A special tribute to Matt will also be part of the program.

The program is at the CALS Ron Robinson Theatre.  Doors open at 5:00pm with the screening starting at 6:30pm.


48 Hours with Mattie D

In June 2006, I had the privilege of seeing Matt DeCample at work during a weekend of the 48 Hour Film Project.

I was allowed to tag along to take photos and document the experience of the 48 Hour Film Project process. (Photos which I cannot seem to find, but are tucked away somewhere on a disc to be found in time.)

We were gathered at the Public Theatre space for a brief pep talk before Matt and Drake Mann went to the drawing. It was there that the team would learn its Genre, the character’s name, the prop, and the line of dialogue that had to be included in the film.

In their absence, someone had cracked, “I don’t care what genre we get, as long as it isn’t Action. I mean how do you shoot and edit an action film in 48 hours?”  So of course when Matt and Drake walked in — the genre was Action.

Matt was so clearly in his element. Just a look at him and one could tell that the wheels were turning in his mind. He led the group through brainstorming.  I don’t remember who actually came up with the final idea, but I suspect it was Matt.

The Action genre was to be played out in an office. A worker had only a few minutes to get a fax sent (remember it was 2006) and had to dodge a number of obstacles along the way in order to get it done.

And we were off!

Matt was the screenwriter — and to play one of the distractions, an impatient boyfriend who kept calling the office worker as she was trying to finish her task.  Chris Cranford was the director, cinematographer, and editor. Seeing Matt and Chris, two guys who loved films, talk in a kind of short-hand was entertaining.  The opening credits stripped across books in a law library in a manner similar to the opening of Hitchcock’s North by Northwest – something that Matt and Chris thought not only would be fun to create but would also add a layer to the movie evoking a Hitchcokian tone.

We broke around 1 in the morning. Matt went to work on the script.

A few hours later we gathered in a downtown law firm. Matt had about half the script written and the rest outlined. It was enough that Chris could map out the shots and start the filming.

As is the case with any film, there are always adjustments that need to be made. Matt was unfazed. When not needed for a scene, he was often set up in an office typing away at the script. Or he was helping the camera crew. Or he was entertaining everyone with a wry observation about something.

Throughout the 48 Hours Matt was very much the man with the plan for the project. He did not lead from the front or the top, however, He led from the center of the pack in a collaborative and encouraging manner — because that was Matt.

I don’t think he slept any the weekend.  He did not intrude on the editing or scoring processes (Buddy Habig created an original score which added immensely to the film), he contributed insight and was a sounding board. And quite frankly, he just reveled in the entire process and the somewhat absurdity of what was being undertaken. He loved every second of it.

I cannot remember everyone who was in the film. (I tried to find it on YouTube, but the earliest films from Little Rock were 2007.)  I do remember the late, great Fran Austin played the overbearing boss whose demand set the scenario in motion.  Ruth Shepherd played the overeager office manager trying to get everyone to sign a greeting card. She popped up several times as an obstacle. Once she handed the card to me in an uncredited cameo of my right hand.

But the person who pops up in my mind the most is Mattie D. I am sure when I find those photos again I will see him in many of them. He seemed to be everywhere.

And just like with everything he undertook whether in his professional career or as an avocation – he was always completely Mattie D.

Creative Class 2016: Matt DeCample

cc16-decampleWhether a propensity for improv made Matt DeCample an excellent newsman and later PR professional, or whether his work in those occupations helped hone his improv skills is probably a chicken or the egg question.  But what is not up for debate is that Matt has elevated the visibility of and appreciation for improv as a form of entertainment.  He was a founder of Improv Little Rock and appears with The Joint Venture, the only weekly improv comedy show in Arkansas.

He also uses his love of film and PR acumen to promote film festivals in Arkansas.  Currently he is helping promote the 25th Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival this month.  An avid fan of movies, he has long been a supporter and promoter of films made in Arkansas, films made by Arkansans, and film festivals located in Arkansas.  He is also a fan of live music, so can often be found frequenting local music haunts in LR.

While he may have had to curtail his activities a bit this year due to health concerns, (his blog discussing his fight against liver cancer is likely to have you in tears…from laughter but is also full of information and honest insight), he is by no means stopping. In fact, he has recently taken the stage with stand-up comedy.



ImprovLittleRock’s 11th Annual Family Christmas is tonight!

ImprovLittleRock’s longest-running tradition returns tonight! Unlike an unwanted visit from relatives, this is a limited time offer – only one night!

Spend the last Saturday night before Christmas sharing in their laughter, pajama-wearing and improv shenanigans.

Just $8 at the door to get in. They supply the holiday cheer and candy canes.

Please wear your ugly sweaters, pajamas, or whatever garb puts you in the spirit.

The fun is at the Public Theater, 616 Center Street at 10PM!

Day 2 of 2015 LR Film Festival offers Features, Shorts, Student Films and Trivia

lrff_logo-backgroundAt 1:30 today the documentary How to Dance in Ohio starts the second day of the Little Rock Film Festival.  It will be shown at the Ron Robinson Theater.

From 3:30 to 5 the LRFFYouth! Screening of AETN Student Selects will take place, also at the Ron Robinson Theater.

At 5:30, films will start in two different venues.  The Ron Robinson Theater will play host to Made in Arkansas Shorts (Block 2) from 5:30 to 7:30pm.  The films being shown are “MatchMaker” by Robin Sparks, “Hush” by Kenn Woodard, “Dim the Lights” by Dwight Chalmers, “The Pop N’ Lock” by Jadon Barnes, “Rapture Us” by Levi Agee, “The Ask” by Edmund Lowry and “Contact” by Alexander Jeffery.  Following the films, Gerry Bruno will moderate a discussion with the filmmakers.

Also at 5:30, the Clinton School will be the site for the screening of Laurent Bécue-Renard’s Of Men and War.  This film is a staggering, masterful portrait of a California treatment center for PTSD-afflicted veterans of the Iraq war.   Writer and Journalist Jay Jennings will sit down with Director Laurent Bécue-Renard for a Q and A following the screening.

Punk takes over the Ron Robinson at 8pm as Salad Days: A Decade of Punk in Washington DC (1980-90) is shown.  Prior to the film, local punk band Headcold will play.

At 9pm at Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack, Matt DeCample will host a movie trivia challenge.


Greater Little Rock Preservation Awards presented tonight at Quapaw Quarter annual meeting

QQAThe Quapaw Quarter Association will present the Greater Little Rock Preservation Awards at its 2014 Annual Membership Meeting on Tuesday, October 7 at the Ron Robinson Theater.  This year’s award recipients include the Argenta Branch of the William F. Laman Public Library System, Stone’s Throw Brewing Company, the Clinton Foundation, Donna Thomas and Wright Avenue Neighborhood Association, and J. Chandler and Co.  Rachelle Walsh will receive the Peg Smith Award to recognize her exemplary volunteer work. Carolyn Newbern will be presented with the Jimmy Strawn Award, the QQA’s most prestigious award, presented to someone whose efforts on behalf of the preservation of Greater Little Rock’s architectural heritage are an inspiration to the entire community.  Matt DeCample will serve as emcee of the awards ceremony.

The QQA is also kicking off efforts to raise awareness about mid-century modern architecture in Little Rock, beginning with a special lecture from Dr. Ethel Goodstein-Murphree of the Fay Jones School of Architecture.  Goodstein-Murphree’s lecture, “Rock ‘n’ Roll, Poodle Skirts, and a White I-Beam: The Preservationist’s Guide to Loving the 1950s and its Architecture” will be presented at the meeting.

The meeting will begin at 6:00 p.m. following a 5:30 reception at the Ron Robinson Theater at 100 River Market Avenue in Little Rock.  The QQA’s annual membership meeting is free and open to the public.  Nonmembers may join at the door.