At 7 p.m. Thursday, July 16, the Arkansas Times, Little Rock PFLAG and Central Arkansas Pridefest will host a special screening of Little Rock director Mark Thiedeman’s "Sacred Hearts, Holy Souls” to benefit Out in Arkansas, the Times’ coming LGBT publication.
I'm late to this, but Deadline Hollywood has reported that Little Rock native Jeff Nichols ("Mud," "Take Shelter") has settled on his next project, a film he wrote and will direct titled "Loving." Inspired by the documentary "The Loving Story," the film is to be based on the story of the couple, Mildred and Richard Loving, who instigated the landmark 1967 Supreme Court decision in Loving v. Virginia, which struck down laws prohibiting interracial marriage — a case commemorated every year on June 12, Loving Day.
With spies, triple crosses, an icy blonde, mistaken identity, a murderous biplane and Cary Grant wearing the most dirt-repelling gray suit in all of film history, Hitchcock's 1959 thriller "North By Northwest" may well have invented the modern thriller, and it's still a hell of a good time at the movies. Now's your chance to see it on the big screen, with this week's Thursday night screening at Little Rock's Ron Robinson Theater, part of the Arkansas Times film series.
The Bentonville Film Festival, launched this year by actress Geena Davis and held earlier this month from May 5-9, earned a number of largely positive notices from major outlets like the Huffington Post ("At the Bentonville Film Festival, Women Are Playing in the Major Leagues"), the L.A. Times ("Bentonville Film Festival pushes diversity message from year one") and the New York Times ("Bentonville, Ark., Hosts a Film Festival Without a Movie Theater"), most of them centering on its unique and vital agenda — promoting diversity and gender equality in filmmaking — and its celebrity cache (e.g. an acting workshop taught by Robert De Niro, a softball game led by Rosie O'Donnell, etc.).
It was announced today that Billy Bob Thornton, the famous Arkansas actor and director who was born in Hot Springs, will narrate a new documentary about the role of Hot Springs in the development of baseball as a springtime sport.
This month in the Arkansas Times Film Series (co-sponsored by the Little Rock Film Festival), we're showing Charles Burnett's legendary 1978 independent film "Killer of Sheep." Filmed in L.A.'s Watts neighborhood in the early `70s, it's a gorgeous and powerful and deeply mysterious document of its time and place, set to music by Dinah Washington and Louis Armstrong and Earth, Wind & Fire.
"Sisters," starring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, is the new film directed by Fayetteville native Jason Moore, director of "Avenue Q" and "Pitch Perfect." Previously titled "The Nest," the film follows two sisters in their thirties who learn their childhood home is up for sale, and is scheduled to be released in December.
This month, we’ll be screening Roman Polanski's 1974 film "Chinatown" as part of the Arkansas Times Film Series co-sponsored by the Little Rock Film Festival. The quintessential L.A. noir and the best role of Jack Nicholson’s career, the movie was named the greatest film of all time in a 2010 critics poll by The Guardian.
Actress Geena Davis announced today that she's launching a new film festival to be held in Bentonville (and called the Bentonville Film Festival) and sponsored by her own organization, the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, as well as corporate partners Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola, AMC Theaters and ARC Entertainment. The festival, set to be held May 5-9, will begin accepting submissions on Jan. 15 and will focus on films highlighting women and minorities in cast and crew.
The revelations from last month's massive Sony hack have so far included embarrassing financial statements, embarrassing emails and many other categories of embarrassments. Sony employees hate their own movies, for instance, and Channing Tatum writes weird emails. And now even Arkansas is involved, however tangentially, with the news that Little Rock native Jeff Nichols might be attached to direct the "Aquaman" movie.
This month, we’ll be screening David Lynch’s powerful and deranged 1986 classic “Blue Velvet” as part of the Arkansas Times Film Series co-sponsored by the Little Rock Film Festival. The Los Angeles Times has called it “the most brilliantly disturbing film ever to have its roots in small-town American life” and the New York Times deemed it “an instant cult classic … one of a kind.”
In other film news: The 48 Hour Film Project, in which 30 teams competed to make a short film in two days last weekend, will be screening the completed films this Friday, Saturday and Sunday (beginning at 7 p.m. each night) at Ron Robinson Theater.
The increasingly prestigious Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, recently named an Academy Award qualifier (as we reported in February) and set to take place October 10-19, has named writer and film critic Lauren Wissot its new programming director.
Simon Mercer's "Glass Eyes of Locust Bayou," the great short film about the Arkansas filmmaker Phil Chambliss that screened at last month's Little Rock Film Festival and which I wrote about for the paper at the time, is now online so you can watch it for free. This is good news for the Internet and for the state of Arkansas. Take fifteen minutes and watch this thing.
Market Street Cinema owner Matt Smith told the Times today that they will be closing their current location and reopening at Riverdale 10, the 10-screen, 35,000 square ft. theater on Cantrell Road that closed in December. "The big change that the customers will see is we’re going to be installing new Barco digital projectors and Dolby digital sound," he said over the phone this morning (before, both theaters used 35mm film and analog sound).
Have you been going to Splice Microcinema, the mysterious (but unpretentious) and free (though donations are encouraged) underground screening series in the backroom at Vino's? I really hope that you have, particularly if you're a Little Rock film fan, which, let's face it, has always been a pretty unfortunate position to be in. It's also true, though, that things are looking up in the Rock lately, at least cinematically, from the Ron Robinson Theater's unveiling to the flourishing and increasingly well-respected (and forthcoming) Little Rock Film Festival. And the folks at Splice — writers and academics and filmmakers and enthusiasts — are contributing to this upswing in a major way.
I never actually met Bob Hoskins in the sense of sitting down and exchanging life stories with him, but the actor, who died last week, was extremely cordial in greeting several of us stand-ins and extras during the filming of “The White River Kid” in Arkansas some 16 years ago.
The Times Record reports that about 100 people turned out for Fort Smith lawyer Joey McCutcheon's rally to save the Rebel mascot and the "Dixie" fight song along with other trappings of the Confederacy at Fort Smith Southside High School.