Thursday, December 1, 2016

Filmmakers with Arkansas connections selected for Sundance

Posted By on Thu, Dec 1, 2016 at 1:57 PM

click to enlarge Amman Abbasi
  • Amman Abbasi

"Dayveon," the Arkansas-set debut feature film from Little Rock's Amman Abbasi, has been selected to premiere at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 19-29 in Utah. It's among the NEXT selections and is scheduled to debut on the first day of the festival.

Abbasi, who worked for years with Little Rock documentarians Brent and Craig Renaud and has long been active in Little Rock's film community, raised $25,000 on Kickstarter in 2015 before a host of indie vets signed on as producers. They include director and Little Rock native David Gordon Green, Rough House Pictures ("Eastbound and Down," "Lawless"), director James Schamus' production company Symbolic Exchange and producer Lisa Muskat's ("Joe") Muskat Filmed Properties.

Here's the Sundance description of the film:

In the wake of his older brother’s death, 13-year-old Dayveon spends the sweltering summer days roaming his rural Arkansas town. When he falls in with a local gang, he becomes drawn to the camaraderie and violence of their world.
From IndieWire:
“I went about making ‘Dayveon’ in a fairly non-traditional way,” said Abbasi. “I started this process like a documentary by learning and talking to actual gang members and work-shopping the story with them to find out why kids join gangs and learn firsthand from their stories. A lot of these stories helped inspire this movie. Hopefully this film paints an honest picture of what it is like to be brought into a gang as a kid.”

“’Dayveon’ is a cinematic portrait of a kid who joins a gang in rural Arkansas,” said executive producer David Gordon Green. “His journey within the film feels authentic — as if I were a fly on the wall watching him trying to discover how to get over heartbreak, understand violence and become a man.”
click to enlarge Adam Sobel
  • Adam Sobel

Also making its premiere on day one of the festival is the latest documentary from North Little Rock High School graduate Adam Sobel. It's called "The Workers Cup." Here's how Sundance describes it: "Inside Qatar’s labor camps, African and Asian migrant workers building the facilities of the 2022 World Cup compete in a football tournament of their own."

Sobel is a longtime director and producer at Mediadante, a production house based in Doha, Qatar and London. Here's his biography from Mediadante:

Adam tells stories across the Middle East and beyond. Recent work has taken him from Uganda to Berlin to document the impact of war and conflict on education, and to Tunisia and Egypt to look at the five-year aftermath of the Arab Spring. In 2013, Adam spent two months at Mt. Everest base camp creating the 12-part series On the Top, which won the CINE Golden Eagle for best documentary series. He is the director of the feature-length documentary The Workers Cup, which will be making its world premiere at Sundance in January. Adam currently lives in Chicago with his wife, three cats, and the world’s best baby.


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