indie film inititative
In 2011, Ozark Foothills FilmFest, Inc. launched a production grant program for Arkansas independent filmmakers. Funded by Governor Beebe's Cultural Regional Arts Grants program administered through the Arkansas Arts Council, the purpose of the Indie Film Initiative is to support, promote, and advance independent filmmaking in Arkansas. The selection committee consisted of Bob Pest, president and co-founder of Ozark Foothills FilmFest; Christopher Crane, Arkansas Film Commissioner; and producer/director Tim Jackson of Category One Entertainment. Three grant recipients were selected after a rigorous application process that involved twenty-six applicants. The recipients will use the funds to make or complete feature-length films shot primarily in the state using a 75% Arkansan cast and crew. The grant recipients are Brent and Craig Renaud, Juli Jackson, and Taylor Feltner.
The three funded films are currently in various stages of production. The FilmFest is proud to provide a first look at two of them at this works-in-progress screening.
Juli Jackson is a Paragould native who graduated from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia with a BFA in Film and Video. She has worked as the Director of Photography on a number of independent feature films, including BEAT THE AIR and GOD'S COUNTRY, OFF ROUTE 9. After a three year stint in Los Angeles, contributing camerawork and lighting design on a number of projects, she returned home to Arkansas to pursue her creative work. She directed SUGAR (SWEET) TOOTH (ACHE), a 35mm animation about a girl who went to surprising lengths to treat a toothache, that premiered at the 2010 Ozark Foothills FilmFest.
Jackson describes her narrative film, titled 45 RPM, as “a dark comedy that extends the world of the classic American road movie to multiple mediums while exploring rich Southern history. The story follows Charlie, a struggling New York artist who seeks a connection between her work and her deceased father’s music. She teams up with Louie, an obsessive record collector from Memphis, and begins a search for a rare 45 recording from the 1960’s Arkansas garage rock scene that takes them on a journey across the seldom explored landscape of the new Old South.” The movie was shot in Paragould, Jonesboro, Little Rock, Mountain Home, and Memphis.
Taylor Feltner was born in Russellville, Arkansas. His first documentary feature as producer, JUST LIKE US, documented a comedy tour through the Middle East and premiered at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival. It has since played at over two-dozen film festivals worldwide, had its theatrical debut in the summer of 2011, and was released on VOD by Lionsgate Home Entertainment in December 2011. Feltner holds a B.F.A. from the Florida State University Film School, and began his work in Los Angeles for the documentary film company Allentown Productions under Emmy- and Oscar-winning filmmaker James Moll. While with Allentown, he served as production manager on “A Timeless Call," a tribute to veterans directed by Steven Spielberg for the Democratic National Convention in 2008, and producer on the “New Kids on The Block: A Behind the Music Event," the first of its kind to feature a live performance by the artist.
Feltner describes his grant-funded documentary, titled MAN SHOT DEAD as "a filmmaker’s journey through time and memory to understand the murder of his grandfather. Part detective story, part family portrait, the film is an exploration into the effects the murder had on two families whose lives were changed irrevocably after one brief, seemingly innocuous encounter. "