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MAY 11-17

7 Questions with Kristin Mann, Producer of Pillow and The Orderly

Kristin Mann








1. Are you an Arkansas Native? If so where are you from? If not, How did you get here?
Yes, I was born and raised in the Little Rock area.  I’ve spent some time in New York and several years in Los Angeles for work but returned to Arkansas a couple of years ago.

2. What is the inspiration for your film?
I’m excited to say that I produced two of the films in this year’s festival – PILLOW and THE ORDERLY.  PILLOW was written and directed by the Miller brothers, and THE ORDERLY was written and directed by Daniel Campbell.

The Miller brothers have been heavily influenced by Hitchcock and the Coen brothers among others.  With PILLOW, they’ve done an excellent job with establishing their southern gothic filmmaking style.

Daniel, I know, finds inspiration in Wes Anderson’s work.  THE ORDERLY is a comedy, which should excite you because Daniel is one of the funniest people I’ve ever met.
I’m going to let these guys tell you what inspired them to write each story.  Stay tuned for their interviews over the next few weeks!

3. Can you give us a brief synopsis of your film?
PILLOW is a southern gothic tale of two brothers who go to desperate measures to please their overbearing mother. I honestly can’t say much more than that for fear of giving too much away, but Kim Voynar, a film critic at Movie City News, described PILLOW as “gorgeously, stunningly shot, with minimal dialogue and a script with shades OF MICE AND MEN.”  So, there’s a little taste.

THE ORDERLY is a comedy set in the 1950s about a timid orderly, Norville, that finds himself late for his first day of work and his first assignment: transporting two psychiatric patients to another facility five hours away, with only three hours to get them there.  With each minute and mile that passes, Norville desperately struggles to keep his own sanity along this tense, bizarre and chaotic ride.  I would shamelessly plug a great review right about here, but we don’t have any yet because Little Rock will be our world premiere!!!

4. What were the biggest challenges and successes you faced on set?
With PILLOW, my biggest challenge was just keeping everyone safe and healthy.  We shot in the middle of August in Rosebud, AR in an old, abandoned house and in England, AR in the middle of a cornfield.  It was the hottest week of the year with temperatures above 110 degrees.  Our wonderful PA’s (production assistants) were constantly handing out bottles of water and cold, wet towels.  I had to rent two huge industrial-size fans to generate a breeze in between takes.  Out of about a 50-person crew, we only had one pass out and a couple get sick from the heat.  That may sound funny, but those numbers are pretty good considering the conditions we were working in.

With THE ORDERLY, my biggest challenge was making the movie happen with only $5,000.  I launched a kickstarter campaign, and Daniel and I were able to raise $5k through that site due to the generous support of friends and family (and a couple of people across the country whom we’ve never met).  I had to ask for a lot of favors.  We had equipment donated, a period car (which is central to the film) donated, crew working for little to no money, and the list goes on.  When it’s all said and done, though, we ended up with a high-quality film thanks to everyone’s help.

5. What is the festival strategy for your film?
With both films, we hope to go to as many big festivals and cool, art festivals as possible with the hopes of winning some awards.  It gets a little more intricate than that, but that’s the general strategy.  So far, PILLOW has won both Best Short and the Lisa Blount Acting Award (actor Ed Lowry) at the Oxford Film Festival and Best Cinematography at the Beverly Hills Film Festival.  THE ORDERLY is just beginning its festival run.
Also, these festivals are great in that we get to network with other filmmakers – some who have become good friends and some I plan on working with some day.

6. Does your film have a Arkansas/Southern theme?
Yes, both have a southern theme and both were shot in central Arkansas.  I should also mention that the entire crew for both films was comprised of Arkansans.  We have some very talented people based here who worked on both films – among them are Gabe Mayhan (cinematographer), Mitchell Crisp (production designer) and Les Galusha (editor) just to name a few.

7. What changes have you seen in the local film community in the five years since the LRFF was launched?
I was living in Los Angeles when the LRFF launched, but when I moved back here in late 2008 I could tell something was brewing in the film community.  Just since that time there’s been a steady growth in the number of people who make a living working in film and television here.  We’re about to have an entirely new generation of well-trained crew here in Arkansas due to Steve Taylor and the film program at SAU.  After graduation, some of the students may leave for work out of state, but my hunch is that a good number of them will call Arkansas their home base because more and more projects are being shot here.  The tax rebate doesn’t hurt either.  As a testament to the above, I’m currently producing my first feature film that we hope to shoot in Arkansas this summer.  I came on to the project after the director, who lives in Los Angeles, asked me to produce with the hopes of bringing the project here.  In addition, the Miller brothers and Daniel each have a feature script, and they hope to shoot both films in AR over the next year.  It’s an exciting time!

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