1. Are you an Arkansas Native? If so where are you from? If not, How did you get here?
I’m not an Arkansas native. I grew up in Florida, but I’ve lived a lot of places–Washington D.C., Kansas (go Jayhawks!), Atlanta, Alaska. I moved here in 2003 from Alaska after my graduate school mentor Joe Anderson called and said he had just been hired to be the chair of the Mass Communication and Theatre program at UCA, and he wanted to know if I wanted to come help him start a filmmaking program. So I said yes, and have been here ever since.
2. What is the inspiration for your film?
I guess I was inspired by those moments in a movie, especially genre movies, where characters go through a major emotional moment but because of the demands of the plot, that moment takes about 30 seconds and then the movie moves on. In this case, I became fascinated with that moment in horror films where a loved one is turned, or possessed, or infected, and the protagonist has to decide what to do. I wanted to make an entire film exploring that moment. I guess its sort of an art film take on horror. Maybe in the general vein of “Let the Right One In.”
3. Can you give us a brief synopsis of your film?
Three people are barricaded in their house during a zombie epidemic: Josh, his wife Hope, and his sister Isabel. Unfortunately for Josh, Hope and Isabel believe he is infected and have to decide what to do about it.
4. What were the biggest challenges and successes you faced on set?
There were no major challenges. We had some technical issues and the like, but we had a great crew, and they handled the problems well. It was January, and since we had the heat off for the sound, it was really, really cold. As for successes, I’d say two things came together much better than I had any right to hope. The production design is great, and we did it on a shoestring budget. I definitely have our production designer Christy Ward to thank for that. And the acting is amazing. It was hard for everyone. Jody Reho, who played Josh, acted the entire movie while being tied to a table. Kristy Barrington and Stephanie Olsen had to play some truly difficult emotional scenes, and they were fantastic.
5. What is the festival strategy for your film?
We’re submitting to national horror-oriented festivals and more regional general festivals. We’re still early in the process, so as we have successes and failures we’ll make adjustments.
6. Does your film have a Arkansas/Southern theme?
Not especially. I think the fear that your partner or loved one is a zombie is pretty universal.
7. What changes have you seen in the local film community in the five years since the LRFF was launched?
The quality and quantity of films has improved so much over the past five years. It’s been fantastic to be in the middle of it. And as a professor in UCA’s Digital Filmmaking Program, I’m so proud of the role our program and students have played in the growth of the filmmaking community in central Arkansas. Over half of the films in this year’s Made In Arkansas program were directed by UCA students, alum, or faculty. And many more have major crew positions filled by people with strong UCA connections. The LRFF has become such a great showcase for Arkansas films and filmmakers; the local film community would not be the same without it.
If you have a project, film news, or any rumors on film you would like to mention email me at David@littlerockfilmfestival.org