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MAY 11-17

7 Questions with Collin Buchanan, Director of Cotton County Boys

Director Collin Buchanan

1. Are you an Arkansas Native? If so where are you from? If not, How did you get here?
I am. I was born in Springdale and I grew up in Fayetteville and Springdale. I live in Springdale again as of a couple of weeks ago, but for the past seven years I had been living in Conway working on my MFA in film at the University of Central Arkansas.

2. What is the inspiration for your film?
The inspiration for the film came from a kind of mutual appreciation for internet comedy viral videos and the show “America’s Funniest Home Videos” that I happened to share with the producer of the film, Levi Agee. A few years ago, we were sitting around watching “America’s Funniest Home Videos” and I remember thinking about how absurd and totally weird it was. It’s one of those shows you kind of take for granted, you know? Because it’s always on and it’s been on for like the last 22 years or something and will probably never get cancelled. But actually paying attention to the show and not just having it on in the background is interesting. You start asking questions about the videos like “why exactly again was someone recording this moment before something funny just randomly happened to occur?”. “Cotton County Boys” kind of tries to answer that question. Not that it was a pressing question for our society or anything, but…

3. Can you give us a brief synopsis of your film?
The film is about these three kind of dimwitted, but well-meaning Southern brothers who are put in the position of having to come up with $12,000 really fast in order to save their mother’s house from foreclosure. They decide that the best way to get the money is to fabricate one of those “America’s Funniest Home Videos”-style gags in order to win prize money.

4. What were the biggest challenges and successes you faced on set?
The biggest challenge might have been my lack of experience putting together a narrative film. It had been several years since I had directed an actual narrative piece and just trying to get everything organized was a challenge. I had been doing mostly documentary work for the last few years and this was obviously quite a bit different. Also, we had a really small budget. We were trying to make a 30 minute narrative with stunts and visual effects and multiple locations and a pretty decent-sized cast for less than $1,000 bucks. We succeeded in keeping the budget down because we had the most amazing crew and cast in the world. Everyone who worked on this film worked so incredibly hard. I am forever grateful for that. Also, for some reason I decided that it would be a good idea to shoot in Jacksonville in August, which was so insanely hot. That was a big challenge too, but we got through it thanks to everyone’s positivity.

5. What is the festival strategy for your film?
We want to try to enter as many festivals as we can possibly afford to, starting with this one. I’m not sure how much luck we’re going to have with some of the bigger festivals like SXSW, but we’re going to try to get as much festival play out of the film as we possibly can.

6. Does your film have a Arkansas/Southern theme?
Definitely. A huge reason for writing this film was to take advantage of the beauty of the state. Central Arkansas has such an incredible cinematic look and we wanted to bring that out.

7. What changes have you seen in the local film community in the five years since the LRFF was launched?
Just a few years ago, it seemed like if you seriously wanted to make films you had to pack everything up and move to one of the coasts, but now the limitations are vanishing left and right. It’s amazing. There’s so much activity going on in the state now. I remember being in high school and going to a meeting of the film commission in Altus. This was like eight years ago and it was virtually nonexistent, just a few people in a tiny room and the biggest piece of news was that Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie had just finished doing their reality show “The Simple Life” in town. They even took us on a tour of the town – “this is where Paris broke this piece of furniture” and so on. Now you can’t even keep up with all the stuff that’s going on. Amazing films are being shot here all the time. And everyone is really supportive too. Like I said earlier, we couldn’t have made this film without the generosity of our cast and crew. There’s a great pool of really talented people forming here in central Arkansas and they just want to make films. They don’t care about the money or the recognition. They just love film. It’s amazing.

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