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MAY 11-17

7 Questions with Bryan Stafford, Director of Ballerina

Director Bryan Stafford

1. Are you an Arkansas Native? If so where are you from? If not, How did you get here?
No, i was born in Memphis TN. I was adopted by a family from Arkansas when I was 6 months old. I grew up in Pine Bluff and then went to design school in Texas, eventually after working in advertising and commercial video production I moved back to Little Rock and settled here to start a family.

2. What is the inspiration for your film?
I have two children, so the first time I read the story I wanted to explore a place most people never have to go. I wanted to see if we could capture a conversation that would make the audience feel desperate enough to believe and care about the characters.
Of course the visual and audible influences of black and white films and TV from the 1950’s are a huge inspiration on Ballerina.

3. Can you give us a brief synopsis of your film?
Frank Gross seems to be a man who has it all: a quiet home in the suburbs, a good job, a daughter that loves him. Then, on a day much like today, there comes a knock at the door and his orderly world slides sideways into the darkness beyond what we know. Ballerina is a provocative, thoughtful drama about love, time, what we can prevent, and what we can’t no matter how much we might want to.

4. What were the biggest challenges and successes you faced on set?
Challenges: lots of dialog, ipod game volume and late lunch.
Successes: Friends, collaboration, awesome lunch and hopefully a damn good little film

In all seriousness, I think I can speak for everyone involved, that our day went really really smooth. I am blessed to have been working with the crew from Ballerina over the past 2 1/2 years on various other film and commercial projects.
It is always great when you can be so in tuned with the people around you on a project, it makes the day go well and the end product spectacular. I think that all the different pockets of filmmakers in little rock right now for sure have a great since of friendship and loyalty to each other and that makes all the effort and hard work worth it at the end of the day.

5. What is the festival strategy for your film?
I really haven’t finalized a full strategy. I have entered a half dozen well known festivals so far.

6. Does your film have a Arkansas/Southern theme?
The story is set in little rock and all the cast and crew are from Arkansas, but Ballerina has no particular Arkansas / southern theme.

7. What changes have you seen in the local film community in the five years since the LRFF was launched?
Over the past two years since I have been in film full time the community has grown to be a thriving industry. We have become capable of competing with any other city and state with the talent we have in Arkansas. If we all stick together we can make something lasting and sustainable from the momentum we have right now. Very exciting times and I have to say I am just grateful to be a part of it all.

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