1. Are you an Arkansas Native? If so where are you from? If not, How did you get here?
I’m native Arkansas through and through. I’ve been here for 33 years. I grew up in Ferndale about 20 miles outside the city limits. Its decisively country. Creeks, woods, fields things of that sort were my playground! And I had to ride my bike 3 miles to get to my friend’s house! (typically NOT in the snow and it wasn’t ALL uphill)
2. What is the inspiration for your film?
Ed Lowry wrote “The Jester” and sent me the script in late 2010. What immediately gripped me about “The Jester” was its honest humanity. Our jester char-actor has been banished from the kingdom and can no longer perform in the royal courts. His whole world is turned upside down and its a story that explores the heartbreak or sense of failure or lack of purpose anyone might be processing in a situation like that. I think that’s socially relevant. Given our economic condition, there’s a lot of people struggling who can probably relate. “The Jester” will speak volumes to anyone who’s ever lost their job, particularly if it was a job you loved. Of course the film does take a few twists and it has some really funny moments! But ultimately the audience will feel crushed and then inspired. Its an interesting experience. That’s the kind of stories I like to tell. That’s what inspired me about it. Its a story that’s full of metaphor, that beautifully expresses that life is riddled with inconceivably hard situations but ultimately says “never give up”, “there is hope”.
3. Can you give us a brief synopsis of your film?
A Jester has been banished by the king. He now finds himself homeless and without a sense of purpose. In his defeat, he discovers hope in hopelessness.
4. What were the biggest challenges and successes you faced on set?
The biggest challenge was managing cops and angry neighbors on the morning of day one! We had permissions to access and film in a wooded ravine. However, some of the neighbors disputed where the property line really was. So it was really ‘fun’ meeting with the property manager and cops and negotiating with angry neighbors between every singly take that first morning. In the biggest success category, I’d have to say post-production took the cake. We added in digitally added castles with wind-tossed-pennants, birds and we added sunlight to trees… and that was just the first shot of the film! 90% of the sound was completely done in post. All the folly, clothing textures, some ADR, (though this is primarily a film without speaking), skin tone tweaking… it all turned out seamless. But I suppose it is arguable that our biggest success was somehow managing NOT getting kicked off location on day one!
5. What is the festival strategy for your film?
We’ll be doing the ‘festival dance’ over the next year. We’ll initially start with festivals that tend to feature more positively messaged films. These are typically smaller festivals, but not all of them. However, we do feel “The Jester” is a solid piece that offers a unique flare that some of the really large festivals might like as well. So we definitely have our favorites picked out here on the front end. Ultimately, we’ll be pushing it out to all the ones we feel have a proven market for this kind of film.
6. Does your film have a Arkansas/Southern theme?
No. Our film has the finger print of some very fine Arkansas talent, but we’ve created a film that submerses the audience in medieval times. This film is possibly England… but not England, Arkansas.
7. What changes have you seen in the local film community in the five years since the LRFF was launched?
For me, the awareness of the presence of a film community as increased so much. I’m sure that’s attribute to the sheer volume of films coming out of the state. But its much more in the open. Obviously, the Arkansas Film Commission has had a lot of successes over the past 5 years. The most notable is arguably the tax incentive. But there’s just been this swell of skill and talent emerge and it feels like the industry on the verge of ratcheting it up yet another notch! That’s something that feels wonderful. Its almost cliche’ but its so true, there’s a camaraderie between us all. There’s an availability to anyone needing critique or input and its offered with genuine professionalism that helps make all this jive. Its very exciting indeed.
If you have a project, film news, or any rumors on film you would like to mention email me at David@dogtownpictureshow.com