Day 5 of the LRFF was even a little more Southern-themed than usual—I made sure to check out The Dynamiter, filmed next door in Mississippi. This film has that special quality of feeling so eerily accurate largely because two of the lead characters were not only natives of the area but acquaintances. It’s also one of the many films showing this year that center on the interior emotional lives of children, especially as they struggle with loss or lack of family. In the post-screening interview with Democrat-Gazette‘s movie columnist Philip Martin, the lead actor, William Ruffin, who plays Robbie, revealed that the poverty his character lived in was probably characteristic of at least half of the kids he grew up with in the Greenville, Mississippi area. Amusingly, Patrick Rutherford, who plays his feckless and manipulative brother Lucas, admitted that the inspiration for his character he took from his twin brother, who was “the bad one” of the two. Hearing these lesser-experienced actors speak with palpable energy and enthusiasm was pretty thrilling—their film is a moving and realistic portrayal that will hopefully garner more critical attention. You’ve got another chance to catch it today at 1:30 PM.
One of the most provocative and poignant documentaries featured here at LRFF this year is Bill and Turner Ross’s Tchoupitoulas, a verite-style documentary that captures a deeply impressionistic portrait of New Orleans, especially the French Quarter, at night. The film premiered at SXSW this year and immediately received serious critical response. Following three brothers from Algiers, a community located across the river from the Quarter, as they go out for a night on the town. Except they’re not your usual party animals—they’re preteens, accompanied by their dog, taking in all of the sights and sounds over the course of an evening. There are stunning visuals, hilarious jokes, and wonderful tension as we follow the boys on their various explorations. I spoke with one of the co-directors, Bill Ross, after the screening about how long the process of filming took, which he explained was basically a year of going out all night with these kids, which lead to the brilliant editing of the film—it’s cut to appear as if it’s one nearly everlasting night. All of the footage was pure documentary, but cobbled together into one epic fantasy that’s actually the vibrant and unbelievable reality that is New Orleans. Make sure you check this one out—it screens again today at 1:35 PM.
After the showing in the new Oxford American offices on South Main St. in Little Rock, the legendary True Soul Revue took the stage and in the adjacent room, folks munched on fried chicken and other delicious Southern snacks. And, in a curious turn of events, the Oxford American Award for Best Southern Film was not announced as planned, simply because the competition this year is too thick and our judge is still deliberating. However, that’s all the more incentive to come out tonight for the festival closing Awards Gala!
Remember that today is your last chance to check out the films we’ve been crazy about all week, and then some. Be sure to catch our closing night film, Stella Days, starring Martin Sheen. About a small town in Ireland in the 1950s torn asunder by its controversial movie house, it’s a charming way to conclude your 2012 festival experience.
And don’t forget about the wrap party! After the Gala, after the closing night film, we’ll be heading back to the Argenta Arts District for our final send-off at Crush Wine Bar. It’ll be a sweet way to say goodbye and we hope that you join us.