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MAY 11-17

Filmmaker Q&A: “Shoes of Hayim” and “Valley Inn”

During last night’s opening night extravaganza I had a chance to meet and interview two visiting filmmakers Zak Heald and Kenn Woodard.


What is your short film and when is it showing?

Zak Heald: It is “The Shoes of Hayim” and it screens Tuesday night at 9:15pm. It’s about a young boy and his struggles with loosing his father to the war in Iraq and the moral struggles both between him and his father, as well as the effects it has on the family.

What are your roles in the film?

ZH: Kenn Woodard is the Director and the Producer as well as the star of the film, and I’m executive producer and director of photography.  Amber Lindley is a producer as well, and Stacy Muntz is our associate producer.

Is this your first time showing in the Little Rock Film Festival?

ZH: This is my first year as an official selection in the festival, I screened last year during the student select category.

Is there a meaning for the title or is it something to best be discovered by seeing the film?

ZH: I think it could be a little bit of both. Hayim means “new life” in Hebrew, but other than that I really think you should watch the film and really kind of discover what we mean by that.

Kenn, you wrote the film as well?

Kenn Woodard:  Zak and I wrote together; we tend to do that. We were working on another project and we just started talking about a story line, and we ended up collaborating. Then it took us about six months and then all of the sudden it came up. Zak called me and I said alright, let’s do it. Then we shot it in about 18 hours.

Kenn, what is “Valley Inn” about?

KW (Associate Producer of Valley Inn): Valley Inn is about a young New Jersey girl who comes to Arkansas to sell Christian books, she has a few adventures and meets interesting quirky characters and discovers some things about herself and a small town.

Where else have you screened it?

KW: This is the second festival, we have also screened at the Palm Beach International Festival about a month ago.

What has surprised you most about the Little Rock Film Festival?

ZH: This year, the biggest surprise for us was the massive upscale of everything.  We came out last year and there was almost a sense that the festival was too big for the city, there was a lot of people here, the venues just didn’t seem to hold everybody. But as we’ve shown up this week it’s been incredible to walk around.  It feels like this year we are being welcomed in with open arms. The venues are bigger, people are ready to take you in, and this place is ready to go.

KW: I think the LRFF is a great place to showcase for the talent that exists in Arkansas. I think there is just a plethora of talent both on the crew side and the talent side. I think it’s just time for us to start making these movies here, more and more. I think the state is a beautiful state. With the incentive packages for filmmakers it’s great, plus I just think there is tremendous talent here.

Both films, The Shoes of Hayim and Valley Inn can be seen tonight and later on this week.  Valley Inn screens tonight at 8:30pm at the CALS Ron Robinson Theater, and The Shoes of Hayim will be showing as part of the Arkansas Shorts 5: Lessons In Loss tonight at 9:15pm at The REP.

By Ross Macartney