At the Little Rock Film Festival it has been our mission from the beginning to promote inspired documentary filmmaking. We have sought out non-fiction work with strong, emotional narratives, over outright political, issue oriented films. We believe that a documentary film should succeed or fail on the same merit as a scripted fiction film, and have tended to favor documentaries in the cinema verite tradition of greats like the Maysles Brothers and Frederick Wiseman. In these films a hot button issue is not always front and center, and the sit-down interview does not necessarily drive the narrative. Directors often embed themselves into the story for months or even years at a time, and utilize small handheld recording equipment and natural lighting, in order to achieve a greater intimacy with the subjects. The goal is to reveal larger truths thru character, rather than proselytizing. Over the last few years we have seen increasingly adventurous filmmakers taking cues from great movies of the past to create uninhibited work that is redefining nonfiction cinema. Some of the new films are reminiscent of the fly on the wall movies of the verite greats, but many of the films are bringing new aesthetics to the documentary, as with last year’s groundbreaking Leviathan, or the 2013 LRFF Grand Prize winner, Dirty Wars. Still other films are blurring the lines between fact and fiction all together, scripting lines for documentary stars, or even creating elaborate choreographed sequences reminiscent of a Hollywood movie set, as seen in this year’s extraordinary Oscar nominated film The Act of Killing. The old dogmas of documentary film are being gleefully disregarded. Filmmaker...
The LRFF founders are pleased to announce the creation of the Arkansas Motion Picture Institute (AMPI). Hollywood Film Producer Courtney Pledger named first ED. Press release below. NORTH LITTLE ROCK, AR (August 16, 2012) – The Arkansas Motion Picture Institute (AMPI) founded in 2011, a statewide, nonprofit organization providing leadership in film education, while supporting growth and excellence in film, television and digital media, has named film executive and native Arkansan Courtney Pledger as its first executive director. Pledger has served as a producer in both film and television. She currently has a pair of films in pre-production “BOO” at DreamWorks Animation, starring Seth Rogen, and Ricky Gervais’ “Flanimals” at Universal. Prior to her most recent position as senior vice president of Radical Pictures, Pledger served as executive producer for “Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant,” starring Academy Award Nominee John C. Reilly. In addition to managing the start-up of AMPI, Pledger’s immediate priority is serving as interim director of the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival (HSDFF) which returns for its 21st year October 12 -21, 2012. Susan Altrui, board chairman of the Hot Springs Documentary Film Institute (HSDFI) said that AMPI’s support of HSDFF is greatly needed and signals that AMPI is committed to the art of film. The HSDFI has suffered some hard times in the past few years and is in need of strong leadership to produce a top-notch festival in October. By providing Courtney Pledger as this year’s festival director, AMPI is helping to save one of the most important film events in the state of Arkansas,“ Altrui said. Film producer Vince Insalaco will serve...