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9 TH ANNUAL
MAY 11-17
2015
Q&A with “Manny” director Ryan Moore

Q&A with “Manny” director Ryan Moore

We are thrilled to have Director Ryan Moore in town to present his documentary, Manny! Narrated by Liam Neeson and directed by Ryan Moore and Academy Award winner Leon Gast, Manny is an inspirational tale of a man who overcame insurmountable odds to become one of the most loved and respected athletes of all time. I asked director Ryan Moore a few questions about his film, which you can watch Friday at 12:45pm at the CALS Ron Robinson Theater, or catch it 12:45pm Saturday at the Rep! What is a one-sentence synopsis of Manny? Ryan Moore: Manny is the untold story of boxer Manny Pacquiao, who through a colorful journey inside and outside the ring, has been labeled as this generation’s Muhammad Ali. What drew you to his story? Why was it important to you to make this film? RM: Since I’m Filipino American and lived in the Philippines, it was a dream of mine to film Manny Pacquiao’s life. His story is what fairy tales are made of. He is arguably one of the greatest athletes and personalities to ever come out of the Philippines. Not only is Manny one of the most significant boxers of this era, but he will go down in the boxing hall of fame for setting the Guiness World Record for 8 weight division titles (remains unbeaten). What was your biggest challenge? RM: Filming Manny’s life everyday is like receiving word that a Category 5 tropical storm may be touching ground every morning. You’re constantly unaware of what may happen – his boxing career, political responsibilities, and personal life were all in flux so...
Q&A with “Two Step” director Alex R. Johnson

Q&A with “Two Step” director Alex R. Johnson

Alex R. Johnson’s Texas thriller Two Step plays tonight at 8:30pm at the Rep. I asked the director about the film, his debut feature, which is also playing this week at Cannes. Catch it again Saturday at 3:30pm! What is a one-sentence synopsis of Two Step? Alex Johnson: “Two Step” is a slow-burn Texas thriller in which the lives of James, a directionless college dropout, and Webb, a career criminal with his back against the wall, violently collide. What drew you to this story? Why was it important to you to make this film? AJ: I didn’t write the film till I moved to Austin about 1 1/2 years ago but I had been holding onto the idea of doing something with “the grandparent scam” – that’s the con Webb is doing in the film – for a long, long time. Something about Texas – and Austin specifically – got my wheels turning with it. I wrote it pretty quickly. We premiered it at SXSW almost exactly a year after I started writing it. What was your biggest challenge? AJ: Besides the usuals, budget and time (we shot it in 17 days), etc. it was trying to balance the humanity and the violence. The film starts as this character piece and then it shifts gears into this very tense and somewhat violent thriller. But we did that on purpose – I wanted you to really care for these characters before the stakes elevate. I was pretty selective about what we showed and how we showed it. It’s a difficult balance but I think we pulled it off. What do...
Q&A with “Five Star” director Keith Miller

Q&A with “Five Star” director Keith Miller

I asked director Keith Miller a few questions about his new film Five Star, which he is in town to present along with his lead actor, James “Primo” Grant. You can watch the film, and meet both of them, at screenings Thursday at 6pm and Friday at 8:30pm, both at the Rep. Here’s the synopsis: “In a blend of fiction and reality, FIVE STAR explores the relationship between two men – Primo, an actual gang leader in the East New York Bloods, and John, a young man trying to decide whether gang life is the path for him. As Primo mentors John in the workings of the gang world, a secret threatens both men’s futures. The film is a nuanced portrait of two men struggling with gang life, and an intimate contemplation on manhood in the modern urban environment.” What drew you to this story and why was it important to you to make this film? Keith Miller: I want to make films that address real world issues in a deeply human way while always remaining conscious of a few key issues. Among them are issues of representation, masculinity, social and political realities, and ways of telling a story that feels of our time. What was your biggest challenge in making it? KM: Since I choose to work in the space between so-called reality and fiction, there’s always the risk that a lot of reality spills in. That’s why I do it, but at times that gets pretty messy, unpredictable and difficult to keep under control. When that happened I had to keep a pretty cool head and be...
LRFF 2014 Day 3 Highlights

LRFF 2014 Day 3 Highlights

We have some sweet treats in store for you at the LRFF this Wednesday, with a great lineup of movies, shorts and parties: Watch shorts made by Arkansans in Arkansas Shorts starting at 5pm at the REP. These home grown stories are on three themes: Arkansas Up Close, Face to Face, and Altered States.  Check movie timings and descriptions here: http://bit.ly/1k2hbeW Later at 5:45pm watch Zachary Wigon’s The Heart Machine; a titillating romantic drama about how a long distance cyber romance goes sour when obsession and distrust come into the mix. The fantastic Robert Greene and talented Brandy Burre will be in the house tonight to present their Spotlight Film Actress! When Brandy decides to reclaim her life as an actor, the domestic world sheʼs carefully created crumbles around her. Actress is both a present tense portrait of a dying relationship and an exploration of a complicated woman, performing the role of herself, as she faces the desires that exist outside of her home. And cap the night off with the Made in Arkansas party at The Fold at 10pm; because we at the LRFF know how to throw a sick party!  Check out our schedule for more...
Filmmaker Q&A: “Shoes of Hayim” and “Valley Inn”

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...