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MAY 11-17

LRFF2012 Day3 Highlights

On day 3, I had a chance to catch several anticipated films. For starters, TEDDY BEAR, about a Danish bodybuilder’s quest for romance in Pattaya, Thailand. The theater was full and, post-screening, the audience response was overwhelmingly pleased. Then, I introduced the second feature to be included at the LRFF by Martha Stephens, Pilgrim Song, which follows a young protagonist, James, as he sets out to hike Kentucky’s Sheltowee Trace after losing his teaching job and foundering in his relationship. Stephens discussed her relationship to the Southern scenes and characters in the film—everything from old-time music, cloggers, and river baptisms—revealing that these were all real aspects of her life growing up in rural Kentucky (some of the characters are even her relatives). She also spoke about the length of time it took her to scout for the breathtaking locations on the lengthy trail—at least a year—admitting that it was quite a task for the crew loaded down with equipment to hike around during filming. Finally, I was lucky enough to catch the LRFF premiere of the highly anticipated Beasts of the Southern Wild—easily this year’s most buzzed-about festival film. There wasn’t an empty seat in the house. It’s a dazzling piece of cinema, told through the perspective of its compelling main character, Hushpuppy, a little girl who lives in a poor wetland community called the Bathtub, full of raucous characters and a whimsical grasp on reality. Part adventure story, part coming-of-age tale, Beasts has garnered praise recently at Sundance and Cannes—and you can still catch it right here in Little Rock, only one of the few other festivals where it will...