RIP Charles B. Pierce | Rock Candy

RIP Charles B. Pierce



Charles B. Pierce, the Arkansas-raised independent filmmaker famous for 1971's "The Legend of Boggy Creek," died over the weekend in Tennessee. The filmmaker, who grew up in Hampton, is the namesake of the Little Rock Film Festival's Best Arkansas film award. Pierce was 71.

Derek Jenkins wrote about Pierce in the Times before a retrospective program at the LRFF in 2008.

Back in the day, regional filmmakers were a scrappier bunch than the current crop of nominally independent filmmakers. They pulled  together shoestring budgets from a variety of interests, often used locals for talent and wheeled and dealed their way into drive-in theaters all over the South. Their outputs often raked in voluminous dividends, though only relative to their modest budgets.

Charles B. Pierce, Arkansas's own maverick regionalist, qualifies as a state treasure not because his films are especially great, but because his spirit of determination separates real independence from the stale marketing category we call the independents. His films may have been made with the largest possible profit margin in mind, but there are endlessly easier ways to make a fast buck. Filmmaking in the '70s was a much more harrowing task than today's technology allows. His work had to have as its root a genuine love for moving pictures.

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