The Ozark Foothills FilmFest's Indie Film Initiative has awarded $30,000 production grants to three Arkansas film projects. The initiative is funded by the Arkansas Cultural Regional Arts Grant program.
The recipients, chosen among 26 applicants, are Brent and Craig Renaud, Juli Jackson, and Taylor Feltner.
The selection committee included Ozark Foothills FilmFest's Bob Pest, Arkansas Film Commissioner Christopher Crane and Category One Entertainment's Tim Jackson.
The recipients will use funds to make feature-length films shot primarily in Arkansas and using a cast and crew made up of 75% Arkansans.
Read about the winners' projects on the jump.
The Renaud’s project is a documentary titled My Brother’s Heart. To quote the filmmakers, “The cinema verité documentary tells one family’s epic story from the viewpoint of an extraordinary 10-year-old boy named Philip Rusakov, whose twin brother Anthony needed a heart transplant.” Audiences will get an inside view of Arkansas Children’s Hospital, including the operating rooms where Anthony’s many major heart surgeries took place.
Juli Jackson is a Paragould native who graduated from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia with a BFA in Film and Video. She has worked as the Director of Photography on a number of independent feature films, including Beat the Air and God’s Country, Off Route 9. After a three year stint in Los Angeles, contributing camerawork and lighting design on a number of projects, she returned home to Arkansas to pursue her creative work. She directed Sugar (sweet) Tooth (ache), a 35mm animation about a girl who went to surprising lengths to treat a toothache, that premiered at the 2010 Ozark Foothills FilmFest.
Jackson describes her project, titled 45 RPM, as “a dark comedy that extends the world of classic American road movie to multiple mediums while exploring rich Southern history. The story follows Charlie, a struggling New York artist who seeks a connection between her work and her deceased father’s music. She teams up with Louie, an obsessive record collector from Memphis, and begins a search for a rare 45 recording from the 1960’s Arkansas garage rock scene that takes them on a journey across the seldom explored landscape of the new Old South.” Jackson will be filming in Paragould, Jonesboro, Little Rock, Mountain Home, and Memphis.
Taylor Feltner is a Russellville native who studied filmmaking at the Florida State University College of Filmmaking. He began his film career in Los Angeles working for the Allentown Productions documentary film company. His first documentary as a producer, Just Like Us, documented a comedy tour of the Middle East and premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. Just Like Us recently began its national theatrical run.
Feltner describes his grant-funded film, Man Shot Dead, as “an exploration into the often tragic, mysterious, and buried family stories that ripple through generations.” In this case the family mystery is the murder of his grandfather, who was shot in the chest at point blank range and killed in Texas in 1966 by the father of a 17-year-old girl he had followed home in his car. The “Who, What, and Why” of the incident remains a mystery which the documentary will explore in the attempt to gain closure through knowing the truth.