- LIVE LAMPOONING: Members of ImprovLittleRock will make fun of this 1944 hixploitation classic.
The Little Rock Film Festival includes Arkansas-related fare aplenty, starting with the Arkansas Filmmakers Forum presentation "Hip Pocket Pitches," hosted by guest producers Tim Jackson and Courtney Pledger. They'll help emerging filmmakers learn how to pitch their films as efficiently as possible (6 p.m. Wednesday, Riverdale).
"Matt Owen Makes Movie Posters" highlights the work of the North Little Rock artist who has earned acclaim for his inspired, minimalist reinterpretations of movie posters, featured in several national publications such as Forbes and Entertainment Weekly. He's created posters for big-time directors such as Jason Reitman, who is a fan of Owen's work, and a set of limited edition prints for the LRFF (3:45 p.m. Thursday, Riverdale).
"Arkansas Shorts: Tricks and Treasures" highlights five short works all connected by the unexpected. In UCA student Kim Risi's "The Man in the Moon," a lunar inmate makes a strange discovery; Jacob and Jeff LeMaster's "The Birthday Present" concerns a birthday wish come true; a young boy learns lessons about the farming life in Michael Gunter's "Chutes and Gates"; three friends must confront supernatural forces in Gerry Bruno's "The Bloodstone Diaries: Thief of All Things"; and a group of neighborhood boys go to war in the political satire "Good Guys vs. Bad Guys" (6:30 p.m. Thursday, 4:10 p.m. Saturday, Riverdale).
The Arkansas International Music Video Competition includes videos from the Natural State and points beyond, as well as live music from some of the nominees (including Randall Shreve & The Sideshow, Epiphany, Life Size Pizza and Messy Sparkles) and a set from VJ g-force (8 p.m. Thursday, Stickyz).
Revenge is a seven-course meal in "Arkansas Shorts: Warm-Blooded Cold-Hearted," featuring Imraan Ismail's marital tragedy "Shattered"; Mark Thiedeman's tale of fraternal jealousy "Cain and Abel"; "Greed," the story of a wealthy criminal on the run in the Ozarks backwoods; Burcham Erwin's "Children of the Mother Beaver," about a pair of siblings traipsing through the 19th century Arkansas wilderness in search of their father's murderer; Jesse Burks' "Fowl," about a trio of young boys and their encounter with a shady couple in a run-down mobile home; "Cold Tracker," Leon Tidwell's tale of a Civil War vet's search for the bushwhackers who killed his wife; and "Ruthless," a '70s crime/exploitation homage directed by Robert Kirkpatrick (8:20 p.m. Thursday, 11 a.m. Saturday, Riverdale).
James Greeson's "Conlon Nancarrow: Virtuoso of the Player Piano" documents the life of the Texarkana, Ark., native, who went from Southwest Arkansas to the rarified world of avant-garde music, with stops along the way in the Spanish Civil War and in Mexico, where he emigrated to escape harassment from the U.S. government for his affiliation with the Communist Party. The film screens with "Running the Distance," Jonathan Engle's documentary about Arkansas State champion mile runner Jake Sanders, and Keith Clements' short doc "Go the Distance: Helping End Homelessness" (4:30 p.m. Friday, 4 p.m. Sunday, Riverdale).
The common elements in "Arkansas Shorts: The Road Most Traveled" are the various complications of family life in the 21st century. Christy Ward's "Tree" concerns a freelance writer who struggles to negotiate relationships past and present; "John Wayne's Bed," from director Sarah Jones, is the story of a man overcoming illness for the love of the outdoors; Joe Dull's "The Proposal" follows Daniel, whose proposal to the woman he loves is complicated by her 1-year-old daughter; and Allison Hogue's "Still Life," which offers a glimpse of a man in the wake of losing everything (6:15 p.m. Friday, 11:30 a.m. Sunday, Riverdale).
Sharon LaCruise's documentary "Daisy Bates: First Lady of Little Rock" illustrates the life of the Arkansas civil rights leader (4:45 Thursday, 6:20 p.m. Friday, Riverdale). "Clean Lines, Open Spaces" examines the mid-century modern school of architecture around the state (8 p.m. Friday, Studio Main, 11 a.m. Saturday, Riverdale). The stereotypical hillbillies in the 1940s hixploitation flick "I'm From Arkansas" get lampooned live, courtesy of LRFF programmer Levi Agee and ImprovLittleRock members Matt DeCample and Katie Campbell, who are hoping to make the "Mystery Science Theater 3000"-type screenings a monthly event (5:15 Saturday, Riverdale). "The Gleaning" is the feature-length debut of filmmakers Brian White and Christopher S. Thompson. The film concerns a cultural clash and deadly secrets in the dying Southern town of Halcyon (8:20 p.m. Saturday, 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Riverdale).