- CHAMBLISS: Arkansas auteur.
As in years past, the LRFF remains committed to showcasing Arkansas film. To that end, there are two programs of shorts, two full-length documentaries, five narrative features and a number of panel discussions and special programs — all Arkan-centric. Here are a few highlights:
“Arkansas Auteur: Phil Chambliss” Film geeks, through other festivals or bootleg VHS tapes, know at least bits of this Locust Bayou-based filmmaker's oeuvre. After being championed several years back by Lucinda Williams, Chambliss has won the heart of cognoscenti, who've dubbed him and his films things like “America's first folk-art filmmaker” and “backwoods Beckett.” See for yourself in this program, which features three short films and a Q&A with Chambliss and cast members. Little Rock Chamber of Commerce, 1 p.m. Sun. May 17.
“Hand of Fatima: The music and writing of Robert Palmer” Not a film, though Palmer's daughter, Augusta, will show clips of her long-in-the-making doc about her dad, “The Hand of Fatima.” Instead, it's a panel discussion on the life and legacy of Robert Palmer, the Little Rock native who was the New York Times' first pop music critic, who wrote the seminal book on Delta blues “Deep Blues,” and who produced essential albums from the likes of Junior Kimbrough and Cedell Davis. Derek Jenkins is moderating and Palmer's widow JoBeth Briton and Robert Cochran of UA feature on the panel. Little Rock Chamber of Commerce, 2:30 p.m. Sat., May 16.
“LRFF Youth” Throughout Friday and Saturday, the festival offers a range of programming geared towards young folks, ages mostly in the middle to high school range. Celebrity names like Ray McKinnon (“That Evening Sun”) and Graham Gordy (“War Eagle, Arkansas”) join local industry professionals leading the sessions, which range from basic video-making instruction to screenwriting seminars to a panel on 3-D filmmaking. Registration is closed, though those interested in registering for next year can e-mail Casey Sanders at firstname.lastname@example.org).
“Slumberland” A moody, atmospheric-looking first feature from local director John Schafer and writer and actor Rhett Brinkley. The latter stars, as Rhett, a college dropout and tragic romantic drifting through his mid-20s. Here's guessing there will be folks who can identify at each screening. Zach Turner and Laura Fleischauer also star. Riverdale 10, 7:45 p.m. Thu., May 14; 6:30 p.m. Sat., May 16.