Filmmaker and Little Rock native Jeff Nichols has launched a year-round cinema organization in Arkansas called Arkansas Cinema Society.
According to an exclusive interview with IndieWire, Nichols will launch ACS in Little Rock, which has neither a film festival nor an art house cinema. “I tried to think of something to cover all those bases,” he told IndieWire.
The mission of the ACS, according to its website, is to build a film community in Arkansas where film lovers can watch films, share ideas, connect with each other and nurture the new and existing film talent within our state through increased exposure to filmmakers and their art.
Nichols (“Mud”, “Loving”) told IndieWire he is drawing inspiration from Richard Linklater’s work with the Austin Film Society in Texas, as well as Ebertfest in Champaign, Ill., founded by late critic Roger Ebert.
“It was an extended weekend of curated films curated by Roger all in one theater, with no cross-programming, not like any other festival,” Nichols told IndieWire. “They get together, show a movie, and after talking to a filmmaker, go eat lunch, then go see another movie and have cheeseburgers, then go to a midnight movie. It felt like a group of people talking about cinema. It felt like a way to approach the idea of a festival, and a year-round approach for the Arkansas Cinema Society.”
Nichols now lives in Austin and is teaching a course with Matthew McConaughey on “Mud” at the University of Texas. He was inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame this month, according to IndieWire.
The ACS will host film events, seminars, panel discussions and screenings throughout the year. Nichols will host three filmmaking seminars in ACS’s first year, according to IndieWire, starting with the first event Aug. 24-26. He plans to launch the first ACS film festival in 2018 to take place every year in Little Rock.
Nichols chairs the ACS board of directors that includes actress Mary Steenburgen; former governor Mike Beebe; Alison Williams, who serves as Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson’s chief of staff; and Skip Rutherford, Dean of the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service.
ACS executive director and Little Rock native Kathryn Tucker, an assistant director turned producer, will help to raise money and run the organization.