Director’s cut with Kathryn Tucker: Countdown to Filmland, Beebe documentary

by Roby Brock ([email protected]) 1,460 views 

Director, producer and Arkansas Cinema Society executive director Kathryn Tucker is counting down the days to this year’s Filmland festival in Little Rock. As timing would have it, she’ll be making her directorial debut the same week.

Filmland, the ACS’s revamped festival to celebrate the art of cinema, will be held Aug. 22-25 at the CALS Ron Robinson Theater in Little Rock’s River Market. The four-day event’s mission is to nurture and inspire filmmakers in Arkansas by exposing Arkansans to filmmakers and their art.

This year’s featured guest will be Andrew Stanton, co-writer of legendary Pixar classics such as Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and Wall-E.

How does one land such an A-list movie writer, director, producer and voice talent?

“Simple answer. Jeff Nichols is willing to call in favors every year for us, and he calls up his buddies and asks them to come. And a lot of times, they say ‘yes.’ So we’re getting this incredible filmmaker because of him,” Tucker said in a recent Talk Business & Politics interview. Nichols is a Little Rock native and successful film director whose work includes “Mud,” “Midnight Special” and “Loving.” Nichols and Tucker were in high school together at Little Rock Central High.

Stanton and Nichols will interact with those in attendance at Filmland, now in its second year.

“Really, the model is that Jeff has conversations with these filmmakers on-stage after each screening. And we try to allow enough time for it to be a really engaged, long conversation about the making of the film, and the process. And I, personally, am so excited to hear about how Pixar, how they make Pixar movies. I mean, it is an insane process that is very exciting,” she said.

Stanton also directed several episodes of the wildly popular “Stranger Things,” a science-fiction, horror web television series that streams on Netflix. Tucker said there will be a screening of two episodes of “Stranger Things” during Filmland.

The week of Filmland will also coincide with Tucker’s directorial debut. She’s led a project for AETN’s “Men & Women of Distinction” series focused on the life of former Gov. Mike Beebe. The documentary will be screened on Wednesday, Aug. 21 at 6:30 p.m. at the Ron Robinson Theater with a pre-screening reception and post-screening after-party. Additionally, the documentary will air Aug. 29, at 7 p.m. statewide on AETN, which produced the film in partnership with the Arkansas Cinema Society.

Tucker said the documentary has been in process for four years.

“It’s really an exciting moment for me, personally, but also for it to be about Governor Mike Beebe, who is just an incredible public servant and his career,” she said. “I really didn’t have to do much, it could have just been him talking for an hour, and it would have been a great film.”

The documentary tracks Beebe’s early life growing up in a poor single-mom home, explores his college days and early career in law and politics, and culminates with his statewide elections to Attorney General and Governor. Some of the interview subjects in the film include Morril Harriman, Matt DeCample, Johnny Allison, Colette Honorable, John Brummett and Ginger Beebe.

“I just was in awe of his [Beebe’s] ability to lead, and speak, and eloquently explain his ideas,” Tucker said. “He just had this long-term command of the process that was awe-inspiring. And he was so dedicated that it… was really an honor to be able to make the film.”

You can learn more about the Arkansas Cinema Society and Filmland at this link. You can also watch Tuckers’ full interview in the video below.