Inspired by Richard Linklater’s work for the last 32 years with the Austin Film Society, writer-director Jeff Nichols (“Loving,” “Midnight Special”) is launching a similar nonprofit cinephile organization, the Arkansas Cinema Society (ACS), with an inaugural event (August 24-26) called “Premiere.”
Director David Lowery (“A Ghost Story,” “Pete’s Dragon”) and actor Adam Driver (“Girls,” “Paterson,” “The Force Awakens”) will travel to Little Rock and screen their films followed by Q&As with Nichols at the Ron Robinson Theater in the Little Rock River Market.
“Premiere” will kick off on Thursday, August 24 with a screening of the Sundance rap musical hit “Patti Cake$,” followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers and Nichols. On Friday, August 25, ACS will host an afternoon showing of Jim Jarmusch’s 2016 Cannes drama “Paterson,” starring Driver as an aspiring poet and bus driver. Friday evening, ACS will screen “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” in which Driver Plays villain Kylo Ren. Both films will be followed by a conversation between Nichols and Driver.
On Saturday, August 26, writer and director David Lowery will close out the event with a screening of his 2016 Disney remake of the 1970s musical “Pete’s Dragon,” as well as his latest drama, Sundance breakout “A Ghost Story,” starring Casey Affleck as a ghost haunting the home of his widow, followed by conversations with Nichols.
The ACS is looking to renovate a theater in Little Rock; longer term, Nichols wants to send programs to enlightened theaters around the state and create a grant program to help upgrade needy cinemas. “It’s a shame ‘Moonlight’ can’t be seen in southeast Arkansas, which has a massive African-American population,” said Nichols. “Come on! Let’s get these films to the further reaches of the state.”
Nichols is also impressed with AFS’s Texas filmmaker production fund, which gives rising filmmakers grants that help them cover costs while taking their films to festivals. He vividly recalls being put up in fancy hotels while taking “Shotgun Stories” and “Take Shelter” at festivals where he couldn’t afford to buy a meal.
Nichols recently taught a course with Matthew McConaughey on “Mud” at the University of Texas, and was inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame last March. Next up: he’s writing his first studio movie from scratch, “Alien Nation.”
McKibbon Hospitality, which manages five hotels in Arkansas, is presenting sponsor of “Premiere.”