Film has the power to create change, elicit emotions and start important conversations within and amongst communities.
Four collaborative film showcases will be cohosted this year by Walton Arts Center and Fayetteville Film Fest, designed to bring diverse and global cinema to local audiences to enrich our understanding of our neighbors and of the world at large.
Fayetteville Film Fest and Walton Arts Center will present an evening of film featuring works created by Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) on Saturday, Feb. 3 at 8pm.
The BIPOC Filmmaker Showcase presents these minority voices to honor their stories and bring their artistic expression to the forefront. We asked each director a few questions to gain insight into the inspiration behind their films.
Denzel Jenkins – The Measure of a Man
Denzel Jenkins, a Los Angeles based producer, shot his film The Measure of a Man for his thesis project at USC. His film was inspired by a heated conversation he had with his father over the phone. Jenkins is a survivor of rape/sexual assault, and during his conversation with his father, it was revealed that his father was molested when he was young. Jenkins explained, “that experience along with having a mentor that pushed me to be bolder with my storytelling inspired me to write this story.”
The Measure of a Man has been shown at the USC screening, The Micheaux Film Festival, Arkansas Cinema Society Filmland, Fayetteville Film Festival and BHERC Reel Black Men Short Film Showcase.
Jenkins ultimately hopes this film helps viewers create healing spaces for anyone who has experienced a related trauma. “I also want people’s minds to shift, and to treat this topic without it coming across as taboo – like these things don’t happen to men.”
Daniel Beltram – Baking
Daniel Beltram’s film Baking was inspired by the idea of the “American Dream” and how this dream is not what is used to be for second and third generation immigrants. Beltram explained, “my inspiration for this film was this feeling of being somewhere that is supposedly better, opportunity wise, from where my family came from, but not feeling that to necessarily be true.” Beltram features his best friends in his film and adapted the story to match his best friend’s experiences, “he came to the U.S. at the age of eight and it hasn’t always been easy for him, but together we’ve always dreamed big and punched above our weight.”
Baking was shot in both Cabot and Conway, Arkansas because Beltram felt those locations fit his experience growing up as a Hispanic in a small town and the quiet misconceptions people have about Latinos. “Being Latino is such a diverse ethnicity in itself and I’m learning more and more about the incredible diaspora of people across Latin America – and I’m constantly inspired.”
When asked what he wants viewers to take away from the film, Beltram said “I hope viewers can watch the film and understand that this is a story about being an immigrant. I feel like a lot of people my age are stuck in a weird place where they don’t feel American, but they don’t also feel like where their family is from. I hope viewers can gain an insight or at least relate to that constant battle with cultural identity.”
Michael Day – All Units
All Units is a film inspired by a dating experience from one of the cast members along with the 2020 protests surrounding George Floyd, Breanna Taylor and Amaud Aubrey. The film was shot by Michael Day in Northwest Arkansas at a cast members’ residence and My-t-by-design.
All Units has been featured in multiple film festivals across the U.S. and has hosted private screenings. The film has also been part of multiple showcases in Arkansas. Filmmaker Michael Day says he hopes “people take away from All Units that for change to happen, we must all work together for a common goal: to be free.”
Neba Evans – Song of the Bluff
Song of the Bluff draws inspiration from the negative stigma & stories surrounding Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Producer Neba Evans shot 90% of the film in Pine Bluff (as an alumna of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff) and explained that the community is near and dear to her heart. “I want viewers to know that there are amazing things that are happening in the city, and that community members are working to nurture their narrative and empower their town!”
This film has been shown at Nurture the Narrative, which Evans co-curated with Micheaux Award and Film Labs.
WALTON ARTS CENTER & FAYETTEVILLE FILM FEST UPCOMING EVENTS
Additional upcoming film showcases include Arkansas Filmmakers on Saturday, April 6; Indie Films Artosphere on Saturday, May 11; and LGBTQIA Filmmakers on Thursday, June 13.
Tickets to all these film showcases are available now for $15 plus applicable fees. Purchase tickets by visiting waltonartscenter.org, by calling 479.443.5600 weekdays 10am until 5pm or in-person at the Walton Arts Center Box Office weekdays 10am until 2pm.
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