Four Minutes, Four Questions Blake Elder, Rockhill Studios

Four Minutes, Four Questions  Blake Elder, Rockhill Studios

Viewers won’t see any familiar Northwest Arkansas faces in the just-released film “The Quarry.” But behind the scenes, Rockhill Studios of Fayetteville was at the reins.

Rockhill Studios was founded in 2017 by mother-and-son team Kerri Elder and Blake Elder “with the idea that the state of Arkansas had a great need for professional studio production services,” Blake Elder says.

“My background has been in cinematography, and I have been creating films for over 10 years,” he explains. “My mother’s background is in business, with experience in real estate development and finance. Together, we noticed a void in filmmaking opportunities in Arkansas.

“We felt the need to offer digital media content and video production services in an area of the state where there was not a lot of infrastructure geared toward providing such a service,” he continues. “Both Kerri and I didn’t believe the state of Arkansas was going to be looked at as a viable area for the film industry unless there was a full-service studio in the area.”

“The Quarry” was slated to debut in March at the 2020 SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas, but once again, covid-19 got in the way. Instead, the film was released straight to on-demand outlets like Amazon, AT&T, Cox, DIRECTV, Fandango and Google Play, where it is currently available. Here, Blake Elder answers a few questions about the film for What’s Up!

Q. When and where was “The Quarry” shot?

A. “The Quarry” was shot in the spring of 2019 just outside of New Orleans, La.

Q. Tell us a little bit about the plot?

A. The film is directed by Scott Teems and co-written with Andrew Brotzman and is based on a 1995 Damon Galgut novel. It’s about a drifter (Shea Whigham) who murders a traveling preacher and takes his identity at a small-town church. The local congregation seems to like his sermons, but the police chief (Michael Shannon) has his suspicions of the man. A discovery at a local quarry forces the killer to fight for his freedom.

Q. How did the idea for the film come to Rockhill?

A. In the fall of 2018, two talented producers, Kristin Mann (an Arkansas native) and Laura D. Smith, approached my mother and I about coming on board as executive producers. We had previously worked with them on the film “To The Stars” that premiered at Sundance in 2019. With our great experience working with Kristin and Laura, the screenplay and the star-studded cast, it was a no-brainer for us to hop on board.

Michael Shannon, Shea Whigham and Bobby Soto star in “The Quarry,” a Rockhill Studios film which went straight to on-demand this spring when South by Southwest was canceled.
(File Photo)

Q. What’s next for Rockhill? What are y’all doing during quarantine? And what should we expect to see next?

A. We have been staying busy on the commercial side of things. We have been doing a lot of editing work and smaller (safer) commercial shoots.

We wrapped up a feature film in the fall of 2019 called “Freedom’s Path.” It was shot entirely in Northwest Arkansas. “Freedom’s Path” is set during the Civil War, a story of a unique friendship forged between a Union soldier and a runaway slave that centers around the Underground Railroad. It is currently in post-production, and we are expecting it to premiere this coming fall/winter.

We are also doing some pre-production work for a few future films, so we will be ready to go once it’s safe again.


Go Online!

‘The Quarry’

Available on Amazon, AT&T, Bell TV, Cineplex VOD, Cinepolis, Cox, DIRECTV, Dish Echostar, Encripta, Fandango, Frontier, Google Play, Indemand, iTunes, Microsoft, OnDemand Vubiquity MX, Rogers VOD, Sasktel, Shaw Media, Sony PSN, Telus, VideoTron, Vubiquity and Vudu TVOD, according to Blake Elder of Rockhill Studios.

Categories: In The News