No Longer ‘ALONE’: Short thriller debuts at Ozark Talent Bank

No Longer ‘ALONE’: Short thriller debuts at Ozark Talent Bank

It might feel as though the film industry in Northwest Arkansas dozed through 2020, but Kim Pease and Jason Pitts would beg to disagree.

In 2020, Pease founded The Ozark Talent Bank, “a hub or mall with a wide range of services , businesses, and events all supporting the film, fashion, and music industries” located in downtown Rogers, and Pitts filmed his original script, a short thriller titled “ALONE,” in and around Danville, in Yell County.

What brings Pitts into the Northwest Arkansas story is last week’s screening of his film at The OTB. And Pease promises it’s just the beginning.

Crew members prepare to shoot a scene in the film “ALONE” with Northwest Arkansas actress Marilyn Knapp. The film, which has already earned international awards, will have its regional debut Saturday.
(Courtesy Photo)

“The OTB also has a 36-foot LED runway, a live music stage, and a 16-foot movie screen for red carpet premieres,” she enthuses. “Expect a runway show, film screening, industry socials, and talent showcases every month. We have some pretty heavy hitters and well-respected industry professionals coming on board from all over the country. I’m particularly excited about some soon-to-come announcements about our music program and makeup artist program!”

Pease has been in the entertainment industry for more than 30 years and is a casting director, talent agent at FIA Worldwide Entertainment Agency — which she owns — and the new president of the Arkansas Chapter of Women in Film, an international film group supporting equal representation of women in the film industry.

“I had a literal dream of a place where actors, musicians and models were all together celebrating their crafts,” she says. “I made the mistake of mentioning it to Karen Wagaman, who does economic development in downtown Rogers. She became a tremendous support system and personal cheerleader. I can’t even believe I have the opportunity to be a part of this living, breathing thing, a truly dynamic creative economy blossoming all round me. My dream! So corny. I know. But I just realize I’m truly blessed.”

Pitts, who has a degree in radio, TV and film from the University of North Texas, had left behind his filmmaking dreams — until he wrote “ALONE” for another filmmaker, Jon Baker. The film was never made, and “the screenplay sat in my hard drive for years. When I decided to get back into the business, I figured that ‘ALONE’ would be a great place to start. I loved the theme, characters, and story that Jon and I developed together.”

Created with Pitts at the helm; with Arkansas actors including Marilyn Knapp and Samantha Shaw; and with local crew members like Director of Photography Alex Erwin, “ALONE” to date has 23 official film festival selections and 12 awards, Pitts says, including two best international short film awards, one best director award and one best editor award.

“Kim opening OTB and ‘ALONE’ finishing production just happened to coincide,” Pitts says, “and it seemed like a no-brainer to me for Kim and OTB to screen the film in Northwest Arkansas. Kim has been so supportive to me, my projects, and the Arkansas film community as a whole. I couldn’t be more thankful … I know many other filmmakers in Arkansas agree, and I hope to see many more screenings and other events held at OTB.”

Categories: In The News