The World In One Night: Fayetteville Film Fest brings its best to Artosphere

The World In One Night: Fayetteville Film Fest brings its best to Artosphere
MONICA HOOPER
mhooper@nwadg.com

An artificial flower shop owner grows forbidden flowers in secret. A man walks near an interstate to see rare birds. Women divers harvest the waters around Jeju Island. Rock climbers endure 24 hours of ascent. Dancers share the history of a Guatemalan island. A drop of water settles a philosophical debate. These six stories showcasing humans’ complicated relationship with nature will highlight the Indie Films Artosphere event at 7 p.m. May 26 in the Starr Theater at Walton Arts Center.

Russell Sharman says that the all-volunteer Board of Directors for the Fayetteville Film Fest chose the films from previous entries to their festival with an eye toward Artosphere’s emphasis on nature and sustainability.

“We went back a few years actually in our catalog and looked for films that we felt best connected with the themes that make Artosphere such an interesting arts festival,” Sharman explains. “It’s a really interesting mix. We’ve got some documentary films; we’ve got some straight narrative, short films; and we have some really amazing animation as well. Each one of them, I think, has a sort of a different imagery connection. It’s a bit cliche, but there’s a little bit of something for everyone.

“There are some really sort of abstract and beautiful, kind of lyrical animated films about our relationship to water, in particular, which I think are really interesting,” he says of the films. “Henyo, Women of the Sea” is an animated film that focuses on Haenyo, the diving women of Jeju in South Korea. “Aqua” is an animated film that ponders the question: “Is physical survival more important than spiritual purity” with the answer found in a drop of water. A narrative short film, “Soul of the Sea,” unveils the story of a dancer in a Garifuna community on the coast of Guatemala.

“And we’ve got a documentary [“The 24”] about climbers at Horseshoe Canyon, in Jasper, Arkansas — so a local film about this 24-hour climbing competition, which is super fun. We also have some really interesting narrative films like ‘Hypoxia,’ which is a beautifully filmed, dystopian view of a life where the government has banned all organic plants. And there’s this one renegade florist who is keeping flowers alive. So some really imaginative stuff. And like I say, a little bit for everyone.”

Fayetteville residents may also recognize a familiar face in “Mike the Birdman,” a documentary about a local bird watcher, Mike Mlodinow. “It’s just a wonderful sort of veritae documentary with some folks who know him and love him about a local character who loves birds right here in Fayetteville.”

Sharman explains that this year’s Artosphere event was a fun way to share the films from previous festivals hosted by Fayetteville Film Fest. “We’re really impressed with how many films sort of organized around that idea,” he shares. He says that the partnership with Walton Arts Center helps the festival to support its mission to bring world-class films to the state and build meaningful relationships with filmmakers, as well as nurture the art of filmmaking by uniting a community of creators and supporters.

Throughout the year, the Fayetteville Film Fest hosts screenings, workshops and more for aspiring filmmakers. They also offer the Micheaux Award and Film Lab which are “designed to support and encourage creation and authorship of Arkansas-based projects from Black, Indigenous and filmmakers of color” with financial assistance from the award and year-round educational and workshop opportunities with the Film Lab. The award is named for Oscar Micheaux, who was the first major Black filmmaker. He directed and produced 44 films throughout his career that challenged negative stereotypes of Black people on film at the time.

Fayetteville Film Festival is also gearing up for its annual festival planned for Oct. 20-22. The deadline for Arkansas filmmakers to submit films for free is May 31. Sharman says that the Fayetteville Film Fest will host workshops and other events throughout the summer. Find out more at fayettevillefilmfest.org and through their social media.

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FAQ

Indie Films Artosphere

WHEN — 7 p.m. May 26

WHERE — Starr Theater at Walton Arts Center

COST — $15

INFO — 443-5600, artospherefestival.org

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FYI

Artosphere

Week 4

May 23

Tango & Passion: Music of Piazzolia, Martucci & Mendelssohn, 7 p.m., Walton Arts Center. Tickets $10.

May 24

Seraph Brass Chamber Concert, 6 p.m., Memorial Park Chautauqua Amphitheater, Siloam Springs. Free.

May 26

Indie Films Artosphere, curated by Fayetteville Film Festival, 7 p.m., Starr Theater. Tickets $15.

Artosphere Festival Orchestra: Off the Grid pop-up concerts, 7 p.m., Dickson Street in Fayetteville and downtown Rogers. Free. Check app or artospherefestival.org.

May 27

An Evening of Strauss & Stravinsky: Don Juan, Four Last Songs, and Firebird Suite, Walton Arts Center. Tickets $15-$67.

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FYI

Indie Films Artosphere:

The Films

“Henyo, the Women of the Sea”

Directed by Éloïc Gimenez

This film focuses on the life of the Haenyo — the diving women of Jeju in South Korea — with seven idiomatic expressions from the island. The animated sketches also highlight the musicality of the spoken language.

(5:15; animation)

“Soul of the Sea”

Directed by Elvis Caj

Arisa dances every day and night to songs that tell of the struggles of her people and their ancestors. Music and memory form a lyrical meditation on young womanhood, identity and belonging in a Garifuna community in Guatemala.

(10:00; narrative)

“The 24”

Directed by Clay Pruitt

Once a year, climbers from all over the world come together at Horseshoe Canyon Ranch in Jasper, Ark., to test their endurance in the world’s only 24-hour climbing competition. The official name of the event is “The 24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell,” but contestants simply call it “Hell.”

(28:47; documentary)

Intermission

“Mike the Birdman”

Directed by John Burcham Erwin

Mike Mlodinow has no car, no computer, no phone and only owns a few other possessions in his one-bedroom apartment in Fayetteville, Ark. His niche is in nature, where he exercises his passion for bird watching. Mike, binoculars in hand, can often be seen walking alongside a busy highway and catching a bus to the best bird watching locations in the area, from the Ozark Mountains to Lake Fayetteville to the sewer treatment plant.

(22:52; documentary)

“Aqua”

Directed by Bogdan Mihăilescu

At the end of a road traveled by a man or the whole mankind, one question remains: Is physical survival more important than spiritual purity? The answer can be found in a drop of water.

(7:14; animation)

“Hypoxia”

Directed by Christian Gridelli and Hunter Norris

On a dystopian island, where the government has banned organic plant life, a man with an artificial flower shop grows real plants in secret, cultivating their surreal properties and trying to breathe some air into the smothering environment.

(20:00; narrative)

Categories: Theater