Try A Little Tenderness: Musician Jules Taylor puts heart into first short film

Try A Little Tenderness: Musician Jules Taylor puts heart into first short film

Wherever Jules Taylor goes as a performer, music and laughter follow. For most of two decades, her Shaky Bugs shows for kids have encouraged audiences of all ages to sing and dance along and get happy.

It’s no surprise that Taylor made a short film; she’s also an actress on stage and on screen, and that was her first love. The surprise might be that “In a World Full of Loneliness,” screening as a selection in the Professional Category at the Rogers Short Film Festival, is heartrending.

Mark Landon Smith (left), Juliette Robinson and Katherine Forbes appear in a scene from Jules Taylor’s film “In a World Full of Loneliness.” (Courtesy Photo/Jules Taylor)

“As a kid I was obsessed with television and movies, and as an actor I got my first background — extra — role in the 1980s and have continued doing background and small roles since,” she explains. “Fast forward a few decades, I served on the Fayetteville Film Fest board for 10 years, and that is when I became most interested in making my own movie.”

The Fayetteville Film Fest funded the seed of the film with its Pitch Prize competition, which Taylor won in 2022. The festival awarded her $2,000, and she raised another $13,000, thanks to more than 150 supporters.

“I saw something on Facebook that said ‘you have a week to register for the Pitch contest,’” Taylor remembers. “I pushed myself to register, but I didn’t even know at that moment what I would pitch. So, I found the first half of a script I had written 20-plus years ago, and after creating a second half in 2022, it became ‘In a World Full of Loneliness.’

“For more than a year, I lived with the vision of this little movie in my head and my heart, and the final product is better than I imagined,” Taylor says. “That’s what happens when you have a great team.”

Taylor credits her co-producers Cassie Haley and Dan Robinson and Kris Katrosh of New Harvest Creative; a “very generous property owner” who let them film in a house that was for sale; and “my art director, Laura Kraus-Mere, [who] created two very different homes in that one space.

“That house was located in the Gulley Park area, and we also shot in the Greenland Mini Mart in June 2023. That makes seven months of pre-production — which includes raising money, setting the budget, hiring the team, etc. — and then another four months of post-production — editing, packaging, promoting — before the first screening at Fayetteville Film Fest [in] October 2023,” she says.

The film focuses on “Mrs. K” — played by Katherine Forbes — who has lost her husband, has an unfulfilling job and lives so alone that she can’t even keep a house plant alive. One day at the convenience store, she meets a young mom (Juliette Robinson) and her daughter who truly need her help — and finds a new multi-ethnic family with two dads (Mark Landon Smith and Mike Thomas).

“My mama taught me when I was young that you never know what people are going through, so sometimes just eye contact and a smile can help,” Taylor says of the moral of the story. “That is a lesson I hold in my heart daily.

“Plus, this film honors my mom and that very special way she taught us kindness and connection since we were little.”

A still shot from the film includes Sabrina Enoch, Harlow Obiedzenski and Theodore Herold. (Courtesy Photo/Jules Taylor)

In addition to the Fayetteville Film Fest, “In a World Full of Loneliness” was an Official Selection in The Great Wonders Uplift Film Festival in Joplin, Mo., and the OASIS Film and Digital Media Festival in Jonesboro and will be screened at the Rogers Short Film Festival, coming up May 3-5.

“Opportunity is one of the biggest reasons for a festival, both to filmmakers and to the audience,” says Barry Cobbs, one of the founders of the Rogers Short Film Festival. “Every day, just in Northwest Arkansas, there are a number of short filmmakers writing, planning, shooting or editing their films. These are the short stories of the movie world, working in a compressed space to communicate a universal truth.

“And that’s their beauty,” he adds. “They don’t need to be feature length for you to step inside their world. They are fascinating works: stories well-told, documentaries that open your eyes, experimentation, risks willingly taken, writing and acting that have you laughing, crying, angry and jubilant. These are films that can do more to entertain you in 10 minutes than a feature film can in 90.

“We, the audience, deserve to see these films, be wowed by the talent, and, ultimately, to be entertained by them. Short film festivals matter because they make seeing short films possible.”

Cobb says in its four year history, the Rogers Short Film Festival has grown from “films by mostly regional filmmakers to a festival that truly spans the globe.

“This gives our great Arkansas filmmakers the chance to compete with great filmmakers from every state and many countries, building confidence in their work and insight into other ways of storytelling,” he says. “I’m proud that more and more filmmakers are making us a can’t-miss festival year after year.”



Rogers Short Film Festival

WHAT — The Rogers Short Film Festival allows filmmakers to compete in categories based on experience and budget. The best of each category is awarded in the Student Category (K-12), Student Category (Postsecondary), Amateur Category, and Professional Category, and the Best of Fest Award goes to the overall winner.

WHEN — May 3-5

WHERE — Victory Theater in downtown Rogers

COST — $30-$200




The Schedule

May 3

Festival Kickoff Mixer — 7 p.m., Baked By Kori, 128 S. Second St. in Rogers, two doors south of the Victory Theater

May 4

10-11:30 a.m. — Master Class: “Distribution Options For Short Films” by Nace DeSanders, loloft, 600 S. First St. in Rogers.

11 a.m. — K-12 screenings at Victory Theater

11:30 a.m. — Post Secondary screenings

1 p.m. — “Making Films Is Hard” podcast recorded live at the Victory Theater

2:40 p.m. — Amateur Block 1: Bakersfield, Trade Your Time, Worth of Wigs, The Woodworker, Madness Within, Frank.

4:15 p.m. — Professional Block 1: Book Club, Wah-Ha-Yen-Tah, World Full of Loneliness.

May 5

11 a.m. — Amateur Block 2: Operation: Thanatos, Curmudgeon Factory, The Arkansas Accent Project

Noon — Lunch/Break

1 p.m. — Amateur Block 3: Through the Lens of Mourning, The Chain, untitled, Screamer, Off Sides.

2:17 p.m. — Professional Block 2: Clownfish, Lighthouse Lost, All Units

3:25 p.m. — Professional Block 3: Otherside, Caught on Tape, Racers Nature, Julian

6 p.m. — Awards Ceremony

6:30 p.m. — Awards After Party, Filmmakers Lounge

Categories: Cover Story