We’re excited to announce that two Arkansas independent films - “Westland” and “Diamond John” - are being featured in the 2014 PBS Online Film Festival. This annual event highlights more than 25 short, independent films that are unique, thought provoking and represent the best of public media.
The first film, “Westland,” which was featured in the AETN original curated production “LOUPE: Part One,” is produced by photographer Diana Michelle and explores the life and art of reclusive Winslow, Arkansas, artist Tim West. Filmed over a period of six years, the documentary details West’s active career - which spanned more than 60 years - from his early success, with works featured in the Museum of Modern Art and the Louvre, to battles with personal demons, and his return home.
“Diamond John,” the second Arkansas film selected, is produced by Travis Mosler. A period comedy, the film follows a wildly eccentric prospector and his family as he to support his wife and five daughters by digging for gold and precious minerals. Unfortunately, the ground consistently turns up dry and, when faced with news that his home faces foreclosure and his wife is threatening to leave, Diamond John is forced to choose between a respectable job and unlikely hopes of striking it rich. The film is based on the true story of John Wesley Huddleston of Murfeesboro, Arkansas.
Both filmmakers are Arkansas alumni. Diana Michelle earned degree in fine art with an emphasis in photography, as well as a bachelor of science in biology, from the University of Arkansas and now teaches photography and Photoshop at Northwest Technical Institute, in addition to operating a portrait studio and displaying her tart at local and regional galleries and museums. Travis Mosler graduated from the University of Central Arkansas’s digital filmmaking program and created “Diamond John” for his final film project and Norbert Schedler Honors College thesis. Travis now serves as the video content director at Agency 501 in Little Rock.
We’re looking forward to seeing these talented Arkansans’ films featured in the PBS Online Film Festival, which provides a unique opportunity to distribute new types of films, told in non-traditional ways on non-linear platforms. You can watch these films and more across all PBS COVE video paltforms (desktop, mobile, connected TV devices - including Xbox, Roku and Apple TV - as well as YouTube) starting on June 16. You can also watch the films at pbs.org/filmfestival and vote for your favorites! The film that receives the most votes will receive a “people’s choice” award.