Alumni Spotlight Terry Davis ’05/’08

I was born and raised in a very small town in upstate New York. My first time leaving the state was when I left to attend UCA as part of the freshman class of 2000. I graduated from UCA with my Bachelors degree in the fall of 2005 and immediately started working on my MFA which I completed in 2008. During that time I met and married my wife, Melissa, who was a nursing student at UCA. Shortly after graduation we moved to southwest Texas where I worked and Melissa continued to pursue her nursing Masters at the university. We had our first child, a son, in early 2012 and we still live in Texas. However, we both ultimately want to be back in central Arkansas where it still feels like home.

What are you doing now professionally?

I am a federal officer with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. I work with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency on their Fugitive Operations Task Force locating and arresting at large criminals that have outstanding federal warrants.

Who are some early mentors or teachers that have inspired you?

 I changed fields of study in college numerous times before settling in with the Mass Communications and digital film crew. Prior to that, Professor Lynn Burley in the writing department was one of my favorites. She was excellent at helping students find their strengths and motivating students to excel in their own way. Also, Bruce Hutchinson and Scott Meador were both a big … Read the rest

Alumni Spotlight Jeremy Drake ’07

Hello! Well I was born and raised in Northwest Arkansas. I graduated from UCA in 2007 with a Bachelor's Degree and then moved to Louisiana to begin my career. I spent a lot of time working various departments on movies. I did camera, art department, office duties, sound, etc. I spent a couple of years working full-time for a production company where I edited and sound designed a narrative and a few feature documentaries, as well as dozens of commercials and short films. Ultimately I decided that the office wasn't for me and I wanted to be in the camera department full time. Fast forward a bit and now I'm in Los Angeles where I plan on living the rest of my life!

What are you doing now professionally?
I'm a freelance camera operator/camera assistant depending on the type of work. I work on a lot of mid-budget movies and traveling reality television shows, with a few music videos and commercials thrown in the mix. I'm very fortunate that I work as much as I do ("free time" is a foreign concept to me right now!) and I spend good chunks of the year living out of suitcases in hotel rooms.

What books, artwork or other movies have inspired you, overall or recently?
I'm a huge fan of Newton Thomas Sigel's work on Drive and Roger Deakin's work on… well anything. Recently I was blown away by the photography in Silver Lining's Playbook. I didn't realize until the ending credits … Read the rest

Alumni Spotlight Justin Nickels ’05

I was born in North Little Rock, Arkansas and grew up in Sherwood, Arkansas. I graduated from UCA in the Spring of 2005 from the school's film program. I've since worked on various film and television projects including Shotgun Stories, Paradise Lost 3, and Frontline on PBS.   In 2011 I married Mallory Nickels and we have two dogs, Keela and Vito.  I co-wrote the short film Europa with Mallory for Bruce Hutchinson and I'm currently in pre-production on a film I wrote that I hope to direct later this spring or early summer called Strangers.

What are you doing now professionally?

I actually do political work professionally and have for the last five years, but for the past seven I've worked for the Little Rock Film Festival and I've become very passionate about the work we do there.  I also happened to meet my wife Mallory there when she volunteered the second year. Two years ago I created the Little Rock Horror Picture Show as a spinoff genre festival for the LRFF and we're about to have our second March 22-24th. I also try to work on as many production projects as I possibly can.

What books, artwork or other movies have inspired you, overall or recently?

The Godfather (really part I and II) has been my favorite movie for about 17 years now.  I watch it at least three times a year and I almost always pick up something new every single time, either some nuance in a performance

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Alumni Spotlight Tim Wistrand, Terrell Case & Corey Gattin ’10

Timothy Lucas Wistrand was born in Franklin, Nebraska in 1984 and grew up in Little Flock, Arkansas.  He attended the University of Central Arkansas where he met Terrell Case and Matthew Gattin.  They made a film together titled Rumby in the Jungy (2009) which was awarded Best Narrative Short at UCA and was accepted to the 2010 Little Rock Film Festival.  Tim is currently the video analysis specialist at Easy Runner.   After graduating from UCA with a B.A. in Digital Filmmaking, he co-directed a feature length documentary The Natural State of America (2011).  The film was the opening night film at the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival and a selection at the Little Rock Film Festival.   After NSOA Tim began working for 2007 Productions a small studio that develops, produces, and distributes films, webisodes, and music. He is currently producing the film, Rapture Us, written by Levi Agee.

Terrell Case, a native Arkansan, is a co-founder of two film production companies, Duck-A-Duck Productions and 2007 Productions.  He has helped produce several comedy shorts with other filmmakers associated with these companies.  He is currently an editor at P. Allen Smith.  In college he co-directed the short film Rumby in the Jungy, which was in the UCA Film Festival and later the Little Rock Film Festival.  After completing his undergraduate degree in Digital Filmmaking with a minor in Anthropology at UCA in 2010, he accepted the task of making a documentary feature for Brian C. Campbell, his former Anthropology professor.  Case … Read the rest

Alumni Spotlight Brent Bailey ’05

What are you doing now professionally?

I own a lighting production company.  I contract with various Producers, Directors and Director of Photographers to light their Feature Films, Short Films, Documentaries, Commercials and Corporate Videos

What books, artwork or other movies have inspired you, overall or recently?

I have to say that Director Tony Scott influenced me early on with his style of filmmaking.  How he and his DP incorporated beautiful warm Orange and Straw tonality into his movies made me want to recreate stuff like that lighting wise.  I am also a big fan of Film Noir that I studied in college.  I love the lighting styles of that early genera that is still apparent today.  Many books have inspired me, but more recently when I read Placing Shadows did I learn to appreciate lighting even more

 Who are some early mentors or teachers that have inspired you?

I’ve worked with some really great Gaffers and DP’s over the years.  I have to say that a man by the name Ty Coke, a very respected gaffer out of Memphis, really allowed me to be more of an apprentice under him as I learned many tools to lighting.  From there I was able to form my own skills of lighting.  My School Adviser, Bruce Hutchinson allowed me to go against the grain in College.  By grain I mean, he let me do my own editing, shooting and lighting with my own equipment, which at the time was equal too or better … Read the rest

Alumni Spotlight Gabe Mayhan

 

What are you doing now professionally?

I am a cinematographer

What books, artwork or other movies have inspired you, overall or recently?

Ernest Hemingway, Eudora Welty and William Faulkner are some of the writers I most admire. Lately the music of Yann Teirson is very inspirational. Drive is one of the Best Movies I have seen in a long time

Who are some early mentors or teachers that have inspired you?

Mark Wilken while I was at the University, he was always prodding around or he creative spirt that is in all of us. And I suppose the American Cinematographer periodical. Being in Arkansas, while a blessing in most regards, is a bit limited with mentors in the art of cinematography. So I read every book and magazine that I could get my hands on to "learn" from the best!

What is the most helpful professional advice you have received?

Never mail in a project, if you start to "get the job done" you need to find another profession, this is a art form and you should treat every project with the same amount of respect.

How did your experience at UCA help shape your professional career?

I feel like the more educated and knowledgeable one is the more one has to draw from creatively. I studied many, many different things at UCA (I changed my major 4 times!!!!) and knowing even a little about different things is something that can be advantageous in a creative career. Not to mention … Read the rest

Alumni Spotlight Graham Gordy ’99

Graham Gordy completed his M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing at NYU where he received the Goldberg Award for Playwriting.  His plays have been produced and performed by Naked Angels, The New Group, New York Stage and Film, The Drama Dept., and The Royal Court (London).  His screen credits include "War Eagle, Arkansas" and "The Love Guru." His work has been published in "Oxford American," "Imbibe Magazine," "ArkansasLife," and "The Arkansas Times." His TV pilot "The Wreck" was purchased by AMC and his screenplay "The Slow Rise of Wesley Sinker"is being produced by Anonymous Content. He currently writes for the upcoming Sundance Channel drama, "Rectify."

What are you doing now professionally?

I wrote for the first season of the upcoming Sundance Channel drama,
"Rectify," which we shot in Georgia this summer and will air early
next year. I've recently completed an adaptation of the Max Allan
Collins series "Quarry" into a television series. Director John
Hillcoat ("The Road," "Lawless") is attached to direct and executive
produce and we're going to try to sell that in the coming months. And
I just finished a new feature screenplay called "This Is My Heart,"
which will go out to directors in the coming weeks.

What books, artwork or other movies have inspired you, overall or recently?

A few favorites for fiction: Knut Hamsun's GROWTH OF THE SOIL, CATCHER
IN THE RYE, DON QUIXOTE. A few for non-fiction: Agee's NOW LET US
PRAISE FAMOUS MEN, Wright's NON-ZERO, and Erazim Kohak's THE EMBERS
AND THE STARS. A … Read the rest

Alumni Spotlight Jonathan Childs ’11

Jonathan is a filmmaker and photographer from central Arkansas. He has his MFA in filmmaking from the University of Central Arkansas. When he's not slaving away over a hot computer, he's out climbing rocks with his amazing wife, Katie.

What are you doing now professionally?

I'm currently a full time Photo/Video Specialist at the Arkansas Secretary of State's Office in the Department of Communication and Education, Editor of the Oxford American Magazine's award winning video series "SoLost", Editor of the Oxford American Magazine/NPR video series "Southword", editing video for Heifer international with Photographer/Videographer/Director, Dave Anderson and working on multiple freelance projects.
 
What books, artwork or other movies have inspired you, overall or recently?
 
Even though it may not be super apparent in my work, Wes Anderson is a HUGE influence for me both overall and recently. Films don't have to be  "technically good" for me to like them either... Home Alone is one of my favorite movies of all time.As far as artwork goes, I'm really digging anything that Bo Bartlett's paints. He gets pegged as a realist painter (which was out of fashion for a while), but he  really is much more than that. He's able to capture a sense of nostalgia on canvas that would be hard to capture with words.
 
Who are some early mentors or teachers that have inspired you?

All of the UCA film faculty were definitely an inspiration for me. Even now, I feel like I can call any of them for advice, and

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Alumni Spotlight Emily Lane ’10

Emily Lane is a lifetime Arkansan who is fascinated by human nature and world cultures, and these two things are the primary reasons why she chose to become a filmmaker. Since earning her Master's Degree in 2010, she has been working on various feature documentaries and freelance projects. In late 2010, she found a new calling as a community activist and educator, and she uses her skills as a filmmaker to engage others in the community. Currently she serves on the Board of Directors for Faulkner County Concerned Citizens Advisory Group. She is also Assistant Director of Stop Arkansas Fracking, a non-profit organization whose mission is to protect the environment and people from the negative impacts of the natural gas industry and the process of hydraulic fracturing, otherwise known as fracking. She is currently making a feature documentary about fracking in Arkansas. The film is in post-production and is expected to be released in the Spring of 2013.

What are you doing now professionally?

Currently I serve as Assistant Director of Stop Arkansas Fracking, a non-profit organization whose mission is to protect the people and environment from the negative impacts of the natural gas industry in Arkansas.  I also work as a freelance filmmaker, writer, and public speaker.  I am currently making a feature documentary about the impact of the gas industry in Arkansas; it should be released in the Spring of 2013.

What books, artwork or other movies have inspired you, overall or recently?

Most recently, I have been … Read the rest