"Reel Rural: Rural America in Independent Film" is a series of films and a filmmaker panel discussion that examine the complexities associated with filmmakers' attempts to provide authentic portrayals of the people, places, and practices unique to rural America. According to INDIEWIRE writer Landon Palmer, "Recent independent films have affixed a renewed lens onto American regionalism, one that takes up the mantle abandoned by a post-Spielberg/Lucas Hollywood. A feast of cinematic locavorism, such films are often shot on location and are supported by members of the community, who sometimes become directly involved in the production. These films do not, in short, portray rural America arbitrarily or vaguely, and they refuse to perpetuate received ideological assumptions or lazy stereotypes. These films seek to represent their respective regions with palpable honesty and authenticity, rejecting any lingering assumptions about the city's inherently superior storytelling capacity."

The program will begin with a free panel discussion by four of the creators of films that will be presented. The three features and five short narrative films in the series are:
TO KEEP THE LIGHT, directed by Erica Fae
DELINQUENT, directed by Kieran Valla
SOME BEASTS, directed by Cameron Nelson
THE AUTUMN WALTZ, directed by David Golden
THE PICKLE and THE ROOT CELLAR, directed by Kyle Kleinecke
ROCKET, directed by Brenna Malloy
TWO ROADS, directed by Christine Chen

Film screenings will follow the panel discussion and take place throughout the day on Saturday, April 22. Please note that the panel discussion takes place in the Maxfield Room on the Lyon College campus and the screenings take place in Independence Hall on the campus of the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville.

"We still didn't really have enough money, so what made the movie possible--and what also made production challenging--was shooting in our director's hometown in rural Connecticut. We didn't have the infrastructure of a city with a lot of film production or the money for professional extras and props, but we were able to get the town behind us, build relationships with everyone from the police and fire departments to schools, and substitute enthusiasm for cash support."
--Kieran Valla, DELINQUENT

"If you're from a small town, the authenticity of the people, the characters and the place--the emphasis on place and landscape as a character really comes through. I think that was something honest that we could do with this film...
For me, I don't think it's ever going to be about the business, because I don't know if I fit well into that environment. I feel like I'll always be the person sort of on the outskirts, making films where I feel like I can portray a truth or an honesty to the people, or the landscape, or the culture that is involved."
--Cameron Nelson, SOME BEASTS