World Premiere of UCA Feature Film Sympathy Pains Set for Sept. 23rd at Reynolds

The University of Central Arkansas Department of Mass Communication and Theatre will present the world premiere of the feature film Sympathy Pains on Monday, Sept. 23.

Red-carpet events for the evening at the Donald W. Reynolds Performance Hall will begin at 7 p.m. with the screening to follow at 7:30. Admission to the film, written and directed by Joe Dull, associate professor of digital filmmaking, is free and open to the public.

The comedy depicts Danny, the world’s worst comedian, played by Chris Fritzges, assistant professor of theatre at UCA. Danny suffers his own morning sickness when his wife (Courtney Bennett) tells him she is pregnant.

Sympathy Pains was filmed at 36 locations in Arkansas, mostly in Conway, and is a collaboration of faculty, digital filmmaking students and local actors.  Thirty-five UCA student and faculty crew members worked on the film.  Dr. Paul Dickinson, associate professor of music, composed the score, which is performed by the Conway Symphony Orchestra.

This is UCA’s second feature-length narrative film. Dull also wrote and directed the first, Table At Luigi’s, which premiered in April 2010 before about 700. Since then, it has screened for about 10,000 people in theatres, film festivals and on AETN. It won four awards.

“Honestly, in my opinion, this film is better,” Dull said.

Dull said he moved from California to Arkansas to make feature films.

“I was turned down so many times in California,” he said. “This community opened the door for us. People were so incredibly generous.”

Sympathy Pains took two years to write and was shot from June 30 to Aug. 12, 2012.

Dull said a million dollar-looking film was made with a $7,000 budget.

“In short, it’s a pretty big film,” he said.

For more information, visit, or contact Dull at (501) 852-2377 or

The UCA College of Fine Arts and Communication includes the Departments of Art, Communication, Mass Communication and Theatre, Music and Writing. The college’s primary mission is the preparation of the next generation of artists, educators and communicators. For more information about CFAC, visit or call (501) 450-3293.