The documentary film:Independent for Governor Dec 21

The documentary film, Independent for Governor: An Idealist’s Grueling Run, will be screened at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 21, in the Great Hall of the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock.
 
The film, produced, directed, photographed and co-edited by Huixia Lu, assistant professor of digital filmmaking at the University of Central Arkansas, is a two-hour documentary about Rod Bryan, the first independent candidate for governor of Arkansas since 1940. Underfinanced and widely ignored by the media, Bryan finished a distant third in the 2006 campaign behind Democrat Mike Beebe and Republican Asa Hutchinson.
 
The screening, funded by a grant from the Fred Darragh Foundation, is free and open to the public. The filmmakers as well as the main characters will be there for a Q&A afterward.
 
 “From a deeper and wider social point of view, this film is not just about Rod’s campaign, but the community, culture and mindset that radiate from him, his family and his friends,” Lu said. “It is an anthropological study of a certain town, a certain group of people in a certain period of time in America.”
 
The film had its world premiere at UCA in November.
 
Lu found Bryan to be an “unconventional character,” into environmental issues. He drives a 1986 Mercedes fueled by cooking oil. He and his wife have two children.
 
“They live a financially poor but culturally rich life,” Lu said. “In many cultural and political scenes in Little Rock, you can spot Rod. He grew up in the small town of Bradley, Ark., where his WWII-veteran grandfather was the sheriff.  As Rod puts it, ‘Bradley is 40 miles below Hope, Bill Clinton’s hometown.’”
 
Bryan went to college on a football scholarship and formed a rock band with his brother. The band, HoHum, signed a record contract with Universal Music Group in the 1990s.
 
“His life is in many ways that of a typical American boy with a Bill Clinton dream,” Lu said. “Of course, most people see him as an odd and quixotic political figure.”
 
Lu is from the People’s Republic of China. She has an international award-winning background in film and television production stemming from the 1990s, including the Chinese equivalent of a national “Emmy” award. Her productions are a rare blend of both a social and artistic consciousness, rich with cultural nuances and surprisingly perceptive observations of both Eastern and Western values. Her films have been screened at Kodak Emerging Filmmakers showcase, Cannes International Film Festival and on television networks in the United States, Europe and Asia.
 
 “Being an educator and filmmaker, I have always been interested in art and history,” she said. “I believe life would be empty without humanities in all forms. There is so much soul, pain and value in them. Having lived here for several years, I have been impressed with Arkansas as a very rich state, both in its culture and landscape — the mountains, the delta, and the rivers.
 
“Making this film has been a great adventure to know more about this unique land and its genuine people.” 
 
Lu thanked her students and colleagues at UCA for their “generous support and inspiration,” especially Dr. Rollin Porter, dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication; John Gale, chair of the Department of Mass Communication and Theatre, and Donna Lampkin Stephens, director of publications and community relations for the College of Fine Arts and Communication.
 
“Without them, the screening would not happen,” she said. “A special acknowledgement goes to Emily Lane, the co-editor of the film. She just graduated from the MFA program at UCA and is a very talented filmmaker. Other gifted UCA students and alumni who have worked on the project include assistant editors Levi Agee, Collin Buchanan and Terrell Case.
 
“My last but not the least appreciation goes to Rod Bryan, his family, and everyone in the film for allowing me to make a documentary about them and their cause.”
  
For more information about the film or the screening, contact Lu at hlu@uca.edu. See the trailer at www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCk-YFAf6Xs&feature=player_embedded.