Southern to the Bone: Filmmaking in the Natural State

Apr 8, 2018

On this episode of Arts & Letters, we talk with the Miller Brothers--Josh and Miles--and producer Kathryn Tucker and cinematographer Gabe Mayhan.

The team discusses the trials and tribulations of making quality independent films in the mid-south. This includes conversations about script writing, directing, producing and cinematography.

This episode airs on Friday, April 13 at 7 pm CST and on Sunday, April 15 at 9 pm CST on KUAR 89.1. 

All the Birds Have Flown South is the Miller Brothers' feature film debut and was nationally released in December, 2017 and is a Southern Gothic odyssey in which protagonist Stephen Minor descends into obsession after the death of his mother.

“After the death of his overbearing mother, a sheltered man attempts to win the affection of a degenerate diner waitress by caring for her terminally ill and abusive husband. Soon, their lives begin to unravel as obsession and disease consume them all.”

All The Birds Have Flown South is being distributed by Flix Premiere and is available on Apple TV, Apple app store, Google Play, Amazon Fire and Roku.  

Josh (left) and Miles Miller

Miles Miller, the eldest of The Miller Brothers, was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1977, and Josh was born a year later. Miles has a creative writing and experimental photography background.

Josh is an accomplished fine art photographer, having shown his work in galleries and juried exhibits around the country. He enjoyed early success as a writer, co-writing the 2005 short Miles From Home, which premiered at the 2006 South by Southwest Film Festival.

In 2008 he was the Executive Producer of the award-winning feature Etienne, which won a “Special Jury Prize” at CineVegas 2009 and "Best Narrative Feature" at the 2009 Oxford Film Festival.

Storyboard from the film production.

Josh has also had success as a producer, winning the Best of Arkansas competition three times and the Audience Award in 2010. In the same year, the Millers produced the documentary Looking for Lurch. It was nominated for The Festival Genius Award at the 2010 Gotham Independent Film Awards.

The Miller Brothers first teamed up to produce the award winning short Antiquities, which screened at the 2010 New Orleans Film Festival and the 2010 Athens International Film Festival. Antiquities also took home the top Arkansas prize at the 2010 Little Rock Film Festival.

Paul Sparks plays main character Stephen Minor.

Next,  the brothers wrote and directed the short, Pillow, which had a successful festival campaign, screening at several Oscar Qualifying Festivals including: Austin Film Festival, Seattle International Film Festival, Florida Film Festival, New Orleans Film Festival, Athens International Film Festival, and Flickers: Rhode Island International Film Festival.

Among other awards, Pillow took Best Narrative Short at the Oxford Film Festival, dead Center Film Festival, and Indie Memphis Film Festival in 2011, as well as Atlanta Underground Film Festival in 2012.

Joey Lauren Adams stars as Tonya Jackson

It also won the Crossroads Award at the 2011 Victoria Texas Independent Film Festival. The Miller Brothers won the Best Director award at the 2011 Little Rock Film Festival. All the Birds Have Flown South is their first feature film.

Gabe Mayhan is an Emmy award-winning cinematographer.  His work has been screened at film festivals such as Slamdance and Tribeca and broadcast on networks including HBO, Showtime and PBS.  

In 2016 he had two films released theatrically, Greater and Lazy Eye.  Gabe returned behind the lens for the 2nd season of Mineral Explorers--a travel show that explores the origins and geological stories of minerals from around the world.

Dallas Roberts plays JImmy Jackson

In addition to All the Birds Have Flown South, he has also worked with the Miller Brothers on Antiquities. In the spring of  2017 he worked on Dream Land, an Arkansas documentary about 9th Street in Little Rock and the history of this African American neighborhood during segregation and the lasting impact of Urban Renewal.    

Kathryn Tucker is a native Arkansan. She began her career in filmmaking as a Photo Editor for Miramax Films. While working at Miramax from 2002-2004, she produced photo shoots and worked on the marketing campaigns for such films as Kill BillCold  MountainChicagoGangs of New YorkAmelie City of God, and Frida.

Storyboard from production.

In 2004, she left Miramax to produce the critically acclaimed independent feature film Loggerheads, shot in North Carolina.

As a DGA Trainee in Los Angeles, she worked on television series and feature films such as Private Practice, BonesMade of Honor and She's Out of My League.

After becoming a member of the Directors Guild of America, she worked as a 2nd Assistant Director Glee, earning three award nominations from the Directors Guild of America.

Storyboard from production.

She served as 2nd Assistant Director on such films as Drag Me to HellJust Go With It, Jack & JillThis Is 40OblivionGangster Squad, and Sex Tape.

In 2011, Kathryn also co-produced 2nd Serve, an independent feature film shot in Kentucky.

 

Kathryn is currently directing a documentary about former Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe for AETN. She also just completed writing her first narrative feature film and will direct and produce it as well.

Thank you to composer Amos Cochran, who scored the film trailer. Thank you to composer Joey Santiago, who scored the film and allowed us use of his music for this program. A special thanks to Damien Juardo for the use of his song "Sheets."

Thank you to Stickyz Rock 'N' Roll Chicken Shack for keeping music alive and well in Arkansas.

Generous funding for this episode was provided by the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Executive Producer & Host:  J. Bradley Minnick

  

Producer: Mary Ellen Kubit

Recorded by: Christopher Hickey

Interns: Krista Hancock, Marty Burton, and Kaitlin Strain