Independent for Governor: Rod Bryan’s quixotic gubernatorial run on film

October 24, 2010

Just found out about this:

There will be a free screening of University of Central Arkansas assistant professor of Digital Filmmaking Huixia Lu’s film Independent For Governor, about Rod Bryan’s 2006 campaign for Governor of Arkansas.

The screening will be at 7:PM on Wednesday, November 10, at the Reynolds Performance Hall on the campus of UCA in Conway.

Here’s what Lu has to say about it.

This is a two hours long documentary film about Rod Bryan, the first independent candidate for Governor of Arkansas since 1940. Underfinanced and widely ignored by the media, he finished a distant third behind Mike Beebe and Asa Hutchinson, the candidates of the major political parties.

Besides the political aspect, Rod is a very unconventional character. He is into environmental issues and drives a 1986 Mercedes fueled by cooking oil. He and his stay-at-home wife have two beautiful children. They live a financially poor but culturally rich life. In many cultural and political scenes in Little Rock you can always spot Rod. He grew up in a small town Bradley, Arkansas where his WWII grandpa used to be the sheriff. Rod puns: “Bradley is 40 miles below Hope AR, Bill Clinton’s hometown.” He went to college on a football scholarship and formed a rock band with his brother, HoHum that signed a record contract with Universal Music Group in the 90s. His life is in many ways that of a typical American boy, with a “Bill Clinton dream”. Of course, most people see him as an odd and quixotic political figure.

From a deeper and wider social point of view, this film is not just about Rod’s race but the community, culture, and mindset that radiate from him, his family, and his friends. It is an anthropological study of a certain town, a certain group of people in a certain period of time in America. One inspiration is from William Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County.

The film will be premiered at the Reynolds Performance Hall at University of Central Arkansas at 7 pm on Wednesday November 10. All the main characters in the film and the filmmakers will be present for Q & A after the screening. It is free admission. Don’t miss this special evening to see an important chapter in Arkansas history and meet the people on the screen in real person!

Huixia Lu is a professor of Digital Filmmaking in the Department of Mass Communication and Theatre. She comes from the People’s Republic of China with an international award-winning background in film and television production spanning 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 immerging filmmakers showcase at Cannes International Film Festival, television networks in the United States, Europe, and Asia, etc.

“Being an educator and filmmaker, I have always been interested in art and history. I believe life would be empty without humanities in all forms. There are so much soul, pain, and value in them. Having lived here for several years, Arkansas impresses me 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.

I want to thank my students and colleagues at University of Central Arkansas for their generous support and inspiration, especially Dr. Rollin Porter, Dean of College of Fine Arts and Communication, professor John Gale, Chair of the Department of Mass Communication and Theatre, and Jerry Biebesheimer, director of Reynolds Performance Hall. Without them, the screening would not happen. 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 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. “

— Huixia Lu


  • Comment by blind willie mctell — Oct 25,2010 at 9:46 am

    Hope there is a way for the average citizen to see this. I really would go for it. BTW, Blind Willie McTell won a state championship in baseball on a team with the Ho-Hum drummer’s dad. You just cannot get away from it when you move to the city.

  • Comment by Philip Martin — Oct 25,2010 at 9:49 am

    The incestuous interconnectedness is part of our charm.

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