UCA Feature Films

Sympathy Pains - Lots o Crew

The first feature film began in 2009-2010, students and faculty from the University of Central Arkansas’ Departments of Digital Filmmaking, Theatre, and Music made a feature film. This is not at all common in academia, where short films are not just the norm but the rule.

Led by assistant professor of Digital Filmmaking Joe Dull, the film involved over 100 students (including the UCA orchestra) and ten faculty members, along with approximately 50 actors and extras.

Film programs include plenty of opportunities for students to work on short films with other students, but a feature film (shooting for 26 days) is an entirely different experience. Most student films shoot for a single weekend, or possibly a week, and students only get a chance to wet their feet and barely get comfortable in their positions before the shoot is finished. With a feature film, the students have to truly learn their craft, and get the opportunity to work side-by-side with their professors while doing so.

“Table at Luigi’s”  was the first feature film for UCA.  The film was made possible by incredible support from the local community of Conway, Arkansas, who donated everything from shooting locations to meals to paint for the sets. The $4,000 budget was only overshot when the producers added a wrap party at the end of shooting.

“Sympathy Pains” was shot in 2012 and post production was completed in September, 2013.  It was a bigger production in almost every way, with more than double the locations and actors, and elements that required many more technicians than Luigi’s.


“It’s simple: the only way to really learn how to be a filmmaker is to have hands-on experience. You can sit in a classroom and memorize everything there is to know about how to make films, but until you actually work on one in person, it’s impossible to even remotely gauge what the experience of being a filmmaker is like. With Table At Luigi’s we were able to have this experience in the best way possible: working on a real feature film that could actually be a real viable product in the industry. Short films are wonderful and have their place in festivals and in niche markets, but feature-length films are what we should ultimately be striving to make. The feature production course is invaluable experience.”

                              -Collin Buchanan, student Sound Designer

To help support the next feature film project please click here to make a contribution through the UCA Foundation.  Be sure to designate your gift to the College of Fine Arts & Communication – Feature Film Fund.