Screening magnetic flicks and bringing big shot movie stars to town every year is probably the noisiest part of what the Arkansas Cinema Society does. When the people at the helm of your organization know the lay of the land as well as Kathryn Tucker and Jeff Nichols know the film industry, though, the mission’s bound to be a little broader in its scope. Take this morning’s announcement from ACS: The annual Filmland series will open with a night especially focused on girls as filmmakers. (Boys, the release notes, are welcome.)
“Troop Zero,” out in wide release later this year from South African director Bert and writer Lucy Alibar — both of whom will be in attendance at the screening — stars the Academy/Tony/Emmy Award-winning Viola Davis (“The Help,” “Fence”) and Allison Janney (“I, Tonya,” “Juno,” “Big Night”). And, while Janney and Davis are plenty to secure interest from local filmgoers in the screening, the plot sounds like the girl-centric “Bad News Bears” I never had as a child: an outer-space-obsessed misfit elementary kid living in Georgia circa 1977 sees a chance to land her dream spot on a NASA record, recruits a band of fellow outcasts to aid the effort, adversity and coming-of-age hijinks ensue.
Even cooler: The girls in ACS’ Filmmaking Lab for Teen Girls are part of the screening, premiering the flicks they made as part of the eight-week project earlier this year. Those films, “Justitia” and “Ensemble,” screen just before “Troop Zero,” 6 p.m. Thursday, August 22 at CALS Ron Robinson Theater, with an afterparty at Buenos Aires Grill. Get tickets here.