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Screen gems


This article was published March 30, 2012 at 2:20 a.m.

— The natural conclusion to an independent film’s life cycle is distribution. After what can seem like years on the festival circuit or screening your film at churches and colleges, having a hard-copy DVD can be the final step for many filmmakers. And that’s where Arkansas filmmakers Matthew Corey Gattin, Terrell Case and Timothy Lucas Wistrand have arrived, as The Natural State of America, their much-lauded environmental documentary film about herbicide spraying in the Ozarks, is now available on DVD.

The film premiered at the Little Rock Film Festival last year and drew one of the biggest opening night crowds in Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival’s history, and it has been screened all over the state - anywhere a huddled mass with an interest in chemical spraying around Newton County could be gathered. Natural State also won Best Documentary at the Society For Applied Anthropology Video Festival in Seattle.

The DVD box, designed by Gustav Carlson, who also animated some brief scenes in the film, features a blurb from University of North Texas anthropologist James R. Veteto, who says:

“This timely film illustrates how hard-working everyday Americans are struggling to take back control of their communities and households from a top heavy electricity co-op and their draconian herbicide spraying practices. Nothing less than the health and safety of entire aquifers and the sanctity of the democratic process are at stake. Natural State is applied environmental anthropology and documentary filmmaking at its best!”

Co-director Case says the DVD includes deleted and extended scenes, a trailer, and a music video. The DVD can be bought online at, where information about future screenings can also be found.

Case says the film is scheduled to screen in a few more festivals but that he and other filmmakers are moving on to future projects.

“Brian Campbell, the writer and producer, is producing a documentary about the dead birds in Beebe and the fish kill in Ozark that occurred over a year ago around New Year’s Eve,” Case says.

And Case, Wistrand and Gattin are currently collaborating with Collin Buchanan on an untitled project about “humanity’s last red balloon.” They are also in pre-production on Rumby II, a sequel to a short film action spoof they made while in college.

Levi Agee is a programmer for the Little Rock Film Festival. E-mail him at:

MovieStyle, Pages 31 on 03/30/2012

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