It's not every day that we get a local film highlighting Arkansas history. It's even more rare to find a film concerning the state's official gem, the diamond. "Diamond John"is a film, written and directed by Travis Mosler, following the life of John Wesley Huddleston, the man responsible for discovering naturally occurring diamonds in the state. Continue on for a synopsis of the film and an interview with Mosler.
From the Facebook Page:
The University of Central Arkansas and Mosler Media present Diamond John, a period-comedy about the wildly eccentric life of John Wesley Huddleston. The film is based on tangible historical evidence that document the characters and events surrounding the discovery of naturally occurring diamonds in Arkansas.
Jess Carson: Thank you for taking the time out for this interview. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Travis Mosler: I'm a Digital Filmmaking Major/Interdisciplinary Studies Minor at the University of Central Arkansas.
JC: This film is based on a true story. What attracted you to this particular person?
TM: I came across this character after doing a lot of digging…pun intended. To graduate from the Honors College we are required to have a senior research thesis project that has to be interdisciplinary in nature. Some people would combine biology with technology, or agriculture with linguistics, or something like that, but the good folks at the UCA Honors College are also open to artistic projects. So, naturally, I decided to make a film.
Since I was required to conduct quite a bit of research, I decided to write a period piece based on an old story from Arkansas' history; something that would be near and dear to our state. I soon unearthed this compelling story about the discovery of naturally occurring diamonds in Murfreesboro, Arkansas by John Wesley Huddleston, who apparently was the subject of many hilarious folk tales.
JC: I see you have a few days left on your Indiegogo campaign. What will your funds go towards?
TM: Since we are trying to make Arkansas 2013 look like Arkansas 1907, we have our work cut out for us. We have to pay for costumes, props, locations, travel, meals for actors, crew, and extras, and not to mention renting equipment. There is quite a bit to pay for, but $5000 is a modest budget.
JC: Since this is regarding the discovery of naturally occurring diamonds in Arkansas, where do you plan on filming?
TM: We plan on shooting all over the place. We're very dependent on certain locations that have specific buildings and landscapes that match the period. We will be shooting at an old homestead in Harrisburg, at a 15-building mock western village in Bryant, and shooting most of the countryside scenes in and around Central Arkansas.
JC: Can you discuss some of the crew you're working with?
TM: I am so blessed to be working with the people on my crew. Firstly, my Producer, Rachel McGee is awesome. She went out and recruited some of the most skilled folks around to fill our crew. She's a go-getter and I know with our powers combined, we can pump out an awesome piece of work. Lily Nash is my Production Designer and she's been great at assembling our props and costumes. Will Scott is my Director of Photography. Judging by the high quality work he's done before, putting our visual minds together will yield some beautiful cinematography. Oh, and John Hockaday's gonna do some grip work for us. He's a hoot.
JC: How's casting going?
TM: We've held several auditions over the past couple months and we should be fully cast by the end of this week. However, we need a ton of extras to fill some of the large scale city scenes that we are shooting in the Bryant area. So if any of you out there want to be in a movie, you can contact us here.
JC: Is there anything else you'd like for us to know?
TM: The diamond is all over Arkansas. It's on our state flag, our license plates, our state quarters, in our government buildings, and in many local business names. This piece of our history is apparently a big deal, but nobody knows the man who started it all. This is going to be a hilarious and heart warming film that Arkansans can be proud of, but we need support to make it as great as we know it can be! If you'd like to be featured as an extra, contact us at here. If you'd like to make a financial contribution, please visit our Indiegogo campaign.
Be sure to "like" the film on Facebook.