Local filmmakers to premiere film in Jonesboro

The film that brought them together has now brought them back home.
Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 3:52 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Two local filmmakers are back home to premiere their newest movie. However, their story may be more compelling than the story they are telling onscreen.

A Love Story Made for the Big Screen

Tara Perry, a Jonesboro native, and husband Jordan Long from Bald Knob are in Jonesboro to promote and premiere their newest film, “Ghosts of the Ozarks.” The film is set in Arkansas and was shot in Trumann. Long directed the film, while Perry co-wrote, produced, and acted in the film.

Though the film explores the couple’s roots in the Natural State, their story did not start in Arkansas. In fact, the two met in California for the first time, despite growing up just 60 miles apart.

“Same goals, right?” Long said when asked how they ended up together.

“Los Angeles is a big city, but it actually feels like a small town sometimes,” Perry added.

Transition from Act I to Act II

The two met while shooting a short film of the same name back in 2016. Now, just six years later, they’re premiering the 87-minute version, with a three-month-old daughter alongside them.

“Every day is wild,” Long said in reference to working while also being a first-time parent.

“It keeps you living in the moment,” Perry said with a laugh and a smile.

“Cut!” COVID-19 Changes Things

“When we shot, we were actually one of the first productions back up during the pandemic,” Perry said. “We actually finished with no illnesses, which was fantastic.”

The majority of the filming took place during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. It proved to pose some very unique challenges, though Perry said the heart of what makes filmmaking special was still there.

“The comradery that you think would go missing...that still happened. That was really important,” she said.

Though things were different -- and perhaps much harder than before -- she said that knowing that everyone was in it together gave the filming a very unique feeling. Long added that now they both have several new tools at their disposal when it comes to filmmaking that they did not have prior to the pandemic. In a strange way, it helped them both grow and mature as filmmakers as they maneuvered the unprecedented obstacles.

Get your Popcorn Ready

The premiere will take place at the Malco Towne Cinema on Parker Road in Jonesboro on Thursday, Sept. 22. Doors will open at 6:45 p.m. with the film starting at 7:15 p.m., followed by a Q & A session. Perry said she hopes to provide a unique opportunity for aspiring filmmakers from her hometown.

”If anyone wants to ask any questions, we’re there. That’s something we didn’t have access to growing up. I was born and raised in Jonesboro, but when I was a teenager, in my early 20s, that wasn’t available. So it’s really neat that we’re getting to do that this time,” she said.

“Ghosts of the Ozarks” is a tale of suspense set in post-Civil War Arkansas and is a project Long has wanted to do for some time. For him, the production behind the film -- though very extensive, stressful, and difficult -- is fairly simple.

“It’s just a bunch of regular people making a movie, and I’m really, really proud of it,” Long said. “I hope they come out with questions, and I hope it just piques their curiosity, honestly.”

For those not able to attend in person, the film is also available to stream on Tubi for free. To watch the full interview, click here.