U of A Communication Instructor Wins Best Documentary at Fayetteville Film Festival

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Each month the Department of Communication will be recognizing a faculty member who is working outside of the classroom to make their mark in the world. The department is pleased to introduce this series with an article about Russell Sharman and his accomplishments in the realm of film.

The 2016 Fayetteville Film Festival took place early last month, at various locations around the Fayetteville downtown square. Many are familiar with this event, formerly known as the 'Offshoot Film Festival.' This festival occurs once a year, and contestants must submit their works well in advance to be recognized by the festival. This year, Sharman won the "Best Documentary" award for a film he directed, Sustainable Barbuda.

This film was shot in the summer of 2014, and highlights the food and water security crisis on the tiny island nation of Barbuda. It explores the efforts made locally by a high school principal  to bring a sustainable aquaponics system to the island. This system can aid smaller islands that face similar challenges in the ever-changing climate.

The main goal of sustainability is to improve the standard of living for individuals, and to ensure future generations have a quality standard of life. The goal in stabilizing the standard of living is all dependent on the efficient use of resources in advancing long-term economic competitiveness.  

During the festival, Sharman was not only honored for his film, but he presented a lecture, "Screenwriting for Low (and No) Budget Filmmaking" which focused on the importance of treating the screenplay as a "tool to attract collaborators who can help realize your vision on a tight budget." (Sharman is not new to the film world, as he has worked in Hollywood as a screenwriter since 2008.)

Sharman is an adjunct lecturer in the Department of Communication at University of Arkansas.He has been involved in film for almost a decade and credits his success to his wife, Cheryl.  

Currently, Sharman's film is being featured locally, although his work also appears in in others like the Matsalu Nature Film Festival in Estonia.

Sharman encourages anyone interested in making films, "to not wait around for someone else's permission to make great art. Make it happen!"

Be sure to check out an interview with Sharman on the Department of Communication social media pages (October 10, 2016).

For more information about Sharman's films and videography adventures, be sure to check out, www.Vimeo.com/russellsharman


Kendreka Myles, intern
Department of Communication
479-259-4149, kzmyles@uark.edu


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