Three U of A Student Films Selected for Fayetteville Film Festival 2018

Mike "The Birdman" Mlodinow at Fayetteville Lake.
Photo Submitted

Mike "The Birdman" Mlodinow at Fayetteville Lake.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The documentary Mike the Birdman will screen at the Fayetteville Film Festival in the Emerging Filmmaker Block at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20, at the Global Campus Theatre. The short film Chess and the documentary Homeless in Boomtown will also be shown.

All three films are by students or alumni of the School of Journalism and Strategic Media in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arkansas.

Ninette Sosa, Paige Murphy and John Erwin produced the film, which follows an avid local bird watcher, who watches the routine of birds in Northwest Arkansas. Sounds simple, but the viewer won't believe what they learn about "Mike."

What makes Mike stand out is his approach to collecting bird data — especially his bird-calling methods, used to get birds to respond so that he has accurate bird counts. The information he has collected for decades is entered into a national registry that records bird flight patterns.

Mike takes pride in his research and walks to his locations to "bird observe" because he does not own a car — nor television — and rarely uses a phone. While he might seem disconnected from society, he is quite connected with nature and the trends going on around him, such as climate change.

A seven-minute film by Denzel Jenkins, titled Chess, is also in the Emerging Filmmaker category. Chess is a narrative short. The main character, Joe, played by Austin Ashford, (graduate student in the theatre department) fights an internal battle evolving from all the bad events transpiring in his life.

On Saturday at 10 a.m., Denzel Jenkins and Shane White's film Homeless in Boomtown makes its debut at the film festival. The documentary reaches into the epidemic of an increasing homeless population in Northwest Arkansas. The film explores the homeless situation in Fayetteville. Included in the film are a homeless couple who makes the woods on 19th Street their home, a university police officer who patrols university property where homeless camps exist, Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan and other notable people within the Fayetteville community. 

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.



Ninette Sosa, graduate assistant
Center for Ethics in Journalism


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