University of Arkansas – Fort Smith alumna Priscilla Tran of Fort Smith decided she wanted to pursue a career in film when, at age 18, she watched “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”
“I realized I wanted to be a storyteller and to create,” she said. “I decided after watching that film that I wanted to reach out and connect to tell people's raw, emotional, and vulnerable stories.”
Seven years later, Tran has seen her foray into cinema and theatre rewarded, when “Painted Woman,” a film in which she served as associate producer, was chosen to be spotlighted at this year’s Bentonville Film Festival May 3. The screening will be held at 1 p.m. at 21c Museum Hotel, located at 200 NE A Street in Bentonville. Following the screening, a panel for the film will take place with representatives from the Screen Actors Guild, Starz, Walmart and other industry professionals.
“When I heard that the film was chosen to be a spotlight film at the BFF, I just wanted to jump up and down,” she said. “It was just a huge honor because working on the film was hard work for everyone, but rewarding at the same time. Plus, this is my first film to work on, so to see that it got received so well and that people liked the film enough to make it a spotlight and host a panel for us just made the work that much more awesome and special for me. This is definitely a life experience I will never forget.”
“Painted Woman” follows the story of Julie Richards, a kept woman to a powerful and abusive man. She eventually finds her way into the outside world where she finds wisdom and her identity in the romance of the Old West.
“The film has many unexpected twists and turns and explores a sense of self while infusing romance, action, and drama with a little bit of violence,” Tran said.
Tran started out as a production assistant and an on-set photographer, but was promoted to associate producer after working for a year on the project.
She was well-prepared for the work due to her time at UAFS. A 2013 graduate, Tran studied in the university’s theatre program, where she acted in and even directed theatre productions. She said the experience helped prepare her to work in cinema.
“The theatre program requires that each student learn and do several jobs each semester involved in theatre. They also taught some film and educated us on how film sets worked,” she said. “This was so helpful in understanding how each person and unit in the film industry works and how it all comes together. It really does take a village, and understanding the process helped me tremendously.”
For more information on the film, visit https://www.facebook.com/paintedwomanfilm.
About the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith
The University of Arkansas – Fort Smith is the premiere regional institution of Western Arkansas, connecting education with careers and serving as a driver of economic development and quality of place in the greater Fort Smith region. Through a small campus, dedicated professors, and the university’s unique bond with its community, students at UAFS are able to do more in the areas they are passionate about, both on- and off-campus, in a way that prepares them for post-graduate success. To find out how you can do more at UAFS, visit www.uafs.edu.