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UA Little Rock Professor’s Film Set for Worldwide Release Dec. 20

Kiel Thorlton films "A Place to Call Home."
Kiel Thorlton films "A Place to Call Home."

A film written and directed by a UA Little Rock professor has been picked up for distribution and will be released worldwide on Dec. 20.

Kiel Thorlton, assistant professor of film and television at UA Little Rock, debuted his first feature-length film last year at the Arkansas Cinema Society’s Filmland in Little Rock.

“A Place Called Home” is the story of widowed father Levi, played by Ben Gavin, who struggles to raise his two young daughters after the tragic loss of their mother. Living paycheck to paycheck was hard enough but with the loss of his wife, things become increasingly strained forcing Levi to make some difficult decisions.

“It’s a love story between a father and his daughters,” Thorlton said. “He is a high school dropout working in the rural South. His wife dies in childbirth, and he has a 7-year-old and a newborn to raise by himself. He has to find someone to watch the baby, and he has to go back to work. It’s a snowball effect. He is navigating grief with young children.”

The film garnered attention on the film festival circuit from multiple distributors and sales agents; ultimately landing the film with Freestyle Digital Media in Los Angeles. “A Place Called Home” will be available to rent and own on North American global digital HD internet and satellite platforms on Dec. 20. You can find out more information at the film’s website.

Poster of "A Place Called Home"

“Thankfully, ‘A Place Called Home’ sees hope in, well…the title does spell it out,” said Luke Thompson, reviewer for Film Gone Wild. “If the home is worth protecting, it’s not just because of the building but also the people around it. Is this undue optimism in an increasingly radicalized world of demonization? Maybe. But in the movies, at least, optimism can still be earned.”

A native of Auburn, Kentucky, Thorlton and his crew filmed the movie in his small hometown of about 1,000 residents and in Logan County in 2019, bringing in more than 50 film professionals to the area and spending 30 days in the community creating the film. The production supported individuals from Atlanta to Los Angeles as well as local crew and cast such as Sean Ramey who has been a part of “Chicago PD,” “Chicago Fire,” and, “Snapped.”

“It was imperative that this film, given the subject matter and style, be filmed inside the American South,” Thorlton said. “The fact that this area is where I found my love of filmmaking was a bonus.”

The film was screened around the world at various film festivals such as Arkansas Cinema Society’s Filmland, The Oxford Film Festival, SoCal Film Awards, and South Georgia Film Festival. It also garnered multiple awards including Best Film at the Louisville International Film Festival, Special Jury Award at WorldFest – Houston International Film Festival, and Best Director at the London Fusion Festival.