Forrest City native directs first movie in AR delta
A lot of kids have big dreams about what they want to be when they grow up. Well one Forrest City kid is making his dreams to become a Hollywood movie director come true.
What do Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood, and Faith Hill have in common? They all have had music videos directed by Grammy-nominated Chris Hicky. Who just happens to be from Forrest City, Arkansas.
Chris attended film school in Nashville, Tennessee and later moved to Los Angeles.
He's been directing music videos for more than a decade but he recently decided to make his own movie. And because his script had been inspired by the Arkansas delta... what better place to shoot it than the Arkansas delta.
"The Grace of Jake" is a movie all about redemption. An abandoned son in search of a father he never knew... seeking revenge but instead finding forgiveness.
The sight of a movie being shot with professional actors and a film crew might be common in the streets of Hollywood but not in Forrest City.
"Bringing this movie home is pretty incredible because all of the sights and sounds and flavors that are in the scripts all come from where I grew up," said Chris Hicky.
Chris was given a camera by his grandfather when was just a kid and fell in love with making pictures.
"When we were kids he used to make home movies and I had to star in them," said Chris' sister Jennifer Collins. "So he's wanted to do this since he was a kid. And he put it on hold for a little while and finally started to do it and it's just what he was born to do. And he's so good at it. And to watch him work this scale has been amazing."
Chris's sister, Jennifer, is not only one of Chris' biggest fans but also the Executive Producer of the film.
She quickly learned that movie-making is far from glamorous.
"These guys work hard. Long days, long hours. And it's much more than I ever expected involved in putting this thing together."
"Four in the afternoon is our morning today," said Chris.
Not only is Chris and his crew putting in long hours and long days, this script has been in the making for 12 years.
"He's worked very hard. He's put in his time and paid his dues and lived out in California a long time before anything exciting started happening. So he's earned it," said Jennifer.
Chris says the coolest thing about bringing a piece of Hollywood to the Arkansas delta is seeing the support from his hometown.
"I wish someone had made a movie about the making of the movie. It would be a really great documentary about a community gathering around a local boy and helping him fulfill his dream," said Chris.
And in turn, expose some of his California co-workers to the true spirit of Arkansas.
"I've had a lot of crew members and cast members come up to me and say thank you for creating this environment for us and this opportunity. We've met the most amazing people, we've never felt more welcomed or supported and it's been a lifetime experience," said Chris.@
"I hope he'll get into Sundance and some of the bigger festivals and start getting some press for being a top notch director," said Jennifer. "If he can do this movie on this budget, I can't imagine what he could do with a true Hollywood-scale budget movie. He has so much talent and skill and I hope this will be the beginning for him."