Jen Gerber’s first time on a film set was for a small acting role in a country music video in Nashville, Tenn. Gerber, who goes by Jen, said being on the set that day changed her life. “I realized
She’s been busy since. She earned
In her spare time, she’s directed a film — “The Revival” — that has been screened in Los Angeles and abroad.
Now the accomplished writer, director
These outreach programs, as well as events such as a guided walking tour of Hot Springs given by Matt Green, the subject of the documentary “The World Before Your Feet” and a “walker” who’s walking every street and path in New York City, help audiences connect with the documentaries in a larger way, Gerber said.
“I want to do much, much more of that next year to create more of an interactive experience,” she said. “Because what’s the difference between watching the film at home and watching it at the festival? It’s that you get that extra connection to enhance the experience.”
With the rising popularity of documentaries such as box-office hits “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” and “RBG,” Gerber said she’s excited about the future of the genre and her involvement in it.
“I think I’ve become the director of this festival at the right time for the genre because
Though she hasn’t made a documentary film, Gerber said she’s inspired by the intensive research conducted by documentarians on the subjects of their films. She’s now writing a script for a new project: “Crash Reel,” about a female demolition derby driver.
“You get to walk in someone else’s shoes,” Gerber said. “I don’t anticipate that I’ll ever drive in a derby, but through
Gerber is also working on a more autobiographical project titled “Pretty Near Perfect” that’s loosely based on her time as a teenage beauty queen living in Hot Springs. For other female filmmakers and storytellers who are looking to break into the industry, Gerber encourages them to find a great mentor and support system, a role she happily served for her former UCA students, some of whom go on to be hired on Gerber’s own projects.
“I want to support them, I want to help them grow their resume, and they’re really good at what they do,” she said. “I’ve watched them grow beyond what I taught them, so when it comes to any project that I do, I start by hiring this group of young women that I worked with here in Arkansas.”