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Simon_Mercer copyWEB
Filmmaker’s short makes the grade for Slamdance

By Debra Downey, Senior Editor

Filmmaker Simon Mercer’s short documentary, Glass Eyes of Locust Bayou, has been chosen for showing at the Slamdance Film Festival in Utah later this month.

Mercer’s work focuses on the life of Arkansas resident Phil Chambliss, who writes, funds, directs, shoots and edits his own films.

After hearing about the homemade, rural flicks and tracking down some of the oddities, Dundas native Mercer said he knew he had to find the filmmaker to learn more about his life and work.

Chambliss, said Mercer, had no Internet access and limited phone use, so the pair began exchanging hand-written letters.

“Once convincing him of my good intentions, the trek to document his dark and magical world began,” said Mercer.

Chambliss is a former security guard who lives alone in a trailer near a bayou.  Mercer and Chambliss  eventually spent a couple of weeks together to bring  Glass Eyes of Locust Bayou to the screen.

The film is Mercer’s second short documentary. His first, King Dong, won the Audience Award for Best Short Documentary at the Arizona International Film Festival in 2011.

According to it website, Slamdance was started in 1995 by a “cheerful, subversive” group of filmmakers who weren’t accepted into the Sundance Film Festival. Unwilling to take no for an answer, they started their own event. Slamdance is now a year-round organization dedicated to fostering the development of unique and innovative filmmakers.



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