ATU Theatre Evolves to Incorporate Filmmaking

ATU Theatre and Film Production Spring 2022
A behind-the-scenes look at production of "Beauregard Bottoms," a film created by students and faculty in the Arkansas Tech University theatre and filmmaking program.

A reimagined Arkansas Tech University academic program that combines theatre and filmmaking will offer its pilot production this spring.

“Beauregard Bottoms,” a Southern gothic thriller film written by ATU student Bri DeClue of Dardanelle, will be screened at the Techionery Theatre, 1502 N. El Paso Ave., at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 8, and Saturday, April 9.

Tickets will be available for $5 each at the Techionery Theatre box office on the days of the screenings.

“Students who are interested in theatre are usually also interested in film,” said Dr. David Eshelman, head of the ATU Department of Communication and Journalism and professor of communication. “It is important that students be familiar with both media. As the pandemic has taught us, theatre projects can become film projects out of necessity. At ATU, we train students to be successful in as many circumstances as possible.”

Frances Roberson, assistant professor of theatre and film and technical director of theatre at Arkansas Tech, serves as program director for ATU theatre and film production. A native Arkansan, Roberson received a Master of Fine Arts degree in film production from Chapman University (Calif.) and worked professionally in the film industry.

“I am beyond excited to bring this new opportunity to our students,” said Roberson, who is serving as director for the spring 2022 ATU film. “When I was young, we accepted that if we wanted to create movies we had to move away. However, technology has come far enough that we can conceive, create and distribute digital films from right here in Russellville, Arkansas. Projects like Beauregard Bottoms will give our students the experience they need to be able to greenlight their own projects.”

The spring 2022 film marks the first one Arkansas Tech theatre and film production has created using new digital film equipment designed to give students a competitive advantage in 21st century performance art.

“Beauregard Bottoms” is about a young woman who leaves behind her family troubles with hopes of pursuing a new beginning at college.

However, the protagonist’s encounters with an antebellum-era spirit on campus has her teetering between intrigue and fear.

“It was very interesting and fun to be working on a project like this,” said DeClue, who has written three audio plays produced for the Arkansas Radio Theatre and was the chief transition scene writer for “Mil Lenguas/A Thousand Tongues,” a film produced by Arkansas Tech theatre and film in spring 2021. “I really appreciate being able to improve my skills, and I can’t wait to see everyone’s hard work with the film when it’s finished.”

The cast of “Beauregard Bottoms” features ATU students Laken Rudelis of Harrison, Rue Recinos of Alma, Kyndal Atkinson of Rogers and Juan Olivarez of Fort Smith.

Faith Spencer of Russellville is serving as the assistant director. Caleb Foshe and Brady Williams, both of Fayetteville, are director of photography and camera operator, respectively.

Kyndal Atkinson of Rogers is producing the film, and Lily Watson of Russellville is leading the design team.

The post production process will be supervised by Andrew Egan of Conway, and the special effects will be designed by Matthew West of Batesville.

The film will feature an original soundtrack scored by Brad Wills of Dardanelle.

Learn more about the ATU theatre and film production program at