Zoie Clift, travel writer
Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

A group of filmmakers from around the country recently came to El Dorado to work with locals on creating a parody video to help showcase the town and its future.

The three-minute video shows people singing and dancing around downtown El Dorado to the opening song from the popular Oscar nominated film La La Land and highlights the much anticipated music, arts and entertainment district, known as the Murphy Arts District, being built in town.

“Because La La Land was nominated for so many Academy Awards and partially because of the big flub on Oscar night, we felt like the film was on people’s minds,” said Alexander Jeffery, who helped work on the video. “Of course, it also lent itself incredibly well to parody and the opening number is iconic in so many ways, especially being one long, extended shot.”

Jeffery, who is also an award-winning filmmaker in El Dorado and the chair of the El Dorado Film Festival, said they have gotten positive feedback on the video so far. “People seem to be enjoying this sort’ve out-there approach to promoting our little town,” he said.  “Jonnie Stapleton, who wrote the lyrics for the song, also put together all of the dance segments. Parts of it were sent to people on video before filming and parts were made up when he arrived in El Dorado from Los Angeles. We held a few rehearsals based on the videos he sent us for people to practice together. The sequence on the trolley was taught to the dancers as we were filming other sections of the video.”

The Murphy Arts District has a key role in the production. “It’s very exciting,” Jeffery said. “El Dorado Festivals and Events has been working for years now to make this happen and finally the first phase of our construction is almost finished. This September, we will open up the Griffin Restaurant and Cabaret along with a large performance venue, an outdoor amphitheater which will seat over 9,000 people, a farmer’s market pavilion, and a children’s playscape. Right after, we will start construction on the historic Rialto theater and the McWilliams Art Gallery. The types of programming we will bring to El Dorado are sure to be very attractive to locals and out-of-towners and I’m very excited about the emphasis being placed on the arts in our little town. What’s also exciting for me is that our film festival will have a permanent home once these venues are up and running. We’ll have a contained area for screenings, parties and food right in the heart of our beautiful, historic downtown.”

The video is a production from El Dorado Festivals and Events and was created as a  follow-up to last year’s parody video the group did covering Downtown by Macklemore.