Written and directed by Arkansas native, James Bridges, September 30, 1955 tells the tale of a college student’s reaction to the untimely death of actor James Dean. Starring as the college student is Richard Thomas, who gained fame as John-Boy Walton on the television series, The Waltons. Bridges also chose to film the production in his home state, shooting on the campus of the University of Central Arkansas in Conway.
Well-known New York Times movie critic Vincent Canby said in his March, 31, 1978 review of the film, “September 30, 1955 was filmed in Arkansas and even has the look of a movie of the 50s, when film makers were starting to go on location in the interests of accuracy. It is beautifully cast and acted with self-absorbed intensity by a number of young performers who are very, very funny, especially by Deborah Benson, as the college's pretty, square, homecoming queen, a girl who loves Jimmy J. a lot, but who loves conventional behavior even more, and by Lisa Blount, as Jimmy J.'s ex-girlfriend, someone who shares his nutty adoration of James Dean and who must pay a high price to grow up.” Blount is a native of Fayetteville.
The University of Central Arkansas campus is located on Donaghey Street in Conway.
In 2001, Arkansas native Lisa Blount produced and husband Ray McKinnon wrote and directed The Accountant, which won the 2002 Academy Award for Best Short Subject.