NEWS RELEASE: Dreamland documentary


February 12, 2013

Contact: Kerry McCoy,, 501-690-1700

Filming has begun for AETN documentary about the Dreamland Ballroom

The Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN) was recently awarded a grant from the Arkansas Humanities Council and additional funds from the Moving Image Trust to produce a documentary about the Dreamland Ballroom in the historic Taborian Hall, home of Arkansas Flag and Banner, on Ninth Street in Little Rock.

Filming began in January and will run through the end of 2013.  Producer Mark Wilcken hopes to have a finished product by the summer of 2014, adding “This project has been in development for several years so it feels great to finally start production. The building and the Ballroom are filled with stories that I’m excited to uncover and share with the audience.”

Dreamland Ballroom was a popular dancehall and a hotbed for big band, jazz, and blues musicians. The venue was a regular stop for the “Chittlin’ Circuit,” a national touring company of professional Black entertainers, revues, and stage shows.

“We are thrilled to announce this exciting project,” said Kerry McCoy, building owner and founder of the non-profit Friends of Dreamland.  “Everyone who visits Dreamland feels the same magic I did when I first saw it; there is something really special about this place.  We know that AETN is going to do an amazing job of documenting and telling the story of this wonderful building.”

The documentary will intertwine the history of Dreamland through interviews and re-enactments with the current efforts in 2013 to preserve and refurbish the Ballroom.  The film will also examine the cultural significance of the Dreamland Ballroom in Arkansas Black history.

The production team is led by two skilled professionals.  Mark Wilcken recently won three Regional Emmy Awards for his documentary, “Clean Lines, Open Spaces”.  The Director of Photography is award winning Cinematographer, Gabe Mayhan who worked with Wilcken on “Clean Lines, Open Spaces”.

Much of the research for the film was compiled by Professor Berna Love of Pulaski Technical College.  Love will publish a book this year that chronicles the story of the Taborian Hall, its Dreamland Ballroom, and the surrounding neighborhood.  Together, the book and documentary will make the legacy of this important historic site more accessible to Arkansans.


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