UA grad student to release ‘Jim Lindsey Story’

As if there won’t be enough hype for the beginning of the 2013 Razorback Football season, now comes Clint Fullen with plans to premiere the 34-minute “The Jim Lindsey Story” documentary – narrated by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones – in Northwest Arkansas prior to the first game under new Hog Coach Bret Bielema.

The film, presented by the Walter J. Lemke Department of Journalism, covers the career of real estate developer Jim Lindsey, Jones’ one-time teammate and business partner. Emmy Award winners Larry Foley and Dale Carpenter executive produced the project.

Jones and Lindsey played together during the University of Arkansas’ 1964 national championship football season. Between 1963 and 1965, the Razorbacks captured 22-straight victories. That streak remains a school record. Lindsey was credited by many, including Jones, for being a leader in making the streak possible.

“Jim Lindsey has been one of the most important people and contributors in my life,” Jones said.

Lindsey would also play several years for the Minnesota Vikings.

Fullen said he first approached Foley in spring 2011 to seek a topic for his master’s thesis project. Fullen, who spent seven years studying under Foley, said Lindsey’s story quickly rose to the top of the list of ideas.

“At first, I thought it would be hard to get Lindsey to open up. To do these, you really need to get to know the character,” Fullen said.

After a few discussions, Lindsey agreed to the project.

“These are huge commitments. These are relationships. At first Lindsey wasn’t sure if he would have the time, and I really appreciated him being honest with that, because If he wasn’t willing to completely contribute to the project, then we were just going to head toward a dead end,” Fullen explained.

Fullen traveled to east Arkansas to interview those who knew Lindsey and his family in the Forrest City area. He also traveled to Minnesota to interview legendary coach Bud Grant and others who knew Lindsey during his days as a Viking.

“I was taken aback by the warm regards that all of these people we interviewed had about him (Lindsey). … When you do something like this, you try to keep your eye out for anything sensitive or that could be a controversy. But there was nothing I encountered that would delineate from the core of the film … which was about how he would use his physical ability and talents to parlay that into his business success,” Fullen said.

And although he narrated the documentary, Fullen has yet to meet Jones. The schedules never worked for an interview. At the end of the production Fullen knew the documentary needed something more.

“When production was wrapping up, we needed a narrator, and I’m very grateful that he (Jones) was willing to do it,” Fullen said.

Jones was sent a script, and the narration was recorded in facilities owned by Jones in Arlington, Texas.

A press release issued Tuesday (May 7) by Fullen including the following points about Lindsey and the documentary.

• “The history of the Arkansas Razorbacks is composed of legends, and without a doubt, Jim Lindsey is one of its most successful players–on and off the field. Lindsey won a national championship, became an NFL captain and built a thriving real estate empire across the South.”

• “At 21-years-old, Lindsey wagered his $75,000 signing bonus on a tract of land in Northwest Arkansas. He bet on a winner and found a new profession. During the NFL offseasons, the former Razorback continued to buy and sell property. Over time, he transformed his opportunities in athletics into a sizable fortune. After retiring from football, Lindsey established a real estate operation that flourishes today.”

• “Jones said he first became ‘sold’ on Lindsey while traveling to games. ‘He was my bus riding partner. We would talk about our dreams, our ambitions,’ Jones said. ‘I remember his insight into life was amazing at such a young age.’”

• “The Jim Lindsey Story” features interviews with College Football Hall of Fame coach Frank Broyles, former Arkansas head coach Ken Hatfield, former NFL players Fred Cox and Dave Osborn, and Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Bud Grant.”

Fullen also plans to push for release of the documentary on AETN, Arkansas’ public broadcasting station. To do that, he’ll have to cut the 34 minutes down to just under 27 minutes.

In addition to the premiere in Northwest Arkansas, Fullen is working on screenings in Little Rock and Forrest City.

“Of course, we’ll also have DVD’s available,” he added.

Fullen received bachelor degrees in broadcast journalism and creative writing from the University of Arkansas, and in 2013 received his master’s degree in documentary filmmaking. During his college years, Fullen worked as a freelance commercial and documentary director. His short films have toured more than 100 locations across the United States, and his work has been broadcast nationally through "PBS Frontline" and "PBS Planet Forward."

Link here for the Lindsey Story website, which includes a trailer of the documentary.