The 12th annual Ozark Foothills FilmFest, set for April 3-7 with programs at the Landers Theater Building, Old Independence Regional Museum and the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville (UACCB), will celebrate the progress female filmmakers have made in recent years by screening a total of seventeen feature and short films created by women from as far away as California and as close as Conway, Arkansas. More than half of the filmmakers will be attending.
The “Female Face of Indie Film” program begins on Saturday, April 6, with a panel discussion from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. at Nucor Auditorium in the Lyon Building on the Lyon College Campus. Sarah Moore Chyrchel, the 2009 recipient of the Arkansas Arts Council Fellowship for Film and Video, will be the panel moderator as well as screening several of her short films later in the day. The panel includes Arkansan Juli Jackson (director 45RPM), Kris Swanberg from Chicago (Empire Builder), Martha Stephens from West Virginia (Pilgrim Song), Sarah Ledbetter from Tennessee (The Romance of Loneliness) , and Kate Siegenthaler from Missouri (No Trespassing).
Following the panel the festival will move to Independence Hall on the campus of UACCB to screen Empire Builder at 12:30 p.m. along with the short films Why I Went to the Woods, Desolation Dreamscape, and Speeding Motorcycle by Sarah Moore Chyrchel.
Pilgrim Song will screen at 3:00; The Romance of Loneliness at 6:00, along with Crush, a short by Jen West and Rebecca Pugh; and No Trespassing at 7:30 along with the award winning short The Darkness is Close Behind by Sheena McCann.
Other short films by women will screen along with features throughout the festival. Sunday Visit and Broken Glass, by Arkansan Ariel Bisbee, screens on Wednesday, April 3, at the Old Independence Regional Museum and Sunday, April 7 at noon at Independence Hall. John Wayne’s Bed, by another Arkansan, Sarah Jones, also screens on April 7 at noon. Both filmmakers are part of the Arkansas Showcase.
Two outstanding shorts screen on Thursday evening, April 4, at the Landers, along with the documentary feature, Reconvergence. Picture Show, a collaborative effort by J. Michael Hicks and award-winning screenplay author Robyn Rebecca Young, tells the story of an aging couple sharing their final moments together at the movies. L Train, by Anna Musso, is an unforgettable lesson in compassion.
Grandmothers (Abuelas) by Afarin Eghbal from Venezuela screens on Sunday, April 7, as part of the World Cinema Showcase. This beautiful film explores the traumatic ramifications of General Videla’s military dictatorship in Argentina from 1976-83 which resulted in 30,000 men, women and children “disappearing.” Using real-life testimonials from members of the ‘Grandmothers of May Square,’ this animated documentary raises issues of memory and loss and is a testament to the extraordinary tenacity of the women who continue fighting for the truth about their missing relatives.
The festival concludes on Sunday evening with two films about music and musicians. The Lost Souls, a documentary about Rock’n’Roll music in the 60’s in Arkansas, provided the impetus for Juli Jackson’s 45RPM. Hearts of the Dulcimer by Californians Patricia Delich and Wayne Jiang focuses on the California Dulcimer, a cousin to the traditional Mountain Dulcimer. Breaking from tradition, the mountain dulcimer went through a transformation in both sound and shape in California. The small, quiet instrument became bigger and louder, and players adopted new genres for the instrument ranging from classical to jazz to rock. Hearts of the Dulcimer gives a firsthand account of living life in the counterculture, following one’s passion and playing and building mountain dulcimers.
All of the women filmmakers participating in the festival will be available to discuss their careers and take questions from the audience.
The complete Ozark Foothills FilmFest schedule is available at www.ozarkfoothillsfilmfest.org. For Foothills Film Society memberships, which include admission discounts, an invitation to a catered Filmmakers Welcoming Reception, and festival merchandise discounts, visit the website or call 870-251-1189.
Ozark Foothills FilmFest is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Arkansas Arts Council, the Independence County Recreation Fund and numerous Batesville businesses. The Presenting Sponsor of the 12th Annual Ozark Foothills FilmFest is First Community Bank. The Event Sponsor of the “Female Face of Indie Film” panel is Lyon College. The Event Sponsor of the Saturday screenings of films by women directors is the Arkansas Motion Picture Institute. For a complete listing of festival sponsors, visit www.ozarkfoothillsfilmfest.org/sponsors.