Ozark Foothills FilmFest included in Arkansas Encyclopedia


Batesville’s Ozark Foothills FilmFest is a new addition to the online Arkansas Encyclopedia of History and Culture. The article covers the history of the festival, from 2012 to present. The festival, established by Bob and Judy Pest became a 501 (c)(3) educational non-profit in 2001. The first festival featured the late Levin Helm, a member of the legendary musical group, The Band, and Arkansas musical icon. Levon’s presence attracted over three hundred people and got the festival off to a great start.


Over the years a number of Arkansans participated in the festival or screened their work here, including Lisa Blount, Mary Steenburgen, Louis Jordan, and many more. Programming also included Disfarmer: A Portrait of America, the first documentary about the enigmatic photographer from Heber Springs. In 2006 the festival mounted an exhibit, “Posters from the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema 1936-1956.” The exhibit toured the region.


By 2009 the festival had established itself as “the best small town film festival in America“ according the Arkansas Times. Filmmakers began to premiere their films in Batesville. The festival, still operated by its founders, settled into an annual five-day spring event in Batesville. Independent filmmakers began to enter the festival. Panels and workshops became increasingly important; women directors played a significant role in the festival’s programming; attendance and public support grew. With thirteen years experience, the festival, now held at The University of Arkansas Community College and the historic Landers Theater building, has established itself as solid, relevant, entertaining, and a contributor to the economy and quality of life in the region. The film festival article will be the first film-related article to be included in the Arkansas Encyclopedia. We appreciate the support of our community that has helped us reach this milestone and plan for the future.


The 13th annual festival will take place April 2-6. For more information visit our website: www.ozarkfoothiillsfilmfest.org.


The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture, a web-based reference work, is a project of the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies at the Central Arkansas Library System and is the only state encyclopedia sponsored by a public library.