Ozark Foothills FilmFest, Inc. to Receive $10,000 Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $25 million in grants as part of the NEA’s first major funding announcement for fiscal year 2018. Included in this announcement is a Challenge America grant of $10,000 to Ozark Foothills FilmFest, Inc. for the 17th Annual Ozark Foothills FilmFest in Batesville, Arkansas. The Challenge America category supports projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations—those whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability.

“It is energizing to see the impact that the arts are making throughout the United States. These NEA-supported projects, such as this one to the Ozark Foothills FilmFest, are good examples of how the arts build stronger and more vibrant communities, improve well-being, prepare our children to succeed, and increase the quality of our lives,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “At the National Endowment for the Arts, we believe that all people should have access to the joy, opportunities, and connections the arts bring.”

The 17th Annual Ozark Foothills FilmFest will take place April 19-21 and April 27-28 at the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville. Highlights include “Reel Rural: Rural America in Independent Film,” a series of screenings and filmmaker panel discussion exploring depictions of small town and rural communities in independently-produced narrative films. The festival will also continue its tradition of incorporating a live performance element into the festival line-up with a special opening night event that will take place at the Melba Theater on Thursday, April 19.

The complete line-up for the 17th Annual Ozark Foothills FilmFest will be available at www.ozarkfoothillsfilmfest.org on or before March 7. Announcements leading up to the festival will be posted at www.facebook.org/OzarkFoothillsFilmFest.

Ginger Smith joined OGTC in 2014 as a volunteer, and has lived in this area since 1972 when she moved to be near her parents, the late Doss and Vivian Burgess. Her late father was Independence County Appraiser and any time family, whether kids or grand kids, came to visit for even a short time, he would take them to A.D. Hill’s grocery store, and get them a soda pop and candy bar, see the talking bird there, and end up “checking out the great White River.” All the kids and grands have played on the banks there, picnicked, and played on the old train. Ginger is adamant, since she moved to Batesville, there is just no other place to raise a family. Her love for the area and desire to help promote it in her professional capacity led her to seek volunteering, and Charlie Morris, whom she met when she was a typesetter at the Daily Guard Newspaper, put her in touch with Cathy Drew, Executor Director of OGTC. She has been on board since then and says she has loved everything she has done and is proud to represent North Central Arkansas.
The last 20 years of her employment she worked for the late County Judge David Wyatt, West Elementary School Principal Jerry Harris, and Circuit Clerk Claudia Nobles and Judge John Kemp. At the Guard Office she says she made friends for a life time, and then the West Elementary teachers, students, and their families grew close to her forever. Her last job she was hired in a newly created position to collect felony fines and restitution. She was so proud that after three years she more than tripled the annual revenues that she retired! Her part-time retirement job was with the ortho docs, Drs. Allen and Angel where she also met many people from all over the area, and made another set of new friends! She is a published writer and has also written feature articles for the Batesville Guard TV Guide and the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.
She has a daughter, Misty Long Sparks, son-in-law Dloyd Sparks, and three grands, Dalton Lee, Victoria Lynn and Anna Rose, who own her heart, and three more heartbeat grands, Nico and Corbin of Washington, and a late granddaughter, Ginger Savannah. Her late husband, Ken Smith, was the Batesville Postmaster.
Totally retired now, Ginger offers her time and writing abilities to OGTC as she travels around the state and visits with so many nice folks, writes reviews, and tries to be a worthy representative for Ozark Gateway Tourism. She is a people person who really cares for all God has blessed us with in our beautiful state of Arkansas in the United States of America.