17th Annual Ozark Foothills FilmFest Line-Up Announced

The 17th Annual Ozark Foothills FilmFest has released the schedule of screenings and ancillary activities slated for this year’s festival. The festival is scheduled for April 19-21 and April 27-28. All screenings take place in Independence Hall on the campus of the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville, 2005 White Drive, with the exception of the opening night event which takes place at the historic Melba Theater, 115 West Main Street in Batesville.

The Lost World


The FilmFest will screen 45 films during the five day event, most of which are Arkansas premieres. Several of the filmmakers whose work is presented will attend and conduct post-screening Q$As. Admission for individual screenings is $5 adult, $4 students and seniors, and $3 for Foothills Film Society members. A “Red Eye” all-movie pass is available for $30 adult, $25 students and seniors, and $20 for Foothills Film Society members.

The FilmFest will once again put films depicting the rural and small town lifestyle front and center. “Reel Rural: Rural America in Independent Film,” introduced in 2017, is a series of films accompanied by a free filmmaker panel discussion, showcasing movies that embody authentic portrayals of the people, places, and practices unique to rural and small town America. The “Reel Rural” program will take place on the final day of the festival, Saturday, April 28, with the panel discussion beginning at 10:30 AM, followed by screenings of the three narrative and one documentary feature length films directed by the panelists.

This year’s Opening Night event, which takes place at the Melba Theater on Thursday, April 18, will continue the festival tradition of screening a feature length silent film with live music accompaniment. This year’s family friendly silent film selection is THE LOST WORLD. Released in 1925, THE LOST WORLD is the first feature length film to combine stop motion animation and live actors and the first dinosaur-oriented film sensation, setting the stage for all the dinosaur movies to follow, from King Kong to the Jurassic Park trilogy. Based on a novella by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, the film follows Professor Challenger who believes that prehistoric creatures are alive and flourishing in the Amazon jungle. He and an intrepid band of explorers undertake a voyage to the region and witness dinosaurs and humanoids doing battle in a magnificent landscape. The film will be presented with live music accompaniment by the Lyon College Jazz Band from an original score composed for the screening.

For the complete schedule of screenings and related activities, visit www.ozarkfoothillsfilmfest.org.

The 17th Annual Ozark Foothills FilmFest is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, First Community Bank, the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville, Lyon College, the Melba Theater, FutureFuel Chemical Company, Citizens Bank, White River Distributors, WRD Entertainment, Entergy, Kent’s Firestone, the Ozark Gateway Tourist Council, Lifeplus, Bryant’s Pharmacy, Comfort Suites, Bad Boy Mowers, and numerous other small businesses and individuals.

All film stills are provided with permission of the filmmakers. Descriptions of the films they depict are available by visiting www.ozarkfoothillsfilmfest.org/film_listing and clicking on the film title.

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.