“Reel Rural” Films at the 17th Annual Ozark Foothills FilmFest on April 28th!

Ozark Foothills FilmFest “Reel Rural” Offerings Include Film Shot in Arkansas

The 17th Annual Ozark Foothills FilmFest will again showcase movies that embody authentic portrayals of the people, places, and practices unique to rural America. The “Reel Rural” program was created in 2017 to highlight the festival’s long-standing focus on films of special relevance to rural and small town residents. This year’s “Reel Rural” offerings take place on Saturday, April 28 throughout the day in Independence Hall on the campus of the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville.

The program kicks off with a free filmmaker panel discussion beginning at 10:30 AM. Directors of three feature length narrative films and one documentary will participate in a discussion about how the independent film genre is uniquely positioned to depict regional mores and points of view, as well as the challenges in getting such films to audiences in the regions they seek to represent. The four films showcased in the program will screen throughout the day, with post-screening audience Q&As following each movie.

One of the films, MY GOOD MAN’S GONE, directed by Nick Citton, was shot in Story, Arkansas. In the film, tragedy brings two young adults back to their rural hometown now on its last legs, and they begin to understand the strength, sacrifice, and sweet freedom of a clean slate. Director Nick Citton offers the following observations about his experience filming in Arkansas: “My first experience with the town of Story came as a research trip. I had decided I wanted to make a contained, character-driven film that tested the waters of working with non-actors. I was hell-bent on taking myself out of my geographic comfort zone of Los Angeles/Vancouver/New York. And I wanted something with a rich sense of place that would be warm to the idea of a small crew coming into town and setting up shop. . . I wasn’t entirely sure what I would find in Arkansas, but I knew I was hungry for something quiet. A location with enough aged character that one needn’t force it onscreen. . . it would just “be.” Over multiple trips, the lines between cast and crew and townspeople all seemed to blur. The film has moments of pure, un-staged honesty that make me smile every time I see them.”

Following is the schedule for the “Reel Rural: Rural America in Independent Film” offerings:
10:30 AM – Panel Discussion (free to attend)
Noon – FAREWELL FERRIS WHEEL, directed by Jamie Sisley
2:00 PM – THE DRAWER BOY, directed by Arturo Perez Torres
4:15 PM – MY GOOD MAN’S GONE, directed by Nick Citton (actress Cheryl Nichols also attending)
7:45 PM – CORTEZ, directed by Cheryl Nichols (actor Arron Shiver also attending)

Admission for individual screenings is $5 regular adult, $4 for adults age 55 and over and students, and $3 for Foothills Film Society members. A “Red Eye” pass providing admission to all festival screenings is available for $30 regular adult, $25 for seniors and students, and $20 for Film Society members.

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.

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.