Ozark Foothills FilmFest (Locust Grove, AR)

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The Ozark Foothills FilmFest in Locust Grove, Arkansas introduces independent and regional films to the local community. Photo courtesy of Ozark Foothills FilmFest

The Ozark Foothills FilmFest began in 2002 as a two-city, five-day festival to bring independent and regional films to the mostly rural north central Arkansas area. The festival now spans three weeks and involves three Arkansan communities: Batesville, Heber Springs, and Searcy.

In FY 2004, the Ozark Foothills FilmFest received an NEA Challenge America grant of $10,000 to support its 2005 festival. Running April 1-17, 2005, the festival included a Southern Filmmakers Showcase featuring independent regional filmmakers; "The James Dean Era," a two-day multimedia exploration of the artistic genesis and lasting impact of James Dean; and Miniature Graceland, a film/performance piece by Arkansans Phil Lancaster and Alison Moore. The festival showcased 51 films and hosted 33 guest artists and presenters, as well as participating composers and musicians.

The Alloy Orchestra, the premiere national orchestra of scores for silent films, presented its original scores to accompany the silent classics The Black Pirate and Steamboat Bill, Jr. The Alloy Orchestra also performed during the FilmFest Gala at Stately Bradley Manor on the Lyon College campus.

The Southern Filmmakers Showcase included films from programs such as Best of Indie Memphis, New Films from Appalshop, and Films from the Foothills. "The James Dean Era" included screenings of Dean's early television work and other rare footage, a memorabilia exhibit, and scholar-led discussions about the actor. Approximately 4,000 people attended activities and screenings during the festival.

(From the 2004 NEA Annual Report)