BATESVILLE The Ozark Foothills FilmFest is less than a month from kickoff, and the final touches, including the film lineup and schedule, are complete.
Set for April 3-7 in Batesville, the fest, now in its 12th year, is organized by the nonprofit organization Ozark Foothills FilmFest Inc. and is run by its board of directors and a small staff, including board president Bob Pest and his wife, Executive Director Judy Pest.
Each year, the couple travels across the U.S. to look for potential films to show at the Foothills fest. This year’s lineup has more than 30 films, including documentary shorts and feature-length documentaries, along with narrative features and shorts.
Four foreign-language films will also be screened. Twenty-six filmmakers are scheduled to attend the fest, appearing at the screenings of their films to answer questions from the audience.
At 10 a.m. April 6, the fest will host a Female Face of Indie Film panel, including filmmakers Juli Jackson (45 RPM), Sarah Ledbetter (The Romance of Loneliness), Kate Siegenthaler (No Trespassing), Martha Stephens (Pilgrim Song) and Kris Swanberg (Empire Builder). The panel will be moderated by Sarah Moore
Chyrchel, whose film Why I Went to the Woods documents the life of Arkansan David Lanier, a sports writer who covered the Arkansas Razorbacks before finding himself homeless.
Though many of the films screening at the fest have already been screened at other festivals, the documentaries No Trespassing, Hearts of the Dulcimer and Black Marks on White Paper will all premiere at the Ozark Foothills Filmfest this year. Directed by Kate and Lyle Siegenthaler, No Trespassing is one of a handful of films at the fest that have ties to Arkansas. The documentary follows Kate Siegenthaler, a social worker, into rural Missouri and Arkansas for work, looking at whether cycles of abuse, poverty, neglect and addiction can be broken.
At 7 p.m. April 3, the fest will officially begin with an opening-night celebration of the renovated Landers Theatre, which was built in 1906. The event will include screenings of a the ’30s comedy Topper and the first Popeye cartoon shown in color, Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor. Tickets to the event are $5, or $4 for students and adults 54 and older. A full schedule of film screenings can be found at ozarkfoothillsfilmfest.org. Most screenings are $5 for adults, $4 for students and adults 54 and older, and $3 for Foothills Film Society members. Passes to all screenings are available for $25, $20 or $15.