BATESVILLE — On an easel just to the left, a framed poster sat covered in a piece of print fabric at the Batesville Area Arts Council’s Gallery on Main on Tuesday morning. Each year, the Ozark Foothills FilmFest unveils its new poster for the upcoming festival. This year, the poster artist is Mandy Maxwell of Paragould.
The 2012 film-festival poster was chosen based on its reflection of the culture of Arkansas.
“They wanted something to really show the Ozark culture, and nothing says Arkansas more than my dad,” Mandy Maxwell said as she unveiled the poster, reveling a photograph of a blue boxcar from China that sits on her parents’ property.
“This is an image you see anywhere in Arkansas. It’s something we see all the time,” she said. “It’s the warmness — the wear and the re-purposing of it. The garden, the growing and the trees around it.
“At first I was thinking, ‘Ozarks — that’s mountains and trees,’ but they wanted an emphasis on the culture in Arkansas. This is a photo of one of my dad’s containers that’s filled with junk. He’s as Arkansas as you can get.”
Bob and Judy Pest have been bringing film and filmmakers to Batesville for 11 years through the film festival. Bob Pest said that this year, there will be more feature-length films than before.
“In the past, we have had short films by up-and-coming filmmakers in Arkansas,” he said. “Many of them have come up enough that we have more feature films.”
He also said many people wonder why it is important to have a film festival in a town of 10,000, and he has a quick response.
“Arkansas filmmakers can grow up and make films about Arkansas,” he said.
In addition to introducing the films and their makers, the film fest also offers screenwriting and filmmaking workshops and competitions. Pest said focusing on the advancement of filmmakers from Arkansas helps promote the state and draw in tourism.
Maxwell was introduced to the film festival when Paragould independent filmmaker Juli Jackson asked her to help with a film.
Jackson is one of three Arkansas filmmakers who received a $30,000 grant from the film fest to stimulate filmmaking in Arkansas. She used the grant money to fund her latest film, 45RPM.
“The main character is an artist, and Juli got Mandy to do the art for the artist in the film,” Pest said.
After film-fest officials saw Maxwell’s work, she was asked to design the poster, T-shirts and a new website for the 2012 film festival.
To learn more about Jackson’s films, visit her website at julijackson.com, and to see more of Maxwell’s work and to read her blog, visit mandyatlarge.com.
View the poster and see the lineup of movies that will be playing at the Ozark Foothills FilmFest, which will run from March 28 through April 1, at www.ozarkfoothillsfilmfest.org.
Staff writer Jeanni Brosius can be reached at (501) 244-4307 or firstname.lastname@example.org.