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story.lead_photo.caption On a roll: United Skates chronicles communities on a quest to save skating rinks.
The Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival’s opening night film, Hillbilly, explores the Appalachian region and its residents.

It's the time of year when Spa City becomes Screen City.

The 27th annual Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, which includes screenings, parties, panels, workshops, an awards ceremony and other events, begins Friday and continues for a 10-day period.

27th annual Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival

Friday through Oct. 27, Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa, Central Avenue and Fountain Street, Hot Springs

Admission: $400 all-access pass; $225 film buff pass; $120 opening weekend 3-day all-access pass; $120 closing weekend 3-day all-access pass; $50 student pass; $30 day pass; $12 single film admission

(501) 538-0452

hsdfi.org

The opening night film will be Hillbilly, by Sally Rubin and Ashley York. The 87-minute film focuses on those residents of the Appalachian region who have been mocked, feared and blamed for American social problems, especially in the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election. Director York returns to her eastern Kentucky hometown, where she confronts the opposing political views in her own family.

"One of our special guests from that film will be Billy Redden," says Jan Gerber, who became executive director of the festival in July 2017. "He played the Appalachian banjo player, that young man, in the film, Deliverance."

The traditional popcorn and champagne toast will take place at 6 p.m. Friday in the Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa lobby, followed by the screening of Hillbilly at 7. There will be an opening night after-party at the Ozark Bathhouse from 9 p.m. to midnight. Admission to the screening only is $20; an all-inclusive ticket is $45.

The closing night film will be Daughters of the Sexual Revolution: The Untold Story of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, by Dana Adam Shapiro. The 80-minute film, to be shown at 7 p.m. Oct. 27, will trace the rise of NFL cheerleaders during the 1970s and '80s, in a time of women's liberation and racial diversity. Admission to the screening is $15; admission to the screening and an after-party at the Ozark Bathhouse is $45.

Films of special interest to Arkansans include:

The Gospel of Eureka, by Donal Mosher and Michael Palmieri. The 75-minute film, which will be screened at 7 p.m. Oct. 25, depicts the struggle in Eureka Springs between religious adherents and LGBT residents and visitors over a city ordinance that would prohibit discrimination.

"It's the story of the intersection between the gay community and the religious community," Gerber says. "You have the drag performers, and also the performers who put on the Passion Play there. For me, it comes down to the message of love. We'll have many of the performers present and we'll host a performance by them after the screening."

Deluca's Pizza, by Scarlett Gooch, is a 10-minute look at New York native Anthony Valinoti, who founded Deluca's Pizzeria in Hot Springs on Park Avenue (which moved recently to a new location at 831 Central Ave.)

Make Room for Pie, by Larry Foley. The 44-minute film, to be shown at 3:30 p.m. Oct. 23, showcases Arkansas food writer Kat Robinson, whose books include Arkansas Pie: A Delicious Slice of the Natural State and Another Slice of Arkansas Pie: A Guide to the Best Restaurants, Bakeries, Truck Stops and Food Trucks for Delectable Bites in the Natural State.

"We're excited to have arranged for a pie-tasting after the screening of the film," Gerber says. "It'll be a feast for the eyes and the stomach!"

Conway Pride, by Stephen Stanley, is a 22-minute film about the aftermath of the death of the founders of the annual LGBT Pride Parade in the Faulkner County town.

There will be a block of "Arkansas Shorts" at 10 a.m. Oct. 23, comprising four films: Cotton Plant, by Michael Michaud , a six-minute look at a religious mayor considering the medical marijuana industry as hope for his dying Southern town; Frank Broyles, Arkansas Legend, by Larry Foley, a 14-minute celebration of the late University of Arkansas football coach and athletic director; Happy Destiny Homes, by Michael Mueller, a 34-minute examination of a Hot Springs housing project for alcohol and drug addicts; and The Under3 Series, by Kevin Thomas Clark, a 13-minute series produced by AETN that probes the hearts and minds of local Arkansans in three minute segments.

"We have one more Arkansas film, Kevin, about a young skateboarder, that will be shown at 7 p.m. Oct. 23," Gerber adds. "Mark Thiedeman, the director, will be here and will be showing a 'rough cut' of his film, asking for feedback from the viewers. So it's a film in process."

Besides spotlighting films made in Arkansas, the festival categories include: Southern Stories, Sports, United States and International.

Filmmakers submitted 1,100 films and some 300 "higher profile" films from other festivals across the nation were added, with a final tally of 62 feature and 62 short films. Some highlights include:

RBG by Julie Cohen and Betsy West. The 98-minute film, to be shown at 5 p.m. Saturday, depicts the life and career of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who has become a pop culture icon (and also inspired a feature film, On the Basis of Sex, which opens Christmas).

Poultry farmer Frank Reese appears in Eating Animals.
Poultry farmer Frank Reese appears in Eating Animals.

Eating Animals by Christopher Quinn. The 94-minute film, to be shown at 7 p.m. Monday, features Natalie Portman narrating a look at a world changed by factory farming.

Freaks and Geeks: A Documentary by Brent Hodge. The 72-minute film, to be shown at noon Oct. 27, looks at a "cult" TV series that only aired for one season (1999-2000), but spawned the careers of James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jason Segal, John Francis Daly, Samm Levine, Martin Starr, Linda Cardellini, Paul Feig and Judd Apatow.

The Heat: A Kitchen (R) evolution is a documentary about female chefs.
The Heat: A Kitchen (R) evolution is a documentary about female chefs.

The Heat: A Kitchen (R) evolution by Maya Gallus. The 72-minute film, to be shown at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, shows some of the female chefs at the world's top restaurants.

The Heat: A Kitchen (R) evolution is a documentary about female chefs.
The Heat: A Kitchen (R) evolution is a documentary about female chefs.

Science Fair by Cristina Costantini and Darren Foster. The 90-minute film, to be shown at 9 a.m. Oct. 25, shows nine high school students across the globe trying to qualify for the International Science and Engineering Fair.

Studio 54 by Matt Tyrnauer. The 98-minute film, to be shown at 7 p.m. Oct. 24, looks at a nightclub that came to represent the disco era of the 1970s.

United Skates by Dyana Winkler and Tina Brown. The 89-minute film, to be shown at 7 p.m. Oct. 26, shows communities that have banded together to save their endangered skating rinks.

Won't You Be My Neighbor by Morgan Neville. The 94-minute film, to be shown at 5 p.m. Sunday, shows the impact of Fred Rogers, host of the children's TV series Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, which ran for 33 years.

Hal by Amy Scott. The 90-minute film, to be shown at 7 p.m. Oct. 26, shows the troubled life of Hollywood director Hal Ashby, known for his films which included Harold and Maude, Bound for Glory, Being There, Coming Home, Shampoo and The Last Detail.

Joseph Pulitzer: Voice of the People by Oren Rudavsky. The 86-minute film, to be shown at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, concerns the life and times of Joseph J. Pulitzer, who went from homeless immigrant to publisher of a New York newspaper, The World, and, more famously, gave his name to journalism's most prestigious awards.

In addition to films, there will also be numerous other events, which will include a Live Storytelling Workshop; Politics and Poker: A Speakeasy Mobster Party; I Love NY Party; Wheels on Reels: Skate Party at Skateland; Studio 53 ½: Low Key Arts Dance Party; and a Drag Me to Church Party: Drag Revue After Party at Whittington Place.

The film's honorary chair will be Missi Pyle, an actress and comedian. Her films include As Good as It Gets, 50 First Dates, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Gone Girl.

Gerber says, "Our theme this year is 'Celebrating Southern Identity,' and she's from Texas but raised in Memphis. She will be here on the closing night."

Style on 10/16/2018

Print Headline: The long and the short

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