Ozark Film Festival kicks off this weekend in Batesville - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Ozark Film Festival kicks off this weekend in Batesville

BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) – Independent filmmakers often have very few chances to show their work, and many rural communities rarely get to see these small budget movies. One community, however, has tried to change that over the years.

The 11th Annual Ozark Foothills FilmFest kicked off Wednesday in Batesville. A small group of residents enjoyed four short films at the Old Independence Regional Museum.

The screening Wednesday starts off a busy four-day schedule of events that includes more movies, a screenwriting workshop and several sit-downs with up and coming filmmakers.  

This year, the film festival features over 30 short and full-length films, which span different subjects and genres.

Bob Pest is the film festival's founder and president. He says the non-profit organization is responsible for more than just provoking interest in film and improving the quality of life in Batesville.

"People sometimes joke with me about this and say what you have is an economic development plan disguised as a film festival," Pest explained, "because, this weekend, the hotel rooms will be full. People will be eating at the restaurants. They'll be buying gasoline. They'll be going downtown, things like that."

Many of the films will be shown on the UACCB and Lyon College campuses, allowing residents a chance to see movies made in Arkansas and nationwide.

"You have to look far and wide to find a town smaller than this that has a film festival, but we've been very lucky," Pest said. "The community's been very good to us, and I think we're going to be around for a long time."

For more information on the festival, go to www.ozarkfoothillsfilmfest.org.

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