Ozark Film Festival kicks off this weekend in Batesville

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

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

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

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

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

"People sometimes joke with me about this and say what youhave is an economic development plan disguised as a film festival," Pestexplained, "because, this weekend, the hotel rooms will be full. People will beeating at the restaurants. They'll be buying gasoline. They'll be goingdowntown, things like that."

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

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

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

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