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Ozark Foothills FilmFest: Where the Mountains and the Movies Meet
27 Jun 2012
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The Ozark Foothills FilmFest offers five full days and nights of public screenings as well as workshops and forums on all aspects of the art form. Filmmakers and actors are often in attendance, and audience members are treated to lively Q&A sessions following each viewing. While festival organizers have used the event to encourage and promote a home-grown film industry, the festival is a bona fide international event with filmmakers coming from as far away as India, and featuring films showcased at festivals such as Cannes and SXSW. 

The FilmFest was the brainchild of husband and wife team Bob and Judy Pest. They formed a local non-profit in 2001 and went to work, against all odds, to encourage and “grow their own” film community in the state. The pair partnered with local colleges and other community partners  to “float” the festival in those first years, with a mission of supporting emerging young filmmakers in Arkansas and the surrounding area – and creating a world-class event.

Mr. and Ms. Pest have proven masterful at not only having the vision to create such an event in a rural Arkansas town, but also at building the community partnerships necessary to maintain and expand the project. Despite hundreds of thousands of dollars of foundation funding, the FilmFest is still headquartered out of the couple's home; they have chosen to thrust the funding support back into the festival, their youth engagement programs, and the community.

Follow this link for the entire article by The Art of the Rural Co-Editor Rachel Reynolds Luster

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