The 2011 Ozark Foothills FilmFest introduced a new award, the First Community Bank Audience Choice Award. The award honors the festival’s longtime sponsor. Audience members were asked to score the eight feature-length films that screened at the festival; scoring was based on a 1 to 5 scale. Three films received extremely positive average scores. God’s Architects, a documentary about five builders who undertook divinely inspired projects, narrowly edged out Defining Beauty: Ms. Wheelchair America and Westbound to win the $500 award. The winner’s average score was 4.87. Defining Beauty averaged 4.86 and Westbound averaged 4.81. God’s Architects was directed by Louisiana filmmaker Zack Godshall. Shelby Ravelette, one of the film’s featured builders, attended. Ravellette is currently working on Lacey Michelle’s Castle, a tribute to his daughter who died at the age of seven. The castle is being built near Omaha in northwest Arkansas. Zack Godshall received the $500 Audience Award.
The festival also gave two awards in its fourth annual Screenplay Competition. Fifty-three entries were submitted. Three highly-qualified screenplay judges–Pola Zen, Ben Fry, and Levi Agee–selected the winners. Pola Zen is a filmmaker and screenplay editor from Tel Aviv, Israel. Ben Fry teaches screenwriting at UALR and manages NPR station KUAR. Levi Agee is an Arkansas filmmaker, film journalist, and host of “Cameras on the Radio” on station KABF. Gil Seltzer of Brooklyn, NY won the Long Screenplay award for his script The Motorman, a drama set during the 1980’s New York subway strike. Kenneth Meyers III of Batesville received the Short Screenplay for his entry, Stranger’s Candy, also a drama. Meyers lives in Batesville; he is the first Batesville resident to win a screenplay award. Seltzer received a $600 award; Meyers received $400.