Ozark Foothills FilmFest is one of 153 not-for-profit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Challenge America Fast-Track grant

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Rocco Landesman recently announced that Ozark Foothills FilmFest is one of 153 not-for-profit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Challenge America Fast-Track grant. Ozark Foothills FilmFest is recommended for a $10,000 grant to support the 12th annual Ozark Foothills FilmFest, set for April 3-7, 2013 at various venues in Batesville, AR.

 In this FY 2013 funding round, the NEA received 393 eligible Challenge America Fast-Track applications, requesting a total of $3,930,000. The NEA will award 153 Challenge America Fast-Track grants totaling $1.53 million awarded to organizations in 41 states, Washington, DC, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. These include 49 first-time Arts Endowment grantees. The Challenge America Fast-Track category offers support primarily to small and mid-sized organizations for projects that extend the reach of the arts to populations whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability.

Festival president and co-founder Bob Pest appreciates the roles of the NEA and the community in the organization’s success, “The board, staff, members, and supporters of Ozark Foothills FilmFest take great pride in receiving this NEA grant, especially when there were so many outstanding applicants. We also appreciate the NEA’s commitment to support ‘small and mid-sized organizations’ in ‘underserved communities’ through the Challenge America Fast-Track grant category. Thanks to our NEA grant, the 12th annual festival will screen a wide variety of films, ranging from rediscovered classics and animation to experimental shorts and feature-length documentaries on a variety of subjects.”

 The festival will feature “The Female Face of Indie Film,” a special program featuring the work of eight women directors, six of whom will be attending, and host a panel focusing on challenges and opportunities unique to women directors. The panel will also discuss how films directed by women may or may not reflect a “female sensibility” in point of view, choice of subject matter, and aesthetics. The festival will also conduct its 5th annual Screenwriting Competition for aspiring writers yet to sell or option a script.

 The growing relevance and recognition of the Ozark Foothills FilmFest demonstrates that small, rural communities facing economic challenges can enjoy cultural and educational activities not generally available to them through hard work, the support of their host communities, and financial support from the Arkansas Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.

 “The NEA was founded on the principle that the arts belong to all the people of the United States,” said NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman. “We’re proud that Challenge America Fast-Track grants bring more opportunities for arts engagement to underserved communities.”