Ozark Foothills FilmFest Receives a Arts Grant

 Ozark Foothills FilmFest, Inc. has received a $10,000 Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support the 11th annual film festival, set for March 28 to April 1, 2012 at a number of venues in Batesville. “Art Works is the guiding principle of the NEA,” said agency Chairman Rocco Landesman. “And I’m pleased to see that principle represented through the Art Works-funded projects. These projects demonstrate the imaginative and innovative capacities of artists and arts organizations to enhance the quality of life in their communities.”

 Art Works grants are awarded based on the quality of the applications received and how those applications are assessed by the review panels.

 The fact that only 49 percent of eligible applications were funded reflects both the significant demand for support and the ongoing vitality of the not-for-profit arts community despite current financial challenges. “We are both proud and grateful to receive an NEA grant, especially given the competition,” announced festival president and co-founder Bob Pest, “and we thank the NEA for its confidence in our organization. Our next challenge is to raise $10,000 in matching funds.

 We will launch our sponsorship campaign soon after Thanksgiving.”

 The 2012 Ozark Foothills FilmFest will include several award-winning independent feature films, documentaries, animation, experimental works, and a number of new features and shorts by Arkansas filmmakers. The festival will also present a retrospective tribute to pioneering filmmaker Morris Engel and his wife and partner Ruth Orkin, who launched the Independent Film Movement with their 1953 feature film, Little Fugitive. This story of a little boy’s trek from the comforting streets of Brooklyn to the dazzling chaos of Coney Island won the coveted Silver Lion award at the Venice Film Festival and inspired young American directors like John Cassavetes and Martin Scorsese and French film icon Francois Truffaut. Mary Engel will attend the festival to screen and discuss her parents’ ground-breaking work. Mike Akel, a native Arkansan who now makes his home in Austin, will also be attending to screen his new family drama/comedy, An Ordinary Family. Akel is best known for Chalk, his mockumentary about the frustrations facing high school teachers.

 The festival also includes the 5th annual Screenwriting Competition, a screenwriting workshop conducted by award-winning director and screenwriter Zack Godshall, and a number of opportunities for attendees to meet and talk with visiting filmmakers. The complete film festival line-up will be available February 21 at


Festival memberships, which include discount admission to screenings, festival posters, and invitations to special social events, will also be available in February.

 Ozark Foothills FilmFest, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) educational non-profit founded in 2011. Contributions are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.