The Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival on Thursday announced its official selections for this year's short and feature documentary films.
The 2018 festival, presented by Mountain Valley Water, begins Oct. 19 at the Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa and runs through Oct. 27.
This year's festival categories include U.S., International, Southern Stories, Sports, and a spotlight on films made in Arkansas. Now in its 27th year, HSDFF is the longest-running all-documentary festival in North America and is Academy Award-qualifying in the Documentary Short Subject Category, a festival news release said.
"It has been an outstanding year for documentaries and we are honored to showcase films that have received noteworthy buzz from festivals such as Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca, and the Toronto International Film Festival," Executive Director Jennifer Gerber said in the release.
"Our lineup is packed with films that light up the screen with cinematic adventures, inspirational characters, and pop culture icons, while bringing into focus vital stories of our time that remind us that the fight for race and gender equality is not over. I can't wait to share these unforgettable stories with the Arkansas community as well as the film lovers visiting from across the country."
Gerber said in a telephone interview on Thursday that the festival's programmers and screening committee scoured approximately 1,100 film submissions over the past eight months, plus approximately 300 "higher profile" films that have been scouted from other festivals across the country, and have narrowed the list down to these final selections.
"It's a really involved process. It starts with a screening committee, which is a group of volunteers of about 40 people that watch every single submission. Every single submission is watched at least three times and reviewed, so we look at the top recommendations of our screening committee members and from there we also have a system where every single programmer is watching these films, reviewing, sharing feedback, and then they each make their top suggestions," Gerber said.
Choosing a favorite film from the final selections is a task that Gerber said is next to impossible, because she truly believes "every film belongs in the program."
The opening night celebration includes a screening of "Hillbilly," a political, philosophical, and personal journey into the heart of the Appalachian region. It illuminates the point of view of a misunderstood population that is frequently mocked and blamed for America's social ills, part of the American cultural divide that became a driving influence in the 2016 presidential election.
Gerber said she feels personally connected to "Hillbilly," adding that she thinks the film will be "healing" for the community.
"I feel like 'Hillbilly' really represents some of our troubles as residents in the South, and I have certainly felt misrepresented in the media as a Southerner," she said.
Gerber said she is also excited about the festival's closing night film, which features the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.
"It's just a beautiful story; it covers so many issues in terms of women empowerment, southern issues, sports, football, and it's just truly entertaining but also gives a real message, so it's just one of those films that has everything you're looking for in it," she said.
Another favorite film of Gerber's set to screen during this year's festival is "United Skates," which deals with racial segregation within skating rinks and tells the stories of resilient roller skaters who release their stresses with music and dance on their roller skates.
"It's so fun, and really also has a message to it," she said of the film.
Special guests and this year's honorary HSDFF chair will be announced soon, the release said.
Festival All-Access Passes are available for $400 plus processing fees. All passes and tickets can be purchased through the festival website at http://www.hsdfi.org.
General admission tickets are $12 and will be available beginning Oct. 1.
The 2018 HSDFF lineup is as follows:
"93Queen," by Paula Eiselt.
"Behind the Curve," by Daniel J. Clark.
"Big Time," by Kaspar Astrup Shröder.
"Blowin' Up," by Stephanie Wang-Brea.
"Chef Flynn," by Cameron Yates.
"The Devil We Know," by Stephanie Soechtig.
"Dons of Disco," by Jonathan Sutak.
"Eating Animals," by Christopher Quinn.
"Farmsteaders," by Shaena Mallett.
"Far from the Tree," by Rachel Dretzin.
"Freaks and Geeks: A Documentary," by Brent Hodge.
"General Magic," by Sarah Kerruish and Matt Maude.
"The Gospel According to André," by Kate Novack.
"Hal," by Amy Scott.
"The Heat: A Kitchen (R)evolution," by Maya Gallus.
"Joseph Pulitzer: Voice of the People," by Oren Rudavsky.
"The Last Race," by Michael Dweck.
"A Murder in Mansfield," by Barbara Kopple.
"No Greater Law," by Tom Dumican.
"Our New President," by Maxim Pozdorovkin.
"Personal Statement," by Juliane Dressner.
"Pick of the Litter," by Don Hardy Jr. and Dana Nachman.
"Quiet Heroes," by Jenny Mackenzie, Jared Ruga and Amanda Stoddard.
"RBG," by Julie Cohen and Betsy West.
"Roll Red Roll," by Nancy Schwartzman.
"Science Fair," by Cristina Costantini and Darren Foster.
"Studio 54," by Matt Tyrnauer.
"This Changes Everything," by Tom Donahue.
"This is Home," by Alexandra Shiva.
"Time for Ilhan," by Norah Shapiro.
"United Skates," by Dyana Winkler and Tina Brown.
"Won't You Be My Neighbor?" by Morgan Neville.
"The World Before Your Feet," by Jeremy Workman.
"América," by Erick Stoll and Chase Whiteside.
"Ask the Sexpert," by Vaishali Sinha.
"Call Her Ganda," by PJ Raval.
"Facing the Dragon," by Sedika Mojadidi.
"From All Corners," by Ryusuke Okajima.
"The Interpreters," by Andres Caballero and Sofian Khan.
"Letter From Masanjia," by Leon Lee.
"The Next Guardian," by Arun Bhattarai and Dorottya Zurbó.
"Patrimonio," by Lisa F. Jackson and Sarah Teal.
"The Silence of Others," by Almudena Carracedo and Robert Baha.
"Whispering Truth to Power," by Shameela Seedat.
"A Woman Captured," by Bernadett Tuza-Ritter.
"Daughters of the Sexual Revolution: The Untold Story of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders," by Dana Adam Shapiro.
"The Gospel of Eureka," by Donal Mosher and Michael Palmieri.
"Hale County This Morning, This Evening," by RaMell Ross.
"Hillbilly," by Sally Rubin and Ashley York.
"Ingrid," by Morrisa Maltz.
"Make Room for Pie," by Larry Foley.
"Man on Fire," by Joel Fendelman.
"Rodents of Unusual Size," by Chris Metzler.
"While I Breathe, I Hope," by Emily Harrold.
"Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable," by Aaron Lieber.
"Free Solo," by Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi.
"Jacks & Jills," by Adam Harbottle.
"Momentum Generation," by Jeff Zimbalist and Michael Zimbalist.
"This Mountain Life," by Grant Baldwin.
"Too Beautiful: Our Right To Fight," by Maceo Frost.
"Transformer," by Michael Del Monte.
"Wrestle," by Suzannah Herbert.
Local on 09/21/2018