ACS is excited to join the board of directors for The Northwest Arkansas Film & Entertainment Commission—a 501(c)3 organization founded by the cities of Bentonville, Eureka Springs, Fayetteville and Rogers in collaboration with the Arkansas State Film Commission, Arkansas Production Alliance and the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. During the February meeting, ACS was voted in as a member of the board along with arts organization CACHE.
“I am thrilled for ACS to have a board seat on the NWA film commission,” said ACS Executive Director Kathryn Tucker. “This is exactly the kind of unity and inclusion the Arkansas film community needs. When we pool our resources and connect with each other, all of our ships rise. Sandy Martin has always been such an incredible advocate for film and the arts in the state and ACS is so grateful to her and the NWA Film Commission for leading the charge in NWA.”
The NWAFEC exists to promote the region as a world-class production hub for the film, music and entertainment industries and; facilitate regional and state-wide collaboration and; connect industry professionals with regional talent, services and resources. According to NWAFEC Board President Sandy Martin, the organization has attracted several independent films and commercial productions including feature films Antiquities, F.R.E.D.I., Max Winslow and the House of Secrets and television series like True Detective.
Most importantly, Martin says, the commission helped shine a spotlight on Northwest Arkansas, promoted what a film-friendly location it was and centralized contact points, all of which resulted in attracting two major studios to relocate in the region and helped expand the work of another.
“Prior to organizing the Commission, there wasn't a strong voice in the state supporting or promoting the film industry,” said Martin. “Yet, everyone saw the potential and the economic benefits that come from expanding the industry. The more voices we have and the more professionals we get involved, the louder our voice gets to grow the industry, support incentives and persuade policies that will expand the industry to put Arkansas on the map. Another huge advantage of collaboration among the film community is to know and promote the incredible diversity that the region and state offers.”
The board of directors is composed of representatives from each founding city and representatives from the film, music, entertainment and academic digital arts organization and industry sectors. The primary funders of the commission are the A&P commissions of each founding city.
Collaboration between all of the different entities has certainly resulted in an advancement not seen in the past. Tucker is a firm believer in working together to expand the region’s film community, create jobs and grow the economy.
“In my opinion, film is a perfect industry, Tucker said. “Why not recruit the film industry like an Amazon fulfillment center, or a manufacturing plant? Films create jobs and employ local artists and most crew jobs are trade jobs so they are accessible to everyone regardless of their level of higher education. Films promote tourism both in and out of state. Films are economic development—they breathe life into every community they visit by utilizing local restaurants, hotels, and shops in both cities and rural areas. If you look at communities, cities, and states that have robust film communities they are all thriving. You will not find one that isn’t.”
At the ACS, we believe that if we provide filmmakers an arena to exhibit their talents, and film enthusiasts a healthy diet of quality programming, we can inspire more Arkansans to make and watch more films. By supporting filmmakers, festivals, theaters and young people interested in filmmaking throughout the state, we hope to create statewide network, pool Arkansas’s resources and be an umbrella organization that feeds all things film. We believe a rising tide lifts all boats.
To be a filmmaker, we have to connect to create. A painter needs a brush, paint and a canvas. A director needs a writer, a cinematographer, a sound mixer, production designer, editor, actors, distributors, and an audience. We cannot do it alone. This art form forces one to collaborate and thus, creates jobs. Filmmaking is unique in the arts in this way. It takes an army.