Since its inception in 2014, the El Dorado Film Festival has garnered a reputation for bringing innovative and interesting films to this small town located in southern Arkansas. This year's festival took place on Oct. 10-12 at the South Arkansas Arts Center.
The programming included four full-length feature films, along with blocks of 30 short films from around the world in competition for festival prizes. Now in its sixth year, the El Dorado Film Festival has made a name for itself thanks to the community’s amazing hospitality, as well as a stellar selection of independent films. Locals have embraced the festival amid the Boomtown's cultural renaissance and filmmakers have been pleased with the reception.
“When I came here two years ago, it felt like coming home, the way we were welcomed in. I love El Dorado, and I love this festival,” said Jaime Lewis, producer of “Tommy Emmanuel: The Endless Road”.
The winners were announced during a reception on Saturday, October 12. Festival directors Alexander Jeffery and Paul Petersen presented the juried awards to films in seven categories, as well as the audience participation award.
Every winner received a custom-designed trophy by local metal artist Janice Hughes. Winners in the shorts categories received $500 cash prizes, the Pam Callaway Audience Participation winner received $1000, and the Golden Spudnut winner received $1500.
“We couldn’t have a film festival without so many wonderful filmmakers, and we’re so glad to host them all in El Dorado. These awards are just a small way to say thank you,” said Jeffery.
Festival winners are:
Best Arkansas Short: “Before My Eyes”by Mason Bowen
Best Proof of Concept Short: “Scrap” by Leena Pendharkar
Best Dramatic Short: “Ritual” byRobert Linsley
Best Comedic Short: “My Dinner with Werner” by Maverick Moore
Best Documentary: “Tommy Emmanuel:The Endless Road” by Jeremy Dylan Potts
Best Feature: “Lost Bayou” by BrianRichard
Pam Callaway Audience ParticipationAward: Miriam Wallace
Golden Spudnut Best of Fest: “I AmHuman” by Elena Gaby & Taryn Southern
The El Dorado Film Festival is produced by the SouthArkansas Arts Center, located at 110 East Fifth Street in El Dorado. For more information visit their website.
Photo: The trophies presented to the winners at the 2019 El Dorado Film Festival were designed and created by local artist Janice Hughes.
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.