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on the record


Fort Smith International Film Festival announces sponsors, events and poster

Kody Ford

The River Valley Film Society is thrilled to announce that the presenting sponsor for the 2023 Fort Smith International Film Festival will be the River Valley Democrat-Gazette. As part of our partnership, What’s Up! Entertainment Guide will be the festival’s program sponsor, will co-sponsor the awards ceremony along with the River Valley Democrat-Gazette who will also sponsor the film society’s Movie Night at the Bakery series. “Collaborating with the River Valley Democrat-Gazette is a natural relationship,” Brandon Chase Goldsmith, executive director Fort Smith International Film Festival, explains. “We have the same goal of growing community, culture, and the arts throughout our region and beyond. I look forward to teaming up with them to take our third annual festival to the next level.”  

“We are thrilled to be the presenting sponsor of the Fort Smith International Film Festival,” Brent A. Powers, President of the River Valley Democrat-Gazette states. “One of our main goals is to continue to support the local arts and the culture that the River Valley enjoys.  As the River Valley Democrat-Gazette continues to grow, we will tell the stories that need to be told and we will partner with organizations that love the River Valley and all it has to offer the community at large.” Tickets for the festival go on sale July 7 at

Local Music & Movie Showcase  

Celebrate an evening of River Valley talent with a showcase of local music and movies. From 5pm till 7pm students from the UAFS Jazz Band Workshop will put on a live jazz jam session hosted by Rham Cunningham, the Bakery District’s Director of Fun. “Jazz Band Workshop is a fun exciting 4-day experience for students 8-12 grade,” according to Director of UAFS Summer Music Camps Dr. Alexandra Zacharella. “They will experience being immersed in the art of Jazz, Pop, Rock, and Latin and improvisation”

Following the jazz jam, we will screen movies and music videos from across the River Valley. Meet local filmmakers such as Brett Helms, Cassie Brambl, Jason Pitts, Tanner McChristian, and others. Catch music videos from White Collar Sideshow, The Violet Hour (TVH), and works featuring True Grit & Grind Burlesque. The evening highlights three short films:  Night Shift, where the night shift housekeeper for a church is stalked by a mysterious, murderous entity; Masquerade, an international superstar, Sylvia Darnell invites a blind date to her home for dinner and it is quickly apparent that neither Sylvia or her date are who they presented themselves to be; and Double Trouble, two teenagers stay overnight in an arcade and happen upon a spooky, haunted arcade machine. Movies will start at 7pm with a $5 Suggested Donation.

2023 Poster

The 2023 festival poster was designed by Alex Williamson from Bath, England. As one of the world’s top graphic artists, Alex has created work for The Wall Street Journal, Adidas, World Health Organization, Guinness, Time Magazine, The Economist, The Guardian, The Atlantic, Fortune, and more. Williamson explains his creative process, “I played with and developed ideas from the language of cameras and film making – screens, apertures, viewfinders, projection, film both celluloid and digital, persistence of vision and repetition - exploring the ideas and visuals of projected light as well as the technical idea of focus both in camera and in projection and vision - in particular using this as a device to manipulate and abstract the imagery.”  

In the Fall of 2022 Alex Williamson was an artist-in-residence for the Department of Art & Design at the University of Arkansas Fort Smith where he worked with local museums and collections to create an installation piece.  "I met Alex while he was doing his residency at UAFS last fall. I was blown away by his work and his process," Brandon Chase Goldsmith, executive director Fort Smith International Film Festival. "We had some conversations about the festival, and I was absolutely thrilled when he agreed to design our 2023 poster!"  

UAFS professor Bryan Alexis collaborated with Alex on the design.  “We spent much time in critical discussion, passing visual and typographic arrangements back and forth across the Atlantic. We feel we arrived at a poignant and vibrant design that raises the visual game for the Fort Smith International Film Festival.”  Alex Williamson describes  “The final piece is impactful and bold with many layers and colours - it captures, represents all the layers of film (analogue and digital) and video, information, stories and light travelling through the gate,  projector,  human eye…shapes in the design directly but obliquely represent , recall,  reflect the speed of film frames in the gate, camera screens and technology, video tapes as well as pixels and digital…the full range of filmic engagement.”  

2023 Festival Theme

The Fort Smith International Film Festival will be August 24 & 26 at TempleLive. The festival’s theme is [re] focused: The 2023 Fort Smith International Film Festival celebrates the moviemaking warriors and survivors who did not give up. The global pandemic delayed, derailed, and devastated film productions across the world. As the international creative economy recovers, stalled projects were revived, new ideas emerged from the ruins, and artists had to (re)focus.

(re)Focused filmmakers are on the leading edge of a storytelling renaissance. Their lens are capturing experiences from different angles and apertures are being opened bringing light onto blurry situations. With a new focus, people and groups who were on the margins or left out of narratives are entering the picture with a sharpness that reveals the details of their lives at a higher resolution. The 3rd Annual Fort Smith International Film Festival invites these (re)Focused moviemaking warriors from across the globe to tell us your stories.

About Alex Williamson  

Alex Williamson is a commercial illustrator, graphic artist and academic based in Bath in the Southwest of the UK. As an image-maker Alex creates bold graphic artwork using collage and print techniques, working across digital and analog to generate narrative ideas that explore intersections between graphic form, drawing and the photographic image. His creative process starts with collage, exploring dissonances between images, forms, textures, mark making and color and exploits the visual ideas these juxtapositions generate.  

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At  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.


connect to create.

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.