The Made in Arkansas Film Festival returned for the third year on May 13-15, 2021, hosted by the Central Arkansas Library System’s Ron Robinson Theater. The festival’s virtual and interactive platform this year made viewing the best of Arkansas film easily accessible, but also enable live conversation and commentary between filmmakers and film lovers. Leading up to the event, Made in Arkansas and CALS Ron Robinson Theater hosted three retrospective screenings each Saturday beginning on April 24. These virtual screenings featured films, shorts, and documentaries, as well as audience favorites from the 2020 festival’s lineup.
As in previous years, Made in Arkansas screened regional films from filmmakers in neighboring states, but there re additions to the roster for 2021 such as a category for Best Micro-Short for films one to five minutes long.
This years winners were:
Best Regional Film: "Life After Death," directed by Noah Glenn (TN)
Best Microshort: "Rise," directed by Aaron Szabo
Best Student Film: "A Promising Voice" (University of Arkansas at Fayetteville), directed by Obed Lamey
Best Short Film: "Absent," directed by Damon McKinnis
Best Feature Film: "Haven's Road," directed by Ed Lowry
Best of Festival: "Blood on the Risers," directed by Caleb Fanning
Audience Choice: "Shattered Dreams," directed by TJ Deeter and Bryan Stafford
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.