The Middle of Knowhere film festival will showcase short films made through the lens of rural and suburban queer experience. Organized by Arden Carlson and Nic Schmittou as part of the AMMPlify NWA Festival, the festival was created to support filmmakers that are queering our frame of reference for what life looks like outside of metropolitan areas. It is a juried showcase featuring all genres of short films, each around 10 minutes long.
The Middle of Knowhere will take place on May 6th from 4-6 p.m. in in Bailey Center at Mount Sequoyah Center in Fayetteville. Admission costs and other information can be found on the AMMPlify website, which also contains details about other events taking place during the larger festival.
The origin of the festival came from the organizers’ desire to join the vital representation of queer and trans individuals in Northwest Arkansas, including organizations like Intransitive and Lucie’s Place, through the mode of a rural, queer film festival. It also inspired the title of the festival.
“The phrase ‘middle of nowhere’ is generally used to draw one’s attention to a remote space where there is conventionally little known significance,” Nic said. “In the festival's title, the act of claiming nowhere (knowhere) as commonplace for queerness is a fictional approach that acknowledges the strength of queer visibility in remote areas, while also dissolving parameters for the ideal state or location of queerness."
Arden and Nic have a growing body of work in the world of film and the art—Arden being an MFA candidate at the UA with a background in film and experimental work, and Nic having a background in performance, dance, and theater. This is the first film festival they have organized. All participants in the AMMPlify program were paired with a mentor. Amber Imrie, a mentor in Art Management, provided guidance for Arden and Nic during the planning process.
The Middle of Knowhere Festival is a unique opportunity to see films made through the lens of rural and suburban queer experience. These voices have been widely under-recognized in the past, making this festival a rare and important event. Arden and Nic received many good submissions for this year's festival and are already considering doing it again in the future.
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.
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.