Editor’s note: The event featured in this article occurred in 2017, but you’ll find other great happenings on our Events page.
El Dorado has become an avenue for bringing independent films to South Arkansas. The city has created an annual film festival to showcase the art form.
“The El Dorado Film Festival is a great event to see independent cinema and broaden your awareness of movies being made beyond Hollywood,” said Executive Director Alexander Jeffery. “One of the great things about film festivals is some of the filmmakers will be around to answer questions about how their story and project came to be. It’s a fun way for the audience to interact with artists and learn more about the industry.”
This year’s event, which is the fourth for the city, will take place November 9-12 at the South Arkansas Arts Center and the new Murphy Arts District in town. The festival highlights both feature films and shorts from around the world and also highlights locally made work via a Southern Made category and a Made in Arkansas category.
According to Jeffery, the event will host the Arkansas premiere of The Ballad of Lefty Brown starring Bill Pullman. “Production company a24, Moonlight, made the film and people will be able to see it on the big screen in El Dorado before it hits theaters,” he said. “It’s a cool opportunity for people to see a film that otherwise would not have come to our city. We also have some really great special guests that will be doing panels and presentations. Martha Stephens, whose film Land Ho! premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, will be talking about working outside of Los Angeles. We are also screening a brand new cut of the Fayetteville made feature film Door in the Woods. We’re thrilled to be able to support in-state artists and showcase their hard work. Rockhill Studios has always been a big supporter of our festival and we’re thrilled to invite Kerri Elder, Blake Elder and Kristin Mann to talk about their movie and filmmaking within the state.”
Along with films, workshops and panel discussions are also on the agenda. This year, the festival is also adding musical acts each night after the films are over. On Thursday November 9, Barrett Baber, who is an Arkansas native of The Voice fame, will be playing on the cabaret stage at the new Arts and Entertainment district in town. On Friday the 10th, The Legendary Pacers will play after the screening of a documentary on the late Sonny Burgess. “And our last night of the festival, Dennis Quaid ,yes, that Dennis Quaid, will be playing with his band The Sharks,” Jeffery said.
“I would like to highly encourage people who have never been to El Dorado, or those who haven’t been here for a long time, to come down and check out the festival,” he added. “The entire city is working incredibly hard to put an emphasis on the arts. We have a brand new Arts District that opened with legends like ZZ Top, Train, Ludacris and Smokey Robinson. It’s an amazing thing for a town of this size, or a town of any size really. I hope people all throughout Arkansas come and support us.”