The Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival Announces Feature and Short Film Lineup

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The Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival Announces Feature and Short Film Lineup

The Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival (HSDFF), presented by Mountain Valley Spring Water, announced today the official selections for this year's short and feature documentary lineups. This year's festival will include additional categories including U.S., International, Southern Stories, Sports, as well as a spotlight on films Made in Arkansas. Now approaching its 27th year, HSDFF is the longest running all-documentary festival in NORTH AMERICA and is Academy Award®-Qualifying in the Documentary Short Subject Category.

HSDFF's mission is to inspire, nurture, and celebrate nonfiction storytellers while strengthening the Arkansas community through innovative and impactful documentary films.

"It has been an outstanding year for documentaries and we are honored to showcase films that have received noteworthy buzz from festivals such as Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca and the Toronto International Film Festival," says Executive Director, Jennifer Gerber. "Our lineup is packed with films that light up the screen with cinematic adventures, inspirational characters, and pop culture icons, while bringing into focus vital stories of our time that remind us that the fight for race and gender equality is not over. I can't wait to share these unforgettable stories with the Arkansas community as well as the film lovers visiting from across the country."

As previously announced, HSDFF will kick off the 2018 Festival at the historic Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa on Friday, October 19th with an Opening Night celebration and screening of the film Hillbilly, which takes a political, philosophical, and personal journey into the heart of the

Appalachian region. The film illuminates the point of view of a misunderstood population that are frequently mocked and blamed for America's social ills-a population that were a driving influence in the 2016 Presidential election which has widened the cultural divide in this country.

"As a cultural festival that CHAMPIONS the art form of the documentary, our main priority is to focus on the quality and aesthetics of the films that we program," explains Director of Programming Derek Horne. "But documentaries do not exist in a vacuum - they are fueled by the world in which they exist. We could not avoid reacting to all of the news and current events, especially in an election year; so we have programmed a healthy variety of films that deal with such pressing topics as politics and media censorship, civil rights and racism, environmental concerns, and the ongoing immigration and refugee crisis. But the commonality is how the films address these issues with artistic flair."

Festival All-Access Passes are available for $400, plus processing. All passes can be purchased through the festival website

General Admission tickets are $12 and will be available starting Monday, October 1st.

Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival 2018 FEATURE LINEUP:

US Films


Dir. Paula Eiselt

90 mins

Set in the Hasidic enclave of Borough Park, Brooklyn, 93Queen follows a group of tenacious Hasidic women who are smashing the patriarchy in their community by creating the first all-female volunteer ambulance corps in New York City.

Behind the Curve

Dir. Daniel J. Clark

96 mins

Meet real Flat Earthers, a small but growing contingent of people who firmly believe that there is a centuries' long conspiracy to suppress the truth that the Earth is flat.

Big Time

Dir. Kaspar Astrup Shröder

92 mins

This philosophical portrait follows the "starchitect," Bjarke Ingles over a six-year period as he opens a New York office and starts to redesign the iconic Manhattan skyline through his biggest projects yet: the W57 skyscraper and Two World Trade Center.

Blowin' Up

Dir. Stephanie Wang-Brea

94 mins

Working within a broken criminal justice system, a team of REBEL heroines work to change the way women arrested and prosecuted for prostitution.

Chef Flynn

Dir. Cameron Yates

82 mins

Ten-year-old Flynn transforms his living room into a supper club using his classmates as line cooks. With sudden fame, Flynn outgrows his bedroom kitchen, and sets out to challenge the hierarchy of the culinary world.

The Devil We Know

Dir. Stephanie Soechtig

88 mins

A group of citizens in West Virginia challenges a powerful corporation to be more environmentally responsible.

Dons of Disco

Dir. Jonathan Sutak

85 mins

A character-driven documentary about a 1980s lip-syncing SCANDAL that escalates into a bitter war between an American singer and an Italian male model.

Eating Animals

Dir. Christopher Quinn

94 mins

Based on Jonathan Safran Foer's best-selling memoir and narrated by Natalie Portman, this eye-opening film eulogizes the BILLIONS of animals that lead lives of misery and mourns a world changed for the worse by factory farming.


Dir. Shaena Mallett

60 mins

A love story, a farm story, and a story of contemporary rural America. Set in the verdant foothills of Ohio, this intimate portrait about a young family and their independent dairy farm is as much

a study of place as it is a study of persistence.

Far From the Tree

Dir. Rachel Dretzin

93 mins

Based on the NY Times bestselling book by Andrew Solomon, Far from the Tree examines the experiences of families in which parents and children are profoundly different from one another in a variety of ways.

Freaks and Geeks: A Documentary

Dir. Brent Hodge

64 mins

The creators and stars of the TV show Freaks and Geeks share their untold stories and pivotal moments from the making of the series that only aired for one season.

General Magic

Dir. Sarah Kerruish & Matt Maude

90 mins

A documentary about a business that Forbes described as the "greatest dead company in Silicon Valley." It is a tale of how great vision and epic failure changed the world as we know it.

The Gospel According to André

Dir. Kate Novack

93 mins

From the segregated American South to the fashion capitals of the world, operatic fashion editor André Leon Talley's life and career are on full display.


Dir. Amy Scott

90 mins

Director of the cult hits Harold and Maude, Shampoo, and The Last Detail, Hal Ashby was New Hollywood's most countercultural and socially-oriented creative mind. This new documentary treats us to a treasure trove of archival footage and A-list recollections exploring Ashby's tenure.

The Heat: A Kitchen (R)evolution

Dir. Maya Gallus

75 mins

A look at the women currently at the head of some of the world's top restaurants, and the next generation unwilling to submit to the brutal, macho conditions of THE KITCHEN that were once considered the norm.

Joseph Pulitzer: Voice of the People

Dir. Oren Rudavsky

84 mins

Joseph J. Pulitzer came to America as a penniless immigrant but he became a wealthy and influential publisher who fought for the freedom of the press and whose newspaper The World became known as "The Friend of the People."

The Last Race

Dir. Michael Dweck

74 mins

A portrait of a small-town stock car racetrack and the tribe of blue-collar drivers that call it home, struggling to hold onto an American racing tradition as the world around them is transformed by globalization and commercialization.

A Murder in Mansfield

Dir. Barbara Kopple

87 mins

In her latest documentary, Oscar-winning filmmaker Barbara Kopple takes on the "true crime" genre to explore the after-effects of tragedy when a convicted murderer is confronted by his son 26 years later.

No Greater Law

Dir. Tom Dumican

89 mins

The state of Idaho takes freedom of religion to extremes with a law that protects the rights of a Christian sect to withhold medical treatment for their children in lieu of prayer and faith-healing.

Our New President

Dir. Maxim Pozdorovkin

77 mins

When it comes to fake news on steroids, Russia wins the Gold Medal. This nightmarishly distorted take on the 2016 Presidential campaign is told entirely through clips of Russian government-controlled news footage and the Youtube videos from mind-controlled Russian citizens.

Personal Statement

Dir. Juliane Dressner

87 mins

Three Brooklyn high school seniors pull double duty as they attempt to get themselves, as well as their peers, into college. Karoline, Christine, and Enoch struggle to break the barriers that prevent so many low-income students from attending and graduating from college.

Pick of the Litter

Dir. Don Hardy Jr. & Dana Nachman

81 mins

This adorable documentary follows a litter of puppies from the moment they're born and begin their quest to become Guide Dogs for the Blind, the ultimate canine career.

Quiet Heroes

Dir. Jenny Mackenzie, Jared Ruga, Amanda Stoddard

68 mins

Receiving care for HIV/AIDS in 1980s Salt Lake City was staggeringly difficult due to the Mormon Church's political and social influence. Kristin Ries and Maggie Snyder were two crusading healthcare professionals who served as the area's only means of medical support.


Dir. Julie Cohen & Betsy West

98 mins

A portrait of the exceptional life and career of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who has developed a breathtaking legal legacy while becoming an unexpected pop culture icon.

Roll Red Roll

Dir. Nancy Schwartzman

80 mins

When social media, "boys will be boys." and vigilante justice collide, Steubenville, Ohio will never be the same.

Science Fair

Dir. Cristina Costantini & Darren Foster

90 mins

Nine high school students from around the globe navigate rivalries, setbacks and, of course, hormones, on their journey to compete at The International Science and Engineering Fair.

Studio 54

Dir. Matt Tyrnauer

98 mins

Studio 54 was the epicenter of 70s hedonism - a place that not only redefined the nightclub, but also came to symbolize an entire era. A tantalizing glimpse into the real story behind the velvet ropes.

This Changes Everything

Dir. Tom Donahue

90 mins

An investigative look and analysis of gender disparity in Hollywood, featuring accounts from well-known actors, executives, and artists in the Industry.

This Is Home

Dir. Alexandra Shiva

91 mins

Four Syrian refugee families attempt to resettle in Baltimore during the eight months before they become ineligible for financial assistance.

Time for Ilhan

Dir. Norah Shapiro

89 mins

This inspiring and suspenseful political documentary follows the campaign of Ilhan Omar, a young Somalian Muslim immigrant woman who attempts to unseat a 43-year incumbent and other challengers.

United Skates

Dir. Dyana Winkler & Tina Brown

89 mins

When America's last standing roller rinks are threatened with closure, a community of thousands battle in a racially charged environment to save an UNDERGROUND subculture - one that has given RISE to some of the world's greatest musical talent.

Won't You Be My Neighbor?

Dir. Morgan Neville

94 mins

An exploration of the life, lessons, and legacy of iconic children's television host, Fred Rogers, and a plea for more civility in this world.

The World Before Your Feet

Dir. Jeremy Workman

96 mins

A sublime journey inside authentic New York City as seen through the eyes and adventures of "walker" Matt Green, who has taken on the personal project of walking every street and path in NYC.

International Films


Dir. Erick Stoll & Chase Whiteside

76 mins

Mexican brothers Rodriguez, Bruno, and Diego are unexpectedly tasked with caring for their 93-year-old grandmother despite growing familial tensions and disagreements.

Ask the Sexpert

Dir. Vaishali Sinha

80 mins

Ninety-three-year old Dr. Watsa is a popular sex advice columnist in India despite sex being a TABOO topic there and political activists trying to censor him.

Call Her Ganda

Dir. PJ Raval

98 mins

When Jennifer Laude, a Filipina trans woman, is brutally murdered by a U.S. Marine, three women intimately invested in the case - an activist attorney, a transgender journalist, and Jennifer's mother - galvanize a political uprising, pursuing justice, and taking on hardened histories of US imperialism.

Facing the Dragon

Dir. Sedika Mojadidi

80 mins

Afghan-American filmmaker Sedika Mojadidi follows two extraordinary Afghan women, a politician and a journalist, to examine what is happening to women as American troops and international aid pull out of Afghanistan.

From All Corners

Dir. Ryusuke Okajima

93 mins

Artist Fuyuki Shimazu will redefine your idea of what "precious" means with his meticulously crafted wallets, upcycled from discarded cardboard boxes.

The Interpreters

Dir. Andres Caballero & Sofian Khan

76 mins

Local interpreters were key to the US war effort in the Middle East, but now these UNSUNG heroes face danger in their countries because of their affiliation.

Letter From Masanjia

Dir. Leon Lee

75 mins

After a woman in Oregon opens up a package of Halloween decorations to discover a note inside written by a political prisoner from a Chinese labor camp, she publishes the story which gets worldwide media attention resulting in labor reform in China.

The Next Guardian

Dir. Arun Bhattarai & Dorottya Zurbó

74 mins

The contrasting dreams of two generations clash within the microcosm of an ancient Buddhist monastery in Bhutan, when Gyembo an ordinary teenager is chosen as the next guardian of THE FAMILY monastery.


Dir. Lisa F. Jackson & Sarah Teal

83 mins

Located on the coast of Baja, California, the small Mexican town of Todos Santos is threatened by a multinational corporation that is building a gigantic hotel and condo complex that will deplete the water supply and force the fishermen off the beach.

The Silence of Others

Dir. Almudena Carracedo & Robert Baha

96 mins

The victims of Spain's 40 year dictatorship under General Franco continue to seek justice and and try to prosecute the criminals of the Franco regime in a country that forbids it.

Whispering Truth to Power

Dir. Shameela Seedat

86 mins

Filmmaker and human rights lawyer Shameela Seedat tracks Thuli Madonsela, South Africa's first female Public Protector, as she builds her second case against the country's President, Jacob Zuma.

A Woman Captured

Dir. Bernadett Tuza-Ritter

89 mins

A European woman has been kept by a family as a domestic slave for 10 years. Drawing courage from the filmmaker's presence, she decides to escape the unbearable oppression and become a free person.

Southern Stories

Daughters of the Sexual Revolution: The Untold Story of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders

**Closing Night Film**

Dir. Dana Adam Shapiro

80 mins

Seen by many as regressive and exploitative, this diverse sisterhood of small-town "girls next door" became a controversial pop culture phenomenon at the height of the Sexual Revolution.

The Gospel of Eureka

**Centerpiece Film**

Dir. Donal Mosher & Michael Palmieri

75 mins

Love, faith, and civil rights collide in the south as evangelical Christians and drag queens step into the spotlight to explore the meaning of belief.

Hale County This Morning, This Evening

Dir. RaMell Ross

76 mins

Composed of intimate and unencumbered moments of people in a community, this film is constructed in a form that allows the viewer an emotive impression of the Historic South - trumpeting the beauty of life and consequences of the social construction of race, while simultaneously a testament to dreaming.


**Opening Night Film**

Dir. Sally Rubin & Ashley York

77 mins

An examination of the iconic hillbilly image in media and culture throughout the years, offering an urgent exploration of how we see and think about rural America in the aftermath of the 2016 Presidential election.


Dir. Morrisa Maltz

51 mins

An intimate look at a woman who left her life as a successful fashion designer in Dallas, Texas, to become a reclusive hermit in the Ouachita Mountains, immersed in nature, focused solely on creating art.

Make Room for Pie

Dir. Larry Foley

44 mins

Food writer Kat Robinson hosts this tour across Arkansas, from the Delta to the Ozark hills, where colorful characters create sweet masterpieces with just the right amount of love and creative soul.

Man on Fire

Dir. Joel Fendelman

54 mins

Grand Saline, Texas was a sleepy, unremarkable town - until a white PREACHER lit himself on fire to protest the town's racism in 2014.

Rodents of Unusual Size

Dir. Quinn Costello, Chris Metzler, Jeff Springer

61 mins

The residents of Louisiana never know what will attack them next: floods, hurricanes, even monstrous swamp rats. Gigantic orange-toothed nutria are eating up the coastal wetlands, destroying the landscape, and threatening the very existence of the human population

While I Breathe, I Hope

Dir. Emily Harrold

75 mins

What does it mean to be young, Black, and Democrat in the American South? While I Breathe, I Hope follows South Carolina Politician Bakari Sellers as he runs to become the first African American elected statewide in over a century.

Sports Films

Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable

Dir. Aaron Lieber

98 mins

At age 13, Bethany Hamilton survived a shark attack that severed her right arm yet she was back on the competitive circuit in just a year. Now more than a decade later, Hamilton is a mother undertaking her most daunting challenge - chasing a toddler as well as the biggest wave of her career.

Free Solo

Dir. Jimmy Chin & Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi

97 mins

Follow Alex Honnold as he becomes the first person to ever free solo climb Yosemite's 3,000ft high El Capitan Wall. With no ropes or safety gear, he's completed arguably the greatest feat in rock climbing history.

Jacks & Jills

Adam Harbottle

55 mins

The Lumberjack World Championships is beautifully captured on film by local Arkansas filmmaker Adam Harbottle, in all of its log-rolling, tree-climbing glory. It's like the rural, nature version of American Ninja Warrior.

Momentum Generation

Dir. Jeff Zimbalist & Michael Zimbalist

103 mins

A group of teenagers in Hawaii enter the world of professional competitive SURFING in the 1990s and RISE to superstardom.

This Mountain Life

Dir. Grant Baldwin

77 mins

Undefined by age, gender, profession or background, a group of adventurous people sacrifice comfort and personal safety for a life of recreation in the peaks of British Columbia, Canada.

Too Beautiful: Our Right To Fight

Dir. Maceo Frost

75 mins

The film captures the tireless battle of Namibia Flores Rodriguez, the only known female boxer in Cuba who aspires to represent the Caribbean Nation in the Olympics despite the country's ban on women's competitive boxing.


Dir. Michael Del Monte

78 mins

Matt Kroc was the ultimate alpha-male, a football player in high school, and a former marine who set a world record for combined powerlifting. But in 2015 he transitioned to become Janae Marie Kroczaleski, a trans-woman who continues life as a competitive weightlifter.


Dir. Suzannah Herbert

96 mins

An intimate and nuanced documentary that follows the wrestling team at JO Johnson High School in Huntsville, Alabama. As they fight their way towards the State Championship and the doors they hope it will open, wrestlers Jailen, Jamario, Teague, and Jaquan each face injustices and challenges on and off the mat.


Adventure Before Dementia - dir. Thomas Grainger The ARTIFACT Artist - dir. Russ Kendall

Baby Brother - dir. Kamau Bilal Beneath the Ink - dir. Cy Dodson Big Elvis - dir. Paul Stone

A Butcher's Heart - dir. Marijn Frank

The Changing Same - dir. Joe Brewster & Michele Stephenson Chula, With Invisible Strings - dir. Emily Collins

Community Patrol - dir. Andrew James Death Metal Grandma - dir. Leah Galant Earthrise - dir. Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee

The End of Weed - dir. Kristy Guevara-Flanagan Erasing the Border - dir. Laura Herrero Garvin Fake News Fairytale - dir. Kate Stonehill Ferryman at THE WALL - dir. David Freid

Fight for the First - dir. Sharon Liese

The Girl and the Picture - dir. Vanessa Roth Guns Found Here - dir. David Freid

Hoan Alone: Personal Stories from the Bridge - dir. Aaron Johnson Homeless: The Soundtrack - dir. Irene Taylor Brodsky

Hula Girl - dir. Riess Hill

I Heart NY - dir. Andre Andreev Kafka Shrugged- dir. Anne S. Lewis

Last Dance at Johnson's Barn - dir. Clay Haskell The Last Storm - dir. Liam Saint-Pierre

Let My People Vote - dir. Gilda Ann Brasch Little Fiel - dir. Irina Patkanian

Lonesome Willcox - dir. Ryan Maxey & Zack Wright Look Up - dir. David Freid

Lotte that Silhouette Girl - dir. Carla Patullo & Elizabeth Beecherl Mama - dir. Nicholas Brennan

Matthew's Gift - dir. Jon Watts Mining Phosphorus - dir. Alan Toth

My Dead Dad's Porno Tapes - dir. Charlie Tyrell My Grandfather's Memory Book - dir. Colin Levy

My Indiana Muse - dir. Jennifer Serena and Ric Serena A Night at the Garden - dir. Marshall Curry

Notes from Dunblane: Lessons from a School Shooting - dir. Kim A. Snyder Nueva VIDA - dir. Jonathan Seligson

Period. End of Sentence - dir. Rayka Zehtabchi Rebuilding in Miniature - dir. Veena Rao Rescate - dir. Mark Bone

Saul's 108th Story - dir. Joshua Carlon

Sidelined - dir. Galen Summer

Sununu: The Revolution of Love - dir. Olivia Crellin The Thomas Fire Architect - dir. Nicholas Weissman Tomnoddy - dir. Charles Poekel

Tracing Addai - dir. Esther Niemeier Tungrus - dir. Rishi Chandna

An Unexpected Christmas - dir. Michi Marosszeky Unforgivable - dir. Giosue Petrone

The Water Slide - dir. Nathan Truesdell Zaza Rising - dir. Lena Strothe

Zion - dir. Floyd Russ 41x - dir. Brian Carlson

49 Mile Scenic Drive - dir. Bradley Smith

2018 DOCUMENTARY SHORTS - Made in Arkansas

Conway Pride - dir. Stephen Stanley Cotton Plant - dir. Matthew Michaud DeLuca's Pizza - dir. Scarlett Gooch

Frank Broyles, Arkansas Legend - dir. Larry Foley Happy Destiny Homes - dir. Michael Mueller

The Under3 Series - dir. Kevin Clark

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