Fayetteville film festival is a go

Remember that book The Secret? The one that touts positive thinking, and the idea that if you think about something for long enough it will eventually come true?

I’m starting to think that crap might actually work. Fayetteville is making all my wishes come true lately.

To recap, in the past few months, we’ve found out that at least two new music venues are on the way, a venue for locally made fashion has moved into Southtown, there’s a new place for live theatre on Dickson, a roller rink, a downtown movie night, and then yesterday, we found out that Fayetteville is also getting its very own film festival.

Dudes – we’re on a roll.

This is just the latest in a string of exciting news for Fayetteville, and while we were a little skeptical at first, we confirmed Wednesday that organizers have already begun planning for the first weekend in November of this year on the Fayetteville Square.

The idea for the film festival started with locals Rowland McKinney and Cassie Self, who while attending a nearby film festival just a few months ago decided it was time that Fayetteville got its own version.

“(McKinney) and I were participating in the Little Rock Film Festival and were blown away by the success and the community that was happening with film makers from across the country right here in our home state. We began discussing the possibilities of bringing more film to NWA and wondered why it hasn’t happened already.” Self said.

After meeting with some other individuals, the interest and enthusiam was undeniable and a festival seemed like the best way to ignite a spark for all the film enthusiasts in the area.”

The organizers believe the creation of a film society to go along with the yearly event are essential to the success of the event.

“The festival is a platform for industry professionals to come together and promote their art, gain interest and exposure for their film, but ultimately filmmakers want distribution.” Self said.

“In short, it is a commercial platform.”

“A film society serves a different need. Over the years I have met countless people that are pieces in the film industry puzzle. They’re all right here in Northwest Arkansas…waiting for the right script, wishing they knew a crew, countless talent that don’t know where to turn, people are ripe for work and convinced the work is just not here. That needs to change!”

Both the film fest and the film society are still exploring options for a name, and the naming rights to the festival could go to a corporate sponsor should one step up with a proposal.

All this comes on the heels of Mike Beebe’s April announcement of the The Digital Product and Motion Picture Industry Development Act, legislation designed to provide incentives for filmmakers to produce their films in Arkansas.

McKinney believes the legislation, combined with the yearly event and the creation of the film society could put Fayetteville on the map as a location for production

“The tax incentives that are coming are sure to facilitate more productions in AR. Why not Fayetteville as a base for the production?” McKinney said.

“I have been in love with Northwest Arkansas since I came to the University. The uniqueness of the people the access to the resources the actual cosmopolitan feel of the area all bode well for a film festival”.

“After California and New York, our neighbors Louisiana are third in the country in film production over the last year. Why can’t that be Arkansas? Why can’t it be Fayetteville?”

Self agreed. “Music, Visual Arts and Theater have long been embraced and continue to thrive in Fayetteville. Film just happens to be the missing link. When people come to Fayetteville for the film festival, they will see all that NWA has to offer and NWA will benefit from the art form that is long overdue to have a presence here.”

We’ve had a little trouble getting things like this off the ground in the past, and as much as I think Fayetteville is ready to support a festival of some kind, I’m sad to say that plenty have tried to start something cool, and it hasn’t worked out.

Somehow, though, I get the impression that the folks behind this festival are determined to make this thing a success. It’s also refreshing to see some of the residents in Fayetteville taking action on their own to make cool things like this happen, rather than waiting for the city or the A&P to come along and do something for them. That kind of mentality will only boost up our city even further, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

In the meantime, I’m going to meditate a while on winning the new Arkansas Lottery. Just in case.