"I'm calling to see if you might be open to volunteering this year," asks volunteer Mary Anderson. That phone call is going out to more and more people to help with the 20th Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival.
The festival director is Dan Anderson. He says their budget is only a third of what it's been. So, they need more than 700 volunteers like Marcus Wwoodard to make this happen. Woodard says, "If you volunteer, it'll build it up but if nobody ever volunteers, we can't ever get anywhere."
Over a hundred films will be shown at the historic Malco Theater in downtown Hot Springs. However, the overlaying fact is that the festival is suffering from a $50,000. Which, can't be seen when sitting in front of the big screen. KARK 4's Bakari Savage reports, "Most people think coming to a film festival is just all about the movie but it's about more than that. It's an opportunity for the filmmakers, the directors, the producers and the actors to actually meet, mingle and network so that they can get the next project off the ground." Festival director Dan Anderson says, "That's kind of our main underlying goal, is to turn this town into an arts community, you know, to turn it into a filmmaker place."
But that's going to be more difficult especially because two big sponsors have pulled out, like the Arkansas Film Commission and the Hot Springs Advertising and Promotions Commision. They offered this statement, "We could not in good conscience fund our $5,000 annual sponsorship this year due to the fact that many local businesses have not been paid for their goods and services that were provided for the 2010 film festival."
Anderson agrees they do owe people but says that's from the last board. They have new members and insist the show will go on starting Friday. This is the first time in 20 years for the Hot Springs Advertising and Promotions Commission not to sponsor the festival. But, if you want to catch some of the flicks this weekend, you can find the schedule by clicking here.