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Hillbilly jam kicks off film festival.

FILM JAM: Hill music opens HS documentary festival.
  • FILM JAM: Hill music opens HS documentary festival.


A “hillbilly” hootenanny gets the 14th Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival cranking on Friday, Oct. 21, and the 10-day festival will feature leading international filmmakers and award-winning and nominated documentaries of the past two years.

Bluegrass-style band Big Smith, whose members are subjects in the opening night film “Homemade Hillbilly Jam,” will perform on Friday at Spencer’s Corner, a block up Central Avenue from the Malco Theater, home site for the festival, beginning at 9 p.m. The opening night reception begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Malco, where “Homemade Hillbilly Jam” will be shown at 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Director Rick Minnich and producer Olaf Jacobs will be in attendance. The German production runs an hour and 20 minutes and focuses on three families of musicians in the Ozarks who give new meaning to the word “hillbilly.”

All Friday events are free. “Homemade Hillbilly Jam” will be screened again at 11:45 a.m. Wednesday.

Single-showing slots have been reserved for such popular and commercially successful recent documentaries as Morgan Spurlock’s “Super Size Me” and “Tupak: Resurrection.”

Also Hanna Polak’s and Andrzej Celinski’s Academy Award-nominated film, “The Children of Leningradsky,” which made its world premiere at last year’s festival, will be shown twice (Sunday, Oct. 23, at 12:25 p.m. and Thursday, Oct. 27, at 12:10 p.m.). The 35-minute documentary is about the children who live in Moscow’s railway stations and garbage dumps. Polak will attend the festival and participate in a question-and-answer session following the Oct. 27 screening.

Politics, health, history, religious issues and music are among the many genres covered by the 93 films scheduled to be screened. Some Arkansas films are brought into focus this year with screenings of “Arkansas’s Forgotten,” about Japanese-Americans relocated to the state during World War II, and “Thunder Valley Wars,” about a battle over a speedway in Fayetteville.

Sen. Blanche Lincoln’s sister, Mary Lambert, presents “14 Women,” about the 14 female U.S. senators and the lives they lead on and off Capitol Hill. A special screening on Sunday, Oct. 23, will be held at the Hot Springs Convention Center Auditorium from 1-4 p.m. with Senator Lincoln in attendance.

Single film admission is $5; a one-day pass is $15; three-day pass is $40, and a 10-day pass is $75. For admission to all Film Institute events during the year, a “film buff” pass is available for $100. Screenings are 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Sunday. The Festival Gala Dinner honoring filmmakers and celebrities is Saturday, Oct. 29, at 6:30 p.m. at the Arlington Resort Hotel.

The Malco Theater is at 817 Central Ave. For more information and film or gala tickets, call 501-321-4747 or visit www.hsdfi.org.


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