LITTLE ROCK, Ar (KTHV)--The 6th annual Little Rock Film Festival began Tuesday--and it's the beginning of 6 days of film festivities.
The opening night film is "America's Parking Lot"--a documentary about Dallas Cowboys tailgating. The screening will be followed by a tailgate party outside Argenta Community Theater in North Little Rock.
A small festival founded by two brothers--Brent and Craig Renaud--The Little Rock Film Festival has now evolved into one of the South's biggest jewels--showcasing talent from college students to professionals.
Craig Renaud says, "When we started six years ago we just wanted to put on some films and see if anybody showed up!"
Show up they did--and have been returning ever since. The documentarians have traveled the world with their works--they know what makes a festival succeed.
Renaud says, "The growth of the festival has been amazing. Every year we increase--many many more attendees coming. We had over 1,000 submissions this year. Last year we were ranked as a national festival so that just keeps getting better and better."
The festival offers "film, culture and hospitality" in an exciting atmosphere. Justin Nickels is a Programmer and says they're offering a lot of NEW things this year.
"Saturday we're showing the very first 3-D narrative film shot in the state of Arkansas. It took them about 2 years to complete... Family day is a first this year! We're going to be showing "Curious George" with giveaways and free ice cream."
Other "firsts" include an additional day, making this year's festival 6 instead of 5 days and there will be a special tribute to women in film.
Nickels says, "We're bringing Lea Thompson from "Back to the Future" and "Caroline in the City" in and she's going to do a program on women in filmmaking!"
Filmmakers, festival goers and volunteers can flock to the Rock to enjoy films, panel discussions and Hollywood-esque parties.
Short films, feature length films, comedy, horror, documentary--all genres included: This year's festival promises to bring back the favorites---and introduce new ones.
Another new event this year is a screening at the Little Rock Zoo. "The Eyes of Thailand" is a documentary about an elephant with a prosthetic leg. The film will be screened at the zoo followed by a Zoo Keeper's chat.
Renaud said, "It's really important to us to make a world class festival so we could get these big directors and filmmakers to come here because we've been on the other end of it as filmmakers and we know how important that is."
Most of the events and screenings require passes. For the complete lineup of films, panels and parties visit the Little Rock Film Festival website.