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Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival
will award Michael York the first award ever given for "narration".

The Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival (HSDFF) began in 1992, launched by a small group of arts activists in Hot Springs. That year, 10 Academy Award nominated documentary films were screened to the public free of charge. Veteran actor James Whitmore lent his presence to this first event and spoke of a bright future: "This (Hot Springs)
could be the documentary capital of the world."


At the gala fundraising event the next year, featured actor James Earl Jones proclaimed, "I see the 1990s as holding the promise of anunparalleled era of popularity for nonfiction film and video, with the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival as one of the genre's most important venues."


In keeping with this shared vision, HSDFF was incorporated as anon-profit 501(c)(3) organization in 1992. The Hot Springs Documentary Film Institute (renamed in 1996) remains the only film institute in theUnited States dedicated solely to the documentary film genre. Each year with the help of over 600 dedicated volunteers, board, and staff members, the Institute presents the annual Hot Springs Documentary FilmFestival, a multicultural and intergenerational event. The Festival attracts tens of thousands of visitors making it one of the largest tourist attractions in Arkansas providing significant economic benefits, as well as helping to shape the identity of Arkansas nationally and internationally. The Hot Springs Documentary FilmFestival provides the Institute with a catalyst for further development, digitization, distribution of documentaries and filmeducation initiatives for training film industry professionals.


The Festival is recognized by the International Documentary Association (IDA) and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as one of only seven national Academy Award qualifying venues. The HSDFI screening committee views nearly 1,000 films submitted from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, and selects 100 to be viewed each year. The 2008 Film
Festival will be held October 17 through 26, at our historic MalcoTheatre, 819 Central Avenue, downtown Hot Springs.

Since its inception, more than 400,000 people have participated in theHot Springs Documentary Film Institute's educational, cultural activities and special programs. Emphasis is on documentary film as an art form as well as a means to promote critical thinking on real life issues. Through symposia, forums, discussion groups, and teaching, HSDFI brings cultural and social knowledge to all ages from the gifted work of film professionals.


Past HSDFF guests include Mark Birnbaum, Les Blank, Lisa Blount, St.Clair Bourne, Ken Burns, Peter S. Carlson, Dale Carpenter, Geraldine Chaplin, Nell Cox, Robert Drew, Larry Foley, Chris Gore, Tippi Hedren,Arthur Hiller, William Jersey, James Earl Jones, Teresa Konechne, Mary Lambert, Richard Leacock, Ken Mandel, Albert Maysles, Betsy A. McLane,Tom Neff, Ray McKinnon, Pinetop Perkins, Robert Richter, Louis Schwartzberg, Connie Stevens, Harry Thomason, Brenda Vaccaro, JackValenti, Bart Weiss, James Whitmore, Richard Wormser and many others.


The Hot Springs Documentary Film Institute is the most progressive organization of its kind offering multiple collaborations of educational outreach with documentary films throughout Arkansas, while hosting The Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, one of the first and the oldest documentary film festivals in the world (second only to
Amsterdam). In 2007, we had over 1,000 film entries, 400 of themrepresenting 90 foreign countries.

We are currently finishing construction of the largest documentary filmlibrary of its kind, boasting more than 17,000 titles. In 2009, we will begin a capital campaign for an entire restoration of our MalcoTheatre. The adjoining property on Central Avenue will become a working institute fostering new talent and film projects with a soundstage, film editing suites, audio suites, and living space for visiting filmmakers and educators.


With a volunteer base of more than 700 individuals, an extremely hard-working staff, and a board of directors that work as a team, we are looking forward to our upcoming 17th Documentary Film Festival to be the best one ever.

Silent screen diva Mary Pickford film
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