Fort Smith International Film Fest announces contest collaboration for kids

Film Fest announces contest collaboration

The 2023 poster for the Fort Smith International Film Festival was designed by Alex Williamson of Bath, England. The festival, scheduled for today and Saturday at TempleLive in Fort Smith, announced a contest for high school students at Thursday's High School Showcase at King Opera House in Van Buren. (Courtesy Image/FSIFF)

When film fans count festivals on this side of Arkansas, there's one they might not know about. Ozark Media Arts Festival is in its 13th year in Springdale -- and in the spotlight today. The event for student filmmakers is collaborating with the Fort Smith International Film Festival and the Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission to create a video contest announced Thursday.

The contest was unveiled at the Fort Smith festival's Thursday night High School Showcase at the King Opera House in Van Buren. High school students in grades nine through 12 are invited to create and submit videos touting the Keep Arkansas Beautiful mission of education, preventing litter, promoting recycling and keeping Arkansas beautiful, says Brandon Chase Goldsmith, founder of the Fort Smith festival.

"These young filmmakers are our future," he enthuses. "I cannot wait to see what students across Arkansas create."

The contest, open now at, runs until Sept. 24. The winner will selected before the Ozark Media Arts Festival Oct. 4-5 and announced Oct. 5 at the closing ceremony. According to Michael Barger, Keep Arkansas Beautiful education coordinator, the winning student commercial will be featured on TV, and the supervising teacher will receive a two-night stay for two at an Arkansas State Parks lodge of their choosing.

The project also fits perfectly with the Ozark Media Arts Festival's efforts to "connect education to industry."

"As a student festival, it provides an opportunity for local and regional students, from middle school to high school, to showcase their work, compete and gain exposure to the professional worlds of digital film, broadcast television, podcasting, photography, media marketing and graphic design," says festival spokeswoman Raelyn Munneke. "Industry professionals across the region gather alongside educators through workshops and the Regional Advisory Council to support the students, grow connections with each other, and strengthen the creative community for a rising future in media."

Founded by Trent Jones of Springdale Public Schools and originally called the Spring Creek Festival, the Ozark Media Arts Festival is also currently accepting submissions on FilmFreeway and at

The Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission, consisting of a professional staff of three and a nine-member advisory board appointed by the governor, is a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism.