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Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival announces film lineup for its 32nd edition (October 6-14)

HSDFF yellow logo

Adam Harbottle and Brian Hill’s RELENTLESS RIDE opens, Amanda McBaine and Jesse Moss’s THE MISSION is the Centerpiece selection, and Michèle Stephenson & Joe Brewster’s GOING TO MARS: THE NIKKI GIOVANNI PROJECT gets the closing slot  

Mary Steenburgen will be this year’s Honorary Chair, Sky Hopinka will receive the HSDFF Brent Renaud Career Achievement Award, and Diane Becker and Shane Boris will be the recipients of this year’s Impact Award.


Reentless Ride, The Mission, Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project

The critically acclaimed Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival presented by Oaklawn announced the lineup of films and honorees for its 32nd edition, taking place October 6-14. Screenings will kick off at Oaklawn’s Event Center with the previously announced Opening Night presentation ofAdam Harbottle and Brian Hill’s Relentless Ride, followed by the Centerpiece Selection of Amanda McBaine and Jesse Moss’s The Mission (distributed by National Geographic Documentary Films) with Michèle Stephenson & Joe Brewster’s Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project screening on Closing Night. Special presentations include Justin Taylor Smith and Kaoru Ishibashi’s A Song Film by Kishi Bashi: Omoiyari, as well as Jack Lofton and Jeff Dailey’s The People v. Profits, and Li Lu’s doc series A Town Called Victoria, which will both make their world premieres at HSDFF. Following Opening Night at Oaklawn, all screenings will take place at The Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa.
This year’s Honorary Chair, Mary Steenburgen, will participate in the Southern Storytellers Screening and Panel, one of a handful of special events and new initiatives featured at this year’s edition of the film festival. Sky Hopinka will receive the HSDFF Brent Renaud Career Achievement Award, and Diane Becker and Shane Boris will be the recipients of this year’s Impact Award.
Other new initiatives include the previously announced Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB)-funded Filmmaker ForumThe Natural State – a new section focused on the environment, outdoor adventure, athletic achievement and the stories and people of Arkansas, a new film series added to the lineup – The Wellness SeriesTrue Stories: A Live Storytelling Event, and a Secret Screening.
HSDFF Executive Director, Ken Jacobson, said, “In our 32nd year, we are underlining the high level of film programming that has made the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival such a beacon for the best and most innovative filmmakers working in the documentary form today. In addition, we are incorporating dynamic new programs and events to enrich the audience experience and support the documentary filmmaking community. Our goal is to embrace the rich tableau of nonfiction storytelling and forge deeper connections between filmmakers, the people and place of Hot Springs, Arkansas and the broader world. We are thrilled to be launching these efforts alongside this year’s Honorary Chair, the extraordinary and beloved Arkansan, the multi-talented Mary Steenburgen.”
Adam Harbottle and Brian Hill’s Relentless Ride will start this year’s edition of HSDFF on Friday, October 6 with a distinctly local flavor, with its immersive look at a diverse group of amazing riders who take on the grueling 2021 Arkansas High Country Race, known to be one of the most challenging bike races in the U.S. If that weren’t exciting enough, the following day, this year’s Arkansas High Country Race will hit the streets of Hot Springs, with more than 70 competing cyclists participating. This year’s Centerpiece selection, taking place Wednesday, October 11, is Amanda McBaine and Jesse Moss’s The Mission (distributed by National Geographic Documentary Films) which tells the tragic story of what happened when a young American missionary contacted one of the last isolated communities of Indigenous people in the world. Producer Will Cohen and film participant Dan Everett will attend and participate in a post-screening discussion moderated by Variety’s Peter Debruge.
Michèle Stephenson & Joe Brewster’s Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project will close HSDFF on Saturday, October 14. The film focuses on celebrated American poet Nikki Giovanni and the revolutionary periods in which she wrote, from the Civil Rights Movement to Black Lives Matter. Both Stephenson and Brewster will attend the screening. There will be a Special Presentation of Justin Taylor Smith and Kaoru Ishibashi’s A Song Film by Kishi Bashi: Omoiyari, which follows the musical journey of multi-talented musician Kishi Bashi as he explores the legacy of Japanese American incarceration during World War II. Kishi Bashi will be in attendance at the film festival.

A Song Film by Kishi Bashi: OmoiyariThe People v. Profits, A Town Called Victoria

HSDFF world premieres include Arkansas filmmaker Jack Lofton, and Jeff Dailey’s The People v. Profits, which provides a court-side seat into the high stakes, big money consumer cases where the top, charismatic lawyers go head-to-head with the world’s biggest corporations. Li Lu’s three-part documentary series A Town Called Victoria will also make its debut at the film festival. The series looks at what led to a mosque being burned to the ground in a small Texas town and, in the aftermath, how residents rallied to support the local Muslim community but with many lingering and complicated questions remaining. 
 Mary Steenburgen Headshot SKY HOPINKA Diane Becker Shane Boris
Mary Steenburgen, Sky Hopinka, Diane Becker, Shane Boris
This year’s Honorary Chair, Mary Steenburgen will be a key participant in the Southern Storytellers Screening and Panel, taking place on Friday, October 13. Moderator Courtney Pledger, CEO of Arkansas PBS, and Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Craig Renaud will join Steenburgen for an in-depth conversation about the new three-part docuseries from PBS. Southern Storytellers traverses the American South, from the mountains of Appalachia to the Gulf of Mexico, to reveal a vivid patchwork of stories that celebrate the resilience and joy of Southern people—and the magnitude of gifts from the region’s writers.
Steenburgen is an Academy Award and Golden Globe winning actress best known for her work in notable and beloved films like Melvin and HowardParenthoodWhat’s Eating Gilbert GrapePhiladelphiaStepbrothers, and Book Club and television shows JustifiedOrange is the New BlackCurb Your Enthusiasm and The Last Man on Earth. Most recently, Steenburgen starred in NBC’s musical television sensation Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, and the feature film Book Club: The Next Chapter.
This year’s Brent Renaud Career Achievement Award will be received by Sky Hopinka on Monday, October 9, followed by a screening of Hopinka’s short films including his latest, Sunflower Siege Engine. In a relatively short time, Hopinka has produced a truly distinctive and remarkable body of work in the documentary field. His explorations into the relationship between people and the land, the interplay between culture and language, and his highly intuitive and inspired insights into form have made deep impressions on audiences throughout the world and helped redefine the way documentaries are perceived and received. His work has played at many festivals around the world, as well as being a part of the 2017 Whitney Biennial, the 2018 FRONT Triennial and Prospect.5 in 2021. He was a guest curator at the 2019 Whitney Biennial and participated in Cosmopolis #2 at the Centre Pompidou. He has had a solo exhibition at the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, in 2020 and in 2022 at LUMA in Arles, France. He is the recipient of the Infinity Award in Art from the International Center and the Alpert Award for Film/Video and fellowships including The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, Sundance Art of Nonfiction, Art Matters, The Guggenheim Foundation, and The Forge Project. In the fall of 2022, Hopinka received a MacArthur Fellowship for his work as a visual artist and filmmaker. 
The HSDFF Impact Award will be presented to Diane Becker and Shane Boris, Academy Award winners for Navalny last year. The presentation will take place prior to a screening of their film King Coal on Tuesday, October 10. Produced with Peggy Drexler and Elaine McMillion Sheldon, who is also the film’s director. King Coal is a sensitive portrait of a community and culture defined by industry, showcasing the beauty of the coal region of Appalachia through the eyes of an inquisitive child. 
Becker is an Academy Award-winning, Emmy-nominated producer and the co-founder of Fishbowl Films. Navalnywon both the U.S. Documentary Audience Award and the Festival Favorite Award at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival and was awarded a BAFTA, PGA, DuPont, and the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature. Her films have screened in the most prestigious festivals across the globe, and she has worked with companies like HBO, CNN, Showtime, Netflix, and PBS. Film credits include ManhuntThe Final YearLegion of BrothersIf I Leave Here TomorrowBelushi, and the Emmy-nominated Tina. Fishbowl Films won a Peabody Award in 2019 for Inventing Tomorrow (POV) and Diane and co-founder Melanie Miller were awarded the 2020 Sundance Institute/Amazon Producer’s Award for Non-Fiction for Whirlybird. Becker is a 2023 recipient of the Dear Producer Award and was a Sundance Documentary Creative Producing Fellow. 
Boris is an Academy Award-winning and three-time Academy Award-nominated producer and writer working on films that push the boundaries of conventional form to tell timeless and cinematic stories. His films have premiered at festivals around the world and screened in museums like The Louvre, MoMA, and the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. Previous films include: the Academy Award-winning and BAFTA-winning Navalny, the Academy Award-nominated and Peabody Award-winning Fire of Love, the Emmy Award-nominated The Last Cruise, the Indie Spirit Award-nominated Stray, the Academy Award-nominated and Peabody Award-winning The Edge of Democracy, and the Sundance Award-winning All These Sleepless Nights. His latest films, King Coal, and Hollywoodgate, premiered this year at Sundance, Venice, and Telluride. Boris is also the co-founder of Joon, a multidisciplinary incubator, and has worked as a strategist for businesses and NGOs, a writing consultant for authors, and a song lyricist for musicians. 
The Natural State film series, sponsored by Sigma Supply, will include a selection of features and shorts related to: the environment, outdoor adventure and athletic Achievement, with particular emphasis on topics related to the unique attributes of Arkansas and to extraordinary Arkansans. The Wellness Series Film Screenings will be highlighted by screenings of Elliot Kotek’s The Hidden Power of Purpose, sponsored by AARP, which asks the urgent question, “What does it mean to live a life driven by purpose?” via four inspiring stories with the latest scientific research which affirms that living a life of purpose and living longer are inextricably intertwined. Also featured in this new series is Jonathan Hock’s Open Heart, sponsored by CHI St. Vincent, focuses on New York Rangers’ star goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who was forced to face his own mortality when he was diagnosed with a potentially fatal heart condition.
HSDFF will also look to expand the audience’s film festival experience beyond film screenings this year by introducing a new live storytelling event called “True Stories”. A series of short, personal stories told by a diverse mix of visiting filmmakers and local storytellers, led by Kai Coggin, author and the inaugural Poet Laureate of the City of Hot Springs, this program (inspired by the beloved "Campfire Stories" at the True/False Film Festival) is designed to foster a vibrant exchange between local artists and residents of Hot Springs and the filmmakers who come to the festival every year.

Four DaughtersLet the Canary SingStamped From the Beginning

Additional highlights among the impressive film lineup include Ben Hania’s Four Daughters, which was a winner of the L'Oeil D’or prize at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival. The hybrid film weaves documentary and stylized fiction to explore the shocking story of a Tunisian matriarch whose two eldest daughters suddenly go missing. Allison Ellwood’s crowd pleaser, Let the Canary Sing focuses on the life and music the beloved and distinctive Cyndi Lauper. Alexandria Bombach’s It's Only Life After All is a heartwarming music documentary celebrating the legacy of the Americana folk duo Indigo Girls, who have enjoyed a resurgence this year thanks to the Barbie movie. 
Nick Capote’s Between Life & Death: Terri Schiavo’s Story is a piercing, thoughtful re-examination of the complex story of Terri Schiavo, whose headline-grabbing right-to-die legal saga and media circus in the early 2000s electrified the nation, forcing Americans to confront the tangled intersection of personal faith and federal policy.Stamped From the Beginning is the latest documentary from Academy Award-winning director Roger Ross Williams. The film is a thoughtful and candid examination of the origin, evolution, and continued impact of racist anti-Black narratives on American policy and culture. From documentary filmmaking legend Errol Morris comes The Pigeon Tunnel which delves into the life and career of former British spy David Cornwell — better known as John le Carré — author of such classic espionage novels as “The Spy Who Came in From the Cold” and “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”.
Passes and tickets are on sale now. For more information on purchasing and additional details on the Hot Springs Documentary Film festival, please visit:

The 2023 Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival official selections:

Opening Night
Relentless Ride           
Director: Adam Harbottle, Brian Hill        
Country: USA; Running Time: 97 min
In their thoroughly gripping documentary Relentless Ride, Arkansas-based filmmakers Adam Harbottle and Brian Hill follow a diverse group of determined bike racers attempting to complete the 2021 Arkansas High Country Race, one of the most challenging rides in the U.S.
The Mission     
Directors: Amanda McBaine, Jesse Moss
Country: USA; Running Time: 103 min
In this gripping cinematic exploration, Emmy-winning filmmakers Jesse Moss and Amanda McBaine (Boys State) revisit the story of John Chau, a young American missionary who, in 2018, contacted one of the world’s most isolated Indigenous peoples with tragic consequences.
Closing Night
Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project     
Directors: Michèle Stephenson, Joe Brewster     
Country: USA; Running Time:102 min
On the cusp of her 80th birthday, celebrated American poet Nikki Giovanni reflects on her life and the social movements influencing her fifty-year career.
Special Presentation
A Song Film by Kishi Bashi: Omoiyari
Directors: Justin Taylor Smith, Kaoru Ishibashi    
Country: Japan; Running Time: 74 min
Crossing the American landscape in search of sites of former concentration camps, multi-talented musician Kishi Bashi undertakes a musical journey to explore the legacy of Japanese American incarceration during World War II, as well as his own identity.

Additional Features

1946: The Mistranslation That Shifted Culture
Director: Sharon Roggio
Country: USA; Running Time: 92 min
Filmmaker Sharon "Rocky" Roggio explores the provocative thesis that when the word "homosexual" appeared in the 1946 Revised Standard Version of the Bible, it may have been a mistranslation of the original text. Winner, Audience Award, DOC NYC and Outfest LA.
A Disturbance in the Force      
Directors: Jeremy Coon, Steve Kozak    
Country: USA; Running Time: 87 min
"The Star Wars Holiday Special" is the variety show George Lucas wishes never saw the light of day. This hilarious documentary exposes the making of the infamous Wookie-filled extravaganza.
A Thousand Pines       
Directors: Sebastian Diaz, Noam Osband           
Country: USA; Running Time: 77 min
Trees are everywhere in Arkansas and so, too, are major tree planting operations. In this fascinating glimpse into a largely hidden world, we meet a group of Mexican workers, who, every year, uproot their lives to come north in the hopes of bettering their lives.
All of Our Heartbeats Are Connected Through Exploding Stars         
Director: Jennifer Rainsford       
Country: Japan; Running Time: 77 min
Weaving together ruminative natural history vignettes with striking scenes of recovery, All of Our Heartbeats Are Connected Through Exploding Stars is a meditation on humanity’s connection to loss after the 2011 Japanese tsunami.
Art For Everybody       
Director: Miranda Yousef           
Country: USA; Running Time: 99 min 
Thomas Kinkade’s landscape paintings made him the biggest-selling artist of his day. His idyllic images mirrored a public persona entrenched in faith and family. Yet, after his untimely death, a vault of private paintings shatters his detailed façade, revealing a complex man battling inner demons.
Bad Press        
Directors: Rebecca Landsberry-Baker, Joe Peeler          
Country: USA; Running Time: 98 min 
When reporter Angel Ellis’ tribe, the Muscogee Nation, repeals free press protection in their media, she is spurred to action to protect the tenets of journalism. 
Between Life & Death: Terri Schiavo’s Story   
Director: Nick Capote    
Country: USA; Running Time: 89 min 
A piercing, thoughtful re-examination of the complex story of Terri Schiavo, whose headline-grabbing right-to-die legal saga and media circus in the early 2000s electrified the nation, forcing Americans to confront the tangled intersection of personal faith and federal policy.
Between the Rains      
Directors: Andrew H. Brown, Moses Thuranira    
Country: Kenya; Running Time: 82 min
Kole is a teenage shepherd in a region of Northern Kenya plagued by years of drought. Supported by stunning landscape imagery, Between the Rains explores coming of age in the time of climate change.
Black Barbie: A Documentary
Director: Lagueria Davis
Country: USA; Running Time: 100 min
Released in 1980, Black Barbie was the first time a black fashion doll was given the moniker Barbie. A rousing account of the untold story of how the doll came to market and the various voices behind the project.
Brother Horse  
Director: Marcel Barrena            
Country: Spain; Running Time: 73 min
Santi Serra is a horse whisperer, training his equine friends to perform in shows worldwide.  But with the pandemic halting public performances, one rescued grey stallion proves to be an unexpected standout.
Confessions of a Good Samaritan      
Director: Penny Lane     
Country: USA; Running Time: 105 min
Acclaimed filmmaker Penny Lane ("Listening to Kenny G", "Our Nixon") captures her experience as an "altruistic" donor — a living person who donates a kidney to someone they don't know — to create an intimate portrait examining our donor system and the state of altruism in American society.
Dusty & Stones           
Director: Jesse Rudoy   
Country: USA; Running Time: 83 min
Gazi “Dusty” Simelane and Linda “Stones” Msibi — cousins from the tiny African Kingdom of Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) — fall in love with country music, become a polished musical act, and end up making the journey all the way to Nashville and Texas to pursue their unlikely dreams.
Four Daughters           
Director: Kaouther Ben Hania    
Countries: France, Saudi Arabia, Germany; Running Time: 107 min
Winner of the L'Oeil D’or prize at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival, this fascinating hybrid weaves documentary and stylized fiction to explore the shocking story of a Tunisian matriarch whose two eldest daughters suddenly go missing.
Going Varsity in Mariachi        
Director: Alejandra Vasquez & Sam Osborn        
Country: USA; Running Time: 104 min
The wonders of regional Mexican folk-music are celebrated by a team of passionate high school musicians in South Texas who rehearse year-round to battle it out in the world of competitive scholastic mariachi.
Director: Ibrahim Nash'at           
Country: USA; Running Time: 91 min
Filmmaker Ibrahim Nash'at is granted terrifying access to document the high-ranking Taliban inner circle as they begin to take over a former US military base in Kabul in this chilling eye-witness account.
Directors: Silvia Del Carmen Castaños & Estefanía "Beba" Contreras      
Country: USA; Running Time: 78 min
Set in a sweltering Texan border town, two rebellious best friends, Beba and Silvia, fight passionately against the systems working to control their lives, bodies, and citizenship — all while enjoying the dog days of summer.
It's Only Life After All  
Director: Alexandria Bombach    
Country: USA    Running Time: 123 min
A heartwarming music doc celebrating the legacy of the Americana folk duo Indigo Girls. It's Only Life After All intertwines forty years of home movies, interviews, and performances to craft a charming look into a group that feels more like a movement than simply a band. 
Director: Emily Sheskin  
Country: USA; Running Time: 90 min
Jesselyn “JessZilla” Silva, a three-time national junior boxing champion, is on the cusp of making the U.S. Olympic team. When life takes an unthinkable turn, she is forced to redefine what it means to fight.
King Coal        
Director: Elaine McMillion Sheldon         
Country: USA; Running Time: 79 min
A sensitive portrait of a community and culture defined by industry, King Coal showcases the beauty of the coal region of Appalachia through the eyes of an inquisitive child. 
La Lucha                     
Director: Violeta Ayala
Country: Bolivia; Running Time: 89 min
Traversing the Andes on foot and in wheelchairs, a group of disabled activists make their way across Bolivia, on a quest to garner support from the government in the form of a pension.
Let the Canary Sing     
Director: Allison Ellwood
Country: USA    Running Time: 96 min
When Cyndi Lauper exploded onto the pop music scene in the 1980s, her distinctive voice and style became instantly recognizable. But there is so much more to the story. Alison Ellwood’s intimate portrait paints Lauper’s “true colors”.
Director: Elan Golod      
Country: USA; Running Time: 79 min
For the past 70 years, artist Nathan Hilu has illustrated his experiences guarding Nazi war criminals during the Nuremberg trials. Now 90, his urgency to share his story and solidify his legacy increases, but can his waning memories be trusted?
One With the Whale     
Directors: Peter Chelkowski, Jim Wickens           
Country: USA, United Kingdom, Portugal; Running Time: 83 min
In this striking coming-of-age story, Chris Apassingok is a typical American teenager, except in one way: to feed his family and Indigenous Alaskan community, he must venture into the icy Bering Sea to hunt for whales.
Open Heart                  
Director: Jonathan Hock
Country: USA; Running Time: 75 min
New York Rangers’ star goalie Henrik Lundqvist had become so popular with New Yorkers that he was known simply as King Henrik. But when the King is diagnosed with a potentially fatal heart condition, he suddenly is forced to face his own mortality.
Director: Jude Chehab   
Country: Lebanon; Running Time: 93 min
Lebanese American filmmaker Jude Chehab’s evocative debut boldly turns her camera on her own mother — an enigmatic woman who has spent decades fervently devoted to a mysterious all-female religious order.
Director: Frank Marshall
Country: USA; Running Time: 95 min
The life, work and legacy of broadcast journalist and news anchor Dan Rather is chronicled in this stirring portrait charting his rise to national prominence at CBS through to his stunning public downfall and surprising come back.
Razing Liberty Square             
Director: Katja Esson     
Country: USA; Running Time: 86 min
When the effects of climate change threaten the affluent Miami Beach area, developers invest in Liberty City — a historically Black community outside the floodplains. Despite promising to bring the long-underserved community economic growth, investors’ vision of progress may result in residents' displacement and permanently alter the city’s culture.
Sex with Sue   
Director: Lisa Rideout    
Country: Canada; Running Time: 90 min
Sex With Sue is a fitting tribute to trailblazing Canadian radio and TV personality Sue Johanson, nurse turned sex educator. Her approachable persona and comedic attitude have demystified sex for millions.
Silver Dollar Road       
Director: Raoul Peck     
Country: USA; Running Time: 100 min
In North Carolina, land developers exploit legal loopholes to claim family properties passed down for generations without a will. But when the Reels family refuses to relinquish the land, they’ve owned for over a century, it sparks a decades-long battle with a developer intent on acquiring their waterfront property. Silver Dollar Road, directed by Academy Award®-nominated director Raoul Peck (I'm Not Your Negro), is a biting exploration of a legal system turning a blind eye to predatory practices that have contributed significantly to Black Americans' rapid land loss and the resulting economic disparity.
Smoke Sauna Sisterhood        
Director: Anna Hints      
Country: Estonia; Running Time: 89 min
An intimate glimpse into the bathing rituals of a group of women in southern Estonia. Seeking refuge in a smoke sauna, the women can share their deepest secrets while finding strength and safety in the sanctity of female companionship.
Songs of Earth
Director: Margreth Olin  
Country: Norway; Running Time: 90 min
A film as gorgeously made as the breathtaking Norwegian landscape that it depicts, filmmaker Margreth Olin embraces the inescapable reality that the time she has left to spend with her beloved, aging parents is rapidly slipping away.
Stamped From the Beginning
Director: Roger Ross Williams    
Country: USA; Running Time: 94 min
From Academy Award-winning director Roger Ross Williams ("Music by Prudence, "Life Animated"), Stamped From the Beginning is a thoughtful and candid examination of the origin, evolution, and continued impact of racist anti-Black narratives on American policy and culture.
Story & Pictures By     
Director: Joanna Rudnick           
Country: USA; Running Time: 84 min
The colorful, luminous world of children’s picture books takes center stage in this richly creative look at the past, present, and future of this uniquely specific and highly essential art form. 
Thank You Very Much
Director: Alex Braverman
Country: USA; Running Time: 99 min
Will the real Andy Kaufman please step forward? Peeling back the layers of this fascinating, brilliant, and often misunderstood comedian, filmmaker Alex Braverman shows us all over again why Andy Kaufman matters. Winner, Best Documentary, Venice International Film Festival.
The Disappearance of Shere Hite        
Director: Nicole Newnham         
Country: USA; Running Time: 116 min
Considered “a sexual revolution in 600 pages,” The Hite Report is one of the bestselling books in history. It spurred a cultural phenomenon upon release, but what became of its author, Shere Hite?
The Echo         
Director: Tatiana Huezo
Country: Mexico, Germany; Running Time: 103 min
Tucked away in the rolling hills and pastures of Mexico, three close-knit rural farming families search for hope and contend with the land while living in an enigmatic village mysteriously named “The Echo.” Winner, Berlinale Documentary Film Award.
The Gullspång Miracle
Director: Maria Fredriksson        
Country: Sweden, Norway, Denmark; Running Time: 109 min
Two pious sisters begin to unravel a long-held family secret when a divine sign leads them to purchase an apartment from a woman who looks identical to their deceased sister.
The Hidden Power of Purpose
Director: Elliot V. Kotek  
Country: USA; Running Time: 72 min
It is the rare documentary that presents compelling personal stories and highly practicable information. Elliot Kotek’s inspiring film asks, “What does it mean to live a life driven by purpose?” Warning: you may leave the screening with a renewed sense of purpose yourself.
The People v. Profits                                                   World Premiere
Directors: Jack Lofton, Jeff Dailey
Country: USA; Running Time: 97 min
Arkansas filmmaker Jack Porter Lofton's revelatory new documentary does something amazing: it gets you all fired up about… tort law. Go behind-the-scenes with the hotshot lawyers who are taking on some of the world’s biggest corporations and find out what’s at stake for all of us.
The Pigeon Tunnel      
Director: Errol Morris     
Country: United Kingdom; Running Time: 92 min
Academy Award® winner Errol Morris delves into the life and career of former British spy David Cornwell — better known as John le Carré — author of such classic espionage novels as “The Spy Who Came in From the Cold” and “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”.
The Tuba Thieves        
Director: Allison O'Daniel           
Country: USA; Running Time: 93 min
This groundbreaking debut by d/Deaf filmmaker Alison O’Daniel follows an odd case of tubas being stolen from high schools across Southern California. O’Daniel deploys a fascinating form of captioning like you’ve never seen before, reorienting the viewer to sound in a thrilling new way. 
Your Fat Friend           
Director: Jeanie Finlay   
Country: USA; Running Time: 96 min
Don’t call her big boned. Aubrey Gordon is a writer, activist, and podcast host. And she’s fat. Aubrey started the Twitter account “Your Fat Friend” to bring awareness to anti-fat biases and advocate for equity. With its authentic and often humorous tone, "Your Fat Friend" becomes a phenomenon for the ages.

Documentary Series

A Town Called Victoria                                                            World Premiere
Director: Li Lu   
Country: USA; Running Time: 164 min
After a mosque is burned to the ground in a small Texas town, residents rally to support the local Muslim community. But is this an inspiring news story or something far more nuanced and complicated? This intricately woven, fascinating 3-part docuseries tells the full story.

Short Films

Baseball Behind Barbed Wire                                                  World Premiere
Director: Yuriko Gamo Romer    
Country: USA; Running Time: 32min 
Between Earth & Sky   
Director: Andrew Nadkarni         
Country: USA; Running Time: 25 min
Big Buffalo Golden Gals          
Director: Misty Langdon
Country: USA; Running Time: 20 min
Black Ag          
Director: Andy Sarjahani            
Country: USA; Running Time: 12 min
Black Girl's Play: The Story of Hand Games   
Directors: Joe Brewster, Michèle Stephenson     
Country: USA; Running Time: 18 min
Boca Chica                  
Directors: Ái Vuong, Samuel Díaz Fernández
Country: USA; Running Time: 13 min
Breaking Silence         
Directors: Amy Bench, Annie Silverstein
Country: USA; Running Time: 18 min
By Water          
Director: Iyabo E. Kwayana        
Country: Singapore; Running Time: 12 min
Camp Courage
Director: Max Lowe       
Country: USA; Running Time: 31 min
Cash Crop
Director: Lorenzo Dickerson
Country: USA; Running Time: 11 min
Chicken Stories           
Director: Jonathan Pickett          
Country: USA; Running Time: 17 min
Echoes of the Rio                    
Director: Jackie Barragan
Country: USA; Running Time: 8 min
For The Record           
Director: Heather Courtney        
Country: USA; Running Time: 35 min
Goodbye, Morganza    
Director: Devon Blackwell          
Country: USA; Running Time: 16 min
In Exile            
Director: Nathan Fitch    
Country: USA; Running Time: 11 min
Joe Barry Carroll         
Director: Ethan Payne   
Country: USA; Running Time: 9 min
Liturgy of anti-tank obstacles
Director: Dmytro Sukholytkyy-Sobchuk
Country: Ukraine; Running Time: 12 min
Love, Jamie     
Director: Karla Murthy    
Country: USA; Running Time: 20 min
Director: Master Sterling
Country: USA; Running Time: 10 min
Director: Anthony Sneed
Country: USA; Running Time: 11 min
Myth and The Art of Maintenance        
Director: Ian Frank        
Country: USA; Running Time: 13 min
Nǎi Nai & Wài Pó (Grandma & Grandma)         
Director: Sean Wang     
Country: USA; Running Time: 17 min
Nina & Irena     
Director: Daniel Lombroso         
Country: USA; Running Time: 22 min
Parker  Sharon
Directors: Liese Hohhman, Catherine Hoffman    
Country: USA; Running Time: 13 min
Director: Jessica Bishopp          
Countries: United Kingdom, Iceland; Running Time: 20 min
Quilted Education       
Director: Kayla Robinson           
Country: USA; Running Time: 10 min
Really Good Friends    
Director: Adam Sekuler  
Country: USA; Running Time: 10 min
Director: Zaire Love       
Country: USA; Running Time: 17 min
Slower Animals           
Director: John C Kelley  
Country: USA; Running Time: 7 min
Sunflower Siege Engine          
Director: Sky Hopinka    
Country: USA; Running Time: 12 min
The Arkansas Accent Project  
Director: Ben Corbett     
Country: USA; Running Time: 27 min
The Bear Coast            
Director: Andrew Ackerman       
Country: USA; Running Time: 17 min
The Crawfish Trap       
Director: Nathan Willis   
Country: USA; Running Time: 6 min
The Last Repair Shop  
Directors: Ben Proudfoot, Kris Bowers
Country: USA; Running Time: 39 min
The Right to Joy          
Directors: Jay Melena, Tim Kressin        
Country: USA; Running Time: 20 min
Under G-D       
Director: Paula Eiselt     
Country: USA; Running Time: 24 min
Waking Up In Silence  
Directors: Mila Zhluktenko, Daniel Asadi Faezi    
Countries: Germany, Ukraine; Running Time: 18 min
Well Worn Life with Dani Reyes-Acosta          
Director: Daniel Mitchell             
Country: USA; Running Time: 6 min
Will You Look at Me    
Director: Shuli Huang    
Country: China; Running Time: 20 min
You Can't Shrink Love
Director: Veena Rao      
Country: USA; Running Time: 6 min

Each year, with the help of a small staff and over 100 dedicated volunteers, Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival attracts thousands of visitors to the 9-day multicultural and intergenerational event. Now approaching its 32nd year as the oldest all-documentary festival in North America and one of the longest running non-fiction festivals in the world, the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival remains a prominent champion and protector of the documentary film genre.


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