Arvest Bank announced Thursday (March 25) it would sponsor the inaugural Fort Smith International Film Festival and gave a $10,000 charitable gift to the River Valley Film Society, the nonprofit organization spearheading the festival.
Arvest’s sponsorship will support the festival and additional year-round programs that are designed to enrich the artistic and professional lives of the River Valley’s young professionals, noted a press release.
The festival has a theme of “Through Their Eyes” and will explore the many masks people in society wear and the eyes through which they see. It is scheduled for Aug. 13-14. Feature films will be shown at 5 Star Productions; short films at The Bakery District; and music videos at 906 Cocktail and Cigar Lounge. Goldsmith said they could show about six to seven feature length films in a day, 40-50 short films that run between five and 30 minutes and “a lot” of music videos.
Student outreach through the River Valley Film Society is underway in conjunction with the Peak Innovation Center and Fort Smith Public Schools by coordinating with teachers to get the students involved from the classroom. The University of Arkansas at Fort Smith Foundation will award scholarships of $2,000, $1,000 and $500 for first, second and third place submissions in the high school category for students. This scholarship award is redeemable upon the student’s entry at UAFS.
Arvest is also sponsoring cash prizes for students of $750 for first place, $500 for second place and $250 for third place, the news release said.
“Arvest Bank is proud to sponsor the festival and in doing so, provide professional pathways for our young people to explore thanks to the development underway with Peak Innovation Center, Fort Smith Public Schools, and UAFS,” said Roger Holroyd, Arvest Bank regional president and CEO. “Our goal is to prepare all students for the workforce. Whether they go into film, marketing, communications, or something different, the skills they will learn by participating in this festival and year-round programs will help prepare these young professionals for successful careers.”
With the Arvest investment River Valley Film Society will develop year-round programs that fulfill the nonprofit’s mission. Programs include film literacy, 48-hour film competitions and corporate commercial competitions.
“Each is designed to expand upon creative expression through film while cultivating professional skills that will enrich the students professionally while they contribute to the local economy,” the press release said.