River Valley Film Society names new president, adds marketplace for movie makers

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 613 views 

The River Valley Film Society Board of Directors has named Lynn Wasson president of the organization, with former former president Dr. Brandon Goldsmith remaining as executive director of the society’s Fort Smith International Film Festival.

The Society is also adding the MidAmerica Film Market to its work in an effort to connect moviemakers with buyers, distributors and others in the U.S. and global film industry.

Wasson co-founded and edited Entertainment Fort Smith Magazine for 22 years and recently worked as interim executive director of the Fort Smith Advertising and Promotion Commission.

“No one loves Fort Smith more than Lynn,” John McIntosh, Society vice president, said in a statement. “I’ve known her for over 25 years, working on countless community events, both large and small, and she has always been genuinely engaged and thoughtful. The film society and entire River Valley is lucky to have her.”

Goldsmith said bringing Wasson on board allows the group to prep for the 4th annual international film festival while also expanding the Society’s involvement in the industry. In addition to his role with the film festival, Goldsmith will lead the MidAmerican Film Market effort.

“After co-founding the River Valley Film Society in 2019, it has been amazing to watch the society develop into a film festival and now a movie market,” Goldsmith said. “A major component in any organization’s ability to grow sustainably, especially non-profits, is the ability to grow past its original founders into new leadership.”

Lynn Wasson

The MidAmerica Film Market will partner with Hollywood-based Porter + Craig Media and Film Distribution. Sgt. Major Keith Craig and Jeff Porter were keynote speakers at the 2023 festival providing a workshop and offered licensing agreements to five films from the festival – two from Arkansas, one from Oklahoma, one from Florida and one from Canada.

“As a new addition to the 2024 Fort Smith International Film Festival, the MidAmerica Film Market will provide filmmakers with an opportunity to meet with and have their movies reviewed by international and domestic buyers, distributors, sales agents, and media executives,” Goldsmith said.

According to the Society, the first three annual festivals attracted 1,213 film submissions from more than 75 countries, nations, and tribes. A Meltwater media reach report conducted by the Fort Smith Advertising and Promotion Commission found that the 2021 inaugural year reached 254 million people, 265 million in 2022, and 827 million in 2023.