24th Annual

Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival

October 09, 2015 to October 18, 2015

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659 Ouachita Ave.
Hot Springs National Park AR 71901
Phone: 501-538-2290

CLOSED FOR THE SEASON • Information may be outdated. Add this event to your Watch List and set a Remind-Me if you want to be notified when the next Call For Entries is posted.

Documentary Shorts
Non-fiction, maximum 40 minutes
Documentary Features
Non-fiction in all forms, minimum 40 minutes
Spa City Sports Series
Feature-length documentaries covering indoor and outdoor sports.
Women Behind The Lens: Black and Latina Filmmakers
Women Behind the Lens: Black and Latina Filmmakers is a significant film sidebar funded in 2015 by a grant from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. This year's Women Behind the Lens will focus on the contributions of Black and Latina documentarians, raising awareness of the vital need for increased cultural perspective in documentary film and in turn, exploring ways to expand support for Black, Latina and female filmmaking communities in the Southern Region and in a broader national context.


The mission of the Hot Springs Documentary Film Institute is to advance the documentary genre as a meaningful art form, to encourage innovation within the genre, to provide unique educational and cultural opportunities, and to preserve the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival as one of the premiere documentary film festivals in the world.


As the documentary genre continues to evolve within what has been referred to as 'a documentary renaissance', the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival aims to remain ahead of the curve by showcasing the most enlightening, informative and innovative documentary films available each year. With the aid of roughly 25 screening committee members and a programming staff, we view hundreds of film entries to produce a program that will influence the way audiences think and interact with the world. HSDFF offers several award categories with winners selected by juries made up of prominent industry professionals. Hot Springs is designated an Academy-Award© Qualifying festival by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in the category of documentary short subject. Another particularly distinctive element of the festival is its breakout sports series, which names a Best Sports Documentary from a selection of great human stories played out on fields, arenas,rings and courts across the globe. In 2015, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will sponsor a film sidebar entitled Women Behind the Lens: Black and Latino Filmmakers.

The Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, now in its 24th year, is the oldest all-documentary festival in North American. The ten-day event features roughly 100 feature length and short documentaries from around the world in one of the most uniquely beautiful tourist destinations in the American South, Hot Springs, Arkansas.

Each October, thousands travel to Hot Springs to see the finest in documentary film, both classic and experimental. The Historic City of Hot Springs with its colorful past still lingering in the air, comes alive with celebrations of film, food, music. Memorable parties are held in locations such as The Gangster Museum of America, the majestic Quapaw Bath House, the Superior Bath House Brewery, Fat Jack's, and music venue Maxine's Live, a former brothel and home to 1930's local madame Maxine Temple Jones. Invigorating and provocative panels and forums are populated by distinguished filmmakers and special industry guests. Films are screened at the Arlington Hotel & Spa, a step-back through time next door to restaurants and bars, turn-of-the-century bath houses, music clubs and nature trails within the scenic Hot Springs National Park. On behalf of our devoted staff, and volunteers, we wish to thank all past guests and send a warm invitation to future guests of the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival.


Courtney Pledger (Director); Megan Baker (Associate Director and Operations Manager); Susan Altrui (Producer)


* Documentary: Features, Shorts and Student films accepted
* Early submissions are strongly encouraged due the large numbers of entries.
* For submission format, online screeners via Withoutabox are strongly encouraged in consideration of logistics with our programming team and screening panel. If desired, a Vimeo link may be submitted in the Withoutabox cover material in addition to the WAB online screener. In the event that digital upload is impossible, please submit no less than 3 DVDs, NTSC Region 1 or region-free only.

* Please keep the Institute informed of address/phone or email changes
* Due to the large number of submissions we are no longer able to return preview copies.
* Submissions will be reviewed between February and August of 2015.

The Hot Springs Documentary Film Institute is creating a Documentary Film Lending Library and is expanding its schedule of statewide and regional educational outreach screenings and programs throughout the year. By submitting your entry, you grant HSDFI permission to screen the work for these educational, non-profit purposes.

For more information about outreach screenings, please contact 501.538.2290. Thank you!


* If not submitting an online screener, please send (3) DVD copies in NTSC format per submission.
* The nonrefundable processing fee is payable in US dollars to HSDFI, check, money order or credit card.
* By submitting this material you acknowledge HSDFI's right to copy any submitted material for non-commercial use only.
* I, the undersigned, acknowledge and agree that, to the best of my knowledge, all of the statements in this document are true and that I am duly authorized to submit this film to the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival. I further agree that if this film is selected, the Hot Springs Documentary Film Institute has permission to screen the film in the 2015 Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, October 9th-18th, 2015.