After a run of calamity — foreclosure, in-fighting, natural disaster — the Hot Springs Documentary Film Institute and Film Festival seem to be on firmer footing these days. The Hot Springs Chamber is helping out with bookkeeping and office space. Big-time film producer and Arkansas native Courtney Pledger stepped in as director and veteran PR person and film advocate Susan Altrui took over as chairman of the board.
With not quite two weeks until this year's Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival kicks off (Oct. 12-21), it's a bit disconcerting that you can't yet find the schedule online. But! I've got a press release with a bunch of the highlights, and the line-up looks to be one of the strongest in years.
A few that caught my eye on the jump with trailers:
"Detropia," the latest from the directors of "Jesus Camp," about the economic devastation of Detroit, looks incredible and has gotten rave reviews.
Charles Bradley might be my favorite retro soul singer, so I'm very excited to see "Charles Bradley: Soul of America" about his late career rise.
Pin-up legend Bettie Page's enduring appeal is the focus of "Bettie Page Reveals All." Page, after years in seclusion, narrates the film.
For some reason I can't embed the trailer for "Plimpton!," but, obviously, if you're a fan of the Paris Review founding editor and participatory journalism pioneer, it should be on your list.
Three of direct cinema hero Robert Drew's films will be show, all shot during the Kennedy campaign and presidency: "Primary" about the 1960 Wisconsin primary, "Adventures on the New Frontier" about the administration's first year and "Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment" about Kennedy's showdown with George Wallace over the integration of the University of Alabama.
Two Arkansas-connected films making their debut: Larry Foley's documentary short "The Art of Crystal Bridges" and "Glen Campbell: The Long Way Home," which director James Keach will preview.